06 February 2012

Faster than a DC Bullet: Lucifer, Part VII: Mansions of the Silence

Comic trade paperback, 142 pages
Published 2004 (contents: 2003)
Borrowed from the library
Read January 2012
Lucifer: Mansions of the Silence

Writer: Mike Carey
Artists: Peter Gross, Ryan Kelly, Dean Ormston, David Hahn
Colorist: Daniel Vozzo

After the somewhat disappointing Inferno, Lucifer is back on form.  Lucifer himself is largely shunted to the side in this volume, as he assembles a crew for the Viking ship made of toenails he acquired last volume.  This ship will be journeying into the Mansions of the Silence, an area on the fringes of reality, where the soul of Elaine Belloc ended up after her death in The Divine Comedy.

I was doubly pleased by this setup: I really like Elaine, and her death was a big gut-punch, so her return would be welcome. (In some comics, I'd feel peeved that a death was being undone like this, but given all the crossing between Earth, Hell, the Silver City, and various other afterlives, death never had a whole lot of meaning in this series to begin with.) The other great part of this setup is the crew of the ship, basically every side character we've seen in Lucifer so far: Mazikeen, Lucifer's former consort and War Leader of the Lilim-in-Exile; Cal, who I'd actually forgotten about, but is Elaine's older brother and also half-angel; Jill Presto, the oft-scantily-clad invincible cabaret dancer/pop musician carrying the child of the Basanos; Bergelmir, half-brother of Loki and lover of Jill; David Easterman, a ghost who is one of many people who is not Elaine's father; Gaudium, the universe's most incompetent fallen cherub; and Spera, his long-suffering sister.  Lucifer himself cannot go because his presence is so large that it was destroy the Mansions of the Silence.

As you might imagine, the journey of this motley crew never ceases to entertain.  There's a lot of tension and conflict there, but when it comes down to it, they make an odd sort of team, even if one or two of them end up more dead than they were before.  The only part I didn't really like is that when they get in over their heads, Lucifer just shows up and solves all their problems, a return to the dull plotting of the earlier volumes.

While they journey, though, Lucifer isn't just sitting around relaxing; he and Michael have accessed the Mind of God through a backdoor created by Mazikeen's ex-husband. (To say that these books get complicated and weird sometimes would be an understatement.) What they discover there is another one of the series' shocking, clever, and fascinating revelations.

The volume wraps up with a one-part story where Elaine and her friend Mona, returned to life, discover that our universe isn't exactly what they'd hoped.  It's nicely illustrated by David Hahn, who also did some fill-ins on Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane back in the day.  It's also quite funny, though there's a great dramatic bit where Elaine confronts the demon who's taken her father's form.

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