Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"Bandages! I have never needed bandages. I was the shaper of suns, and the universe bent to my will."
"I'll get the iodine. Or this is going to get infected."
"I am weak. I am weak, and I am trapped."
"... No, I've never seen him like this. I think he's depressed. Would you mind talking to him?"
"Lucifer. I found your shovel. I thought you might want it."
"Hello, Bill Blake. I don't. It does whine so."
"Everyone misses you out there, Lucifer. You make us laugh. You really do."
Yes, that really is William Blake, author of 'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell' - although in this reality he is the scribe of another book with a very similar if appropriately contradictory title - about to give the Devil a pep talk and tell him to get his act together, after softening him up with a few jocular words first, that is.
As to why William Blake is lending Satan a friendly ear, well, here is the word on high from the soon to be extinct publishing imprint to lure you into a fiendish contract to purchase this work. From us obviously...
"This is the one true tale of what befell the Prince of Lies, the Bringer of Light-Lucifer. The blind, destitute old man, who lives in a small boarding house in a quiet little town, where nothing is quite what it seems and no one can leave. He's trapped, you see?
Trapped in a bizarre prison with no memory of how he got there or why. He has no recollection of setting out to find his offspring. He also does not remember that if he does not find him it could be the end of all things.
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, a cop who may have brain cancer is tasked with a mission: find and kill Lucifer."
Fans of the original LUCIFER material from Mike Carey will enjoy this intricate, intriguing tale of woe. Though it will not surprise you to learn that even in his reduced state Lucifer gradually begins to exert his not inconsiderable influence to ensure that events begin to tip in his favour. That his current malaise is entirely down to previous petulant and undeservedly punitive behaviour towards entirely innocent individuals is of little import, for I doubt Lucifer is ever going to learn the error of his ways. Well... mostly innocent individuals. Still, innocent and guilty parties alike, there's more than a few with a grudge.
"The end of all things" probably gives us a little hint as to what the overarching storyline might involve, not just what's happening to Vertigo, for as with the original LUCIFER material, it rather looks like there is a much, much bigger game afoot.
The supporting cast of characters are extremely well realised and fleshed out by Dan Watters, who only reveals the complex nature of the trap he's snared Lucifer in as the fallen one gradually, belated, works it out for himself. Again... And again... In particular, the side-story of the tormented Detective John Decker and his motivations, both conscious and subconscious, is particularly painful once his own personal final reveal is laid bare.
Max and Sebastian Fiumara provide suitably atmospheric art, with a subdued colour palette that serves to create a rather creepy, unpleasant feel to proceedings. When you find out precisely where the town in which the decomposing Lucifer is located, the style of art only adds to the claustrophobic sense of his confinement. Sometimes it's difficult to escape your own head, let alone someone else's.