Lucifer Vol. 1: Cold Heaven
Holly Black, writer; Lee Garbett, artist; Stephanie Hans, guest artist (Issue #6); Antonio Fabela, colorist (Issues #1-5)
Vertigo Comics, 2016

Lucifer Morningstar steps out of the pages of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman for a second Vertigo series. The credits read "Based on characters created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Keith and Mike Dringenberg" (the original Sandman creative team), but in fact the character and tone owe a lot to Mike Carey's original Lucifer series, as does the TV series. In this way I think the situation is similar to the John Constantine character. He was created by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette, and John Totleben in Saga of the Swamp Thing; but he was not truly fleshed out until Jamie Delano and John Ridgway featured him in Hellblazer

The basic setup is the same as the first series: Lucifer has abdicated from ruling Hell, and come to Earth. Specifically to Los Angeles, where he opens a fancy bar called Lux (named "Ex Lux" in this series). There is one significant difference. Instead of accompanying him, Mazikeen (one of the race of Lilim, a descendant of Lilith, who is sometimes credited as Adam's first wife) has taken over the ruling of Hell as Queen (she is portrayed with a mask covering one side of her face, as depicted in the comics, but not the TV show). 

The title arc is a murder mystery, and it is as much about the angel Gabriel as it is about Lucifer. Gabriel is sent from heaven to kill Lucifer, who the heavenly host believe has murdered God. Lucifer says that he did not do the deed. But since he should have been the one, he proposes an investigation to uncover the real culprit. He also has a personal agenda, to rid himself of a mystical shard embedded in his body, and slowly working its way towards his heart. At the same time there is a parallel story line showing demonic influence in human affairs in Sulphur, Oklahoma (yes, that's how they spell "sulfur") and Norman, Oklahoma. 

Lucifer and Gabriel travel to Hell and to the Dreaming, giving Black ample opportunity to revisit several classic Vertigo characters (many of them first introduced in earlier supernatural-themed DC comics, e.g. Cain and Abel). There is an early reference to the first Hellblazer series as well (with a literal footnote to Issue #66). 

More later.

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The solution of the mystery creates a new dynamic, with Gabriel joining Mazikeen in Hell. That ought to generate some stories quite different from Carey's series going forward.  Lee Garbett's artwork is generally realistic, with emphasis on facial expressions and minimal backgrounds. All of the legacy characters (especially Lucifer himself) are portrayed as they have been in previous appearances, which helps give the series an "in-continuity" feel. I'm not sure I'd call it classic Vertigo, but it does call more recent titles like Fables to mind (maybe because Gabriel bears a resemblance to Bigby Wolf).

The collection concludes with the one-shot story "Son of the Morning." It starts out looking like a slight story about a young woman bringing her new boyfriend home to meet her parents--who happen to be Satanists. At the big church meeting he is revealed to be the firstborn son of Lucifer Morningstar and Izanami-No-Mikoto. His uncle, the demon Asmodeus takes them both back to Hell to challenge Mazikeen's rule (triggered by Lucifer's return, so there is some connection to the previous issues). For such potentially weighty issues, there's plenty of banter that lightens the tone. I guess future issues will show how serious this setup is.

Is this the entirety of the second Lucifer series?

Also, I can't remember what was under Mazikeen's mask, although I have a vague memory of something awful from the first series. Did she have a back story to explain it?

No, there are three volumes. I went into so much length on this one because I had been so curious about how the new series compared to Mike Carey's series. I can't remember the back story of the mask either, except that side of her face was disfigured. Black didn't explain it that I recall: just took it as a given.

The hidden half of Mazikeen's face had no flesh, and that was depicted in all its gruesomeness in her initial appearances in Sandman in the Season of Mists collection.  Later, in The Kindly Ones collection, Mazikeen is depicted with the half-mask while working for Lucifer in the Los Angeles nightclub.  I don't recall Gaiman ever describing why Mazikeen looked the way she did, but Carey made clear it was not due to any sort of injury but a part of her demonic aspect and she was not at all happy when through a bit of magic her face was "healed" so she appeared more like a "normal" human, which, of course, she wasn't!

Captain Comics said:

Is this the entirety of the second Lucifer series?

Also, I can't remember what was under Mazikeen's mask, although I have a vague memory of something awful from the first series. Did she have a back story to explain it?

Thanks for the background, Fred. I read all that stuff so long ago that don't remember a lot of details (even after reading Sandman a 2nd time). I have always intended to reread Carey's Lucifer series; I own the whole original set of TPBs.

I got them a few years ago.  Carey wrote many great stories about the ex-lord of Hell (and his & Gaiman's Lucifer is nothing like the character loosely based on him in the tv show, which I find entertaining enough, but the comics are far better in my humble opinion).

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