Writer: Holly Black
Artist: Lee Garbett
Colors: Antonio Fabela
Letters: Todd Klein
Cover: Dave Johnson
A review by Stephanie Pouliotte
The last issue left off as Lucifer, Mazikeen, and Gabriel tracked down Elaine Belloc, so I knew Lucifer #11 would largely serve as set up to the inevitable confrontation between the devil and his now malevolent Father. No longer the Morningstar, Lucifer seeks the only being in all of Creation who could step into the ring in his place, but Elaine isn’t as forthcoming as he’d anticipated. With God’s dark presence squatting in the Silver City, a hushed chaos has descended on Earth. Angels and demons stripped of free will pass harsh judgment on anyone they cross; yet society continues to bleakly trudge through its familiar routine. It may be the apocalypse, but the world keeps on turning.
Black keeps the pace brisk, checking in with each character in order to get them to where they need to be. I felt the writer’s hand a bit heavily in this issue, especially with the converging storylines of Medjine, Lorin, and Noema, as some impulsive decisions and well-timed coincidences bring the characters together. Even so, the intrigue mainly lies in the conversation between Lucifer and Elaine, who have a charming dynamic that’s at once aloof and familiar. The two have always differed on how to rule Creation and Elaine’s hands-off approach leaves Lucifer in a bit of a bind when it comes to confronting God. But he wouldn’t be Lucifer if he didn’t have a backup plan.
He wants Elaine to release the Basanos, a living Tarot deck with the ability to control probability and fate that was taken from an unborn Noema by Elaine in Carey’s penultimate volume, Lucifer: Morningstar. The Basanos has near unchecked power, not to mention its own agenda, so Lucifer must be desperate (or as close to desperate as he gets) if he’s willing to put this unpredictable wild card in play. Black has brought back a few characters from the previous series in her run, the Archangel Michael’s rebirth being last issue’s unexpected twist, and I was waiting for the Basanos to resurface ever since Noema showed up. But Elaine is hesitant to grant Lucifer’s request and offers him something even more surprising. Black reintroduces these familiar characters without falling into the trap of rehashing old plot lines and organically weaves them into the story, so I’m excited to see how this plays out in the next issue.
Even though Lucifer #11 is all table setting, Garbett and Fabela still play around with the artwork, which includes a wonderful retelling of Lucifer’s fall from Heaven as a children’s doodle. As usual, Garbett hits the mark with his facial expressions and visual characterization, providing another disturbingly creepy rendering of the dark presence.
Buy it! Lucifer #11 is the calm before the storm and builds tense anticipation for an unpredictably thrilling showdown between Lucifer and God. Lucifer #12 will be bitter sweet however, as this arc’s culmination will mark Black’s departure from the series. She will pen a holiday special issue alongside Richard Kadrey in December, who will then take over as lead writer on Lucifer. I have mixed feelings about Black leaving the series. I was pleasantly surprised by her creative storytelling and her brilliant take on the characters, especially in capturing the essence of Lucifer’s irreverent charm. That being said, I know Kadrey from his dark and hellish Sandman Slim series and, as Black puts it, if anyone is prepared to take up the infernal reins of Lucifer, it’s him.