Lucifer: Really, you should just pretend the comic doesn’t exist.

imageIf you’ve at all taken a look at my Twitter feed in the last few months, it’s entirely possible that you might have noticed that about once a week I use it to live tweet my reactions to Lucifer. Well, the first season (first half of the first season?) of Lucifer just ended, which means I can now attempt to pull all of those stray thoughts about this show into something more coherent. Beware, spoilers ahead.

But first, a little background context. My first job, started in the summer after high school and continued into my first year in college, was at a comic book shop. I loved this job. There was, of course, actual work involved in said job, but part of why I loved the job so much was that I was also encouraged to read comics (often while I was at work) as a way of learning more about the field I was working in. At that point I had already read most of Neil Gaiman’s works in novel form, and was still working my way through his comic Sandman, but that was one of the comics that never seemed to be in the store for very long. So my manager handed me Lucifer. There are 11 TPB (trade paperback) volumes in the original comic by Mike Carey, and I went through them voraciously.

Lucifer the TV show and Lucifer the comic bear only a superficial resemblance to each other, let’s be very clear about that right from the start. There are characters who bear the same names, and the general premise of why the Devil is out and about in Los Angeles has remained the same, but that is where the similarities seem to end. If the show wasn’t at all related to a comic that I quite love, I would imagine that I would like this show quite a lot. As it is, I find the disconnect between the things I loved so much in the comic and the reality of the TV show is enough to make me bristle.

There is a rant I keep going through—most often to myself, but sometimes to whoever can be corralled into listening (most frequently this is my boyfriend, he should probably be sainted). This rant has to do with TV and movie adaptations, and the subsequent changing of a story that the original material has already provided for the screenwriter. The story provided in the comic would have made an amazing TV show, but a much more complex one than the one we got in the end. It’s not a show, I think, that FOX could have gotten away with airing—which in the end might have had something to do with the direction the show ultimately went in. (In case you’re wondering, yes, this rant rears its ugly head every time a new trailer for Suicide Squad comes out.)

  1. Mazikeen. I have really mixed feelings about this character. I love Mazikeen in the comics, and I love the casting of Lesley-Ann Brandt. But at the same time, I’m not entirely sure I like this character. In the comics, Mazikeen isn’t actually that complicated of a character very early on. She’s utterly devoted to Lucifer—for reasons that we later learn—and hardly ever even speaks a word against him, much less would ever collaborate with an angel to force Lucifer back into Hell. Some of my immediate reservations about this character was about her appearance—but not her race; again, Brandt is fabulous in this role. In the comics Mazikeen wears a half mask over the right side of her face, and the face beneath it is almost nothing more than just a skull. I spent a fair amount of Twitter time demanding to see Mazikeen’s true face. And, in all fairness, we did get a glimpse of it in episode 5. Still, I continue to be disappointed that it’s not a permanent feature of the character.
  2. Lucifer’s wings. I’ll probably start a lot of my issues with the show with this particular phrase, but… In the comics there’s a whole plot arc around Lucifer regaining his severed wings. And when I say “regaining” I don’t mean that they were stolen from him and he regains possession of them as happens in the show. I mean that he reattaches them, and after that uses them to fly as any angel. In the show however, he burns them. It’s disappointing.
  3. Magic and the Supernatural. While the Sandman/Lucifer universe of the comic books (oh yeah, spoiler, they’re related) isn’t exactly filled with magic, it is filled with various pantheons and the various supernatural creatures that come with that. The first plot arc—and a recurring one—is a magical tarot deck, the plot arc that involves his wings has him interacting with part of the Japanese pantheon, and shortly thereafter Lucifer makes himself a new creation, with himself as god. There are all sorts of demons, angels, and various other creatures running around, so basically my point is that the TV show is mundane, and took a lot of what makes the comic universe interesting out entirely.

I imagine that a whole blog post might be devoted to the finale alone*, but I’d like to avoid spoilers as much as possible here. I will say that in many ways the finale redeemed the show for me. Half of that is that it’s such a huge deviation from the comic that it’s easier for me to separate the two in my head and enjoy the show for its own merits. But the other half is that the cliff the finale left the viewers hanging from really piqued my interest. I will absolutely be tuning in when Lucifer returns to see where the show goes next.

Relatedly, DC/Vertigo has a current comic continuing Lucifer’s story from where it ended years ago, and Holly Black is doing the writing. If you’re at all interested in the comics, I recommend starting with the originals and then continuing with the newer ones since the stories are related; and if you’ve already read the original comics but haven’t checked out the new ones, definitely do. Both the writing and the art is great, and the TPB will be released on July 26.

* I thought Tor.com might have just such an article, since they frequently do TV episode recaps, but instead I found this: How to Make the Devil Boring. Lucifer. In general, I agree that most of what makes the show interesting isn’t Lucifer himself (with the occasional exception, of course).

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About Sky

I'm a: 20-something, fantasy writer, deep thought thinker, sometime knitter, bookstore browser, amateur cook, journaler, cat owner, cheap wine connoisseur, ancient and medieval history lover, occasional philosopher, avid reader, museum wanderer.
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