I finished reading Lucifer today. It isn’t comparable in sheer artistic style to Transmetropolitan, in conceptual mindfuckery to Y: The Last Man or Preacher, or in scope and scale to Sandman or Fables. But of all the comics I’ve been reading lately, this is the one which best explores the emotions of its characters. In that respect, the ‘real author’ it reminded me most of was Nevil Shute.
There are wars between the host of angels and various different factions of demons and the damned. There are supernatural killers and entirely new Creations. But the theme that resonated with me the most was Lucifer’s values and motivations, and how they brought him into conflict with his father and brother (Yahweh and the archangel Michael respectively). This is not so much run-of-the-mill fantasy as it is soap opera with a supernatural setting. A family drama where the patriarch is not just godlike, but is God. Tremendous.
And the theme of familial conflict is repeated with minor characters as well. Jill Presto’s anatagonistic relationship to the baby she concieves after being raped by the Basanos Tarot Deck (you read that right, she actually is raped by a deck of tarot cards), the demoness Mazikeen’s defiance of her mother Lilith (the first wife of Adam), and Ellaine Belloc’s loss of three fathers (read it, explaining is too complicated).
On now to Ultimate Spider-Man. It doesn’t even compare to any of the stuff I mentioned above when it comes to storytelling. It rehashes old characters, Brian Michael Bendis stretches stories to three times their ideal length, and there is no mindfuckery at all. On the other hand, Mark Bagley is behind only Jim Lee and Mark Buckingham when it comes to drawing hot women. Ultimate Shadowcat. Yow wow.