Lucifer is a character who has gone through many phases over the centuries, as writers and artists have used the fallen angel to explore temptation, rebellion, and the darkness within human souls. The most recent Lucifer revival from Vertigo Comics, part of the larger Sandman Universe project, explores these many aspects in a horror story about self-discovery and retribution, trapping the titular character in a hell of his own making. Writer Dan Watters’ story pulls a lot from William Shakespeare’s The Tempest—which has a significant role in The Sandman mythos, given that the play was the focus of the original Sandman series’ final issue. Lucifer’s son Caliban and Caliban’s mother Sycorax are pulled directly from Shakespeare’s work, giving Lucifer a twisted new family dynamic that gains new wrinkles with each chapter.
This exclusive preview of this week’s Lucifer #4 begins with Sycorax realizing that Lucifer is responsible for pulling her from the peaceful stillness of death, and she’s not happy about it. Meanwhile, Detective John Decker continues his investigation of the mysterious Gately House and the role it played in his late wife’s past, venturing down a path that brings him closer to Lucifer with each new piece of information. Artists Max and Sebastian Fiumara, along with colorist Dave McCaig and letterer Steve Wands, are doing stunning work on this series, and these pages showcase how well the art team works together to elevate Watters’ storytelling. The opening page uses fully dark panels of narration to accentuate Sycorax’s transition from the void into her current state, and Wands’ lettering for Decker’s journal emphasizes how he’s becoming increasingly unstable as he’s consumed by the Gately House mystery.
The Fiumara brothers have a lot of experience working in horror comics, and they create a claustrophobic, suspenseful atmosphere broken by moments of acute terror. The texture of their linework is amplified by McCaig’s painted colors, which also reinforce the different tones of the parallel storylines: McCaig uses a warm palette for the scenes of Sycorax in her infernal environment, while Decker’s scenes are dominated by a chilly blue. Color plays an important part in Decker’s journey in these pages, and as he has another seizure, that blue shifts to a burning red, foreshadowing a major change when he regains consciousness. Watters gives his collaborators a story that spotlights their versatility and the depth of their talent, making Lucifer a book full of both narrative and artistic surprises.