Sunday, April 3, 2011

Discourse - Lucifer Volume 2: Children and Monsters

I really liked this one, especially in light of traditional Christian portrayal of Lucifer.

For example, it's continuously stated throughout the text that Lucifer is too proud to lie, which is in direct opposition to texts like Paradise Lost that portray Lucifer as the great deceiver (I really want to write about that but I'm afraid it's going to have to wait, cry cry cry).

My rebellious, atheistic spirit also appreciated the parallel of Lucifer to Christ: three days in "hell" -- with a kind of resurrection. I think it's good to have antagonistic characters like Lucifer - it keeps people on our toes about what we think of as good and evil.

I also enjoyed the portrayal of the angels as major assholes without a care who gets caught in the crossfire in their desire to eradicate Lucifer and expand the domain of heaven (wow, sounds almost human). In fact, one of the characters even calls them "scumbags." Again, I think this challenge of what people typically consider good is an excellent way to keep people examining their value systems.

(I wouldn't be even slightly surprised if Eric Kripke admitted he slept with both Sandman and Lucifer under his pillow.)

Finally, even though she wasn't a really player in this volume, I really appreciated the character Mazikeen. Throughout the books, she's constantly shown with a mask over her face (I don't remember if the reader ever saw her without the mask in the Sandman volumes or not), and finally, in this Lucifer volume, the reader gets to see how the other half of her face looks like.

Well, throughout the course of the action, a well-meaning character manages to heal her entirely -- in other words, her face is now completely healed.

In fact, she is beautiful.

But it isn't her face, and Mazikeen is very resentful of that someone took it from her.

I really like this on several levels.

One, her identity is not rooted in her level of attractiveness. So many times there are these stories that show women pursuing this societally constructed definition of beauty, in fact, rooting their identity in such a cause (I'm thinking of flicks like the Princess Diaries where you having the ugly duckling transformed into the beautiful swan and somehow finding herself in the journey from average jane to stunning sex-bot).

I find Mazikeen's a delightful twist on this particular trope in literature.

Two, for a long time she has served Lucifer. However, she refuses to wait for him to help her and, when he is busy with his own plots and schemes, she goes off on her own to find her face. To find her identity.

I don't know how much of her journey the reader will see, but that she just went off on her own was such a delightful and unexpected example of women going off on their own journeys. So many times, women are presented as sacrificing their own identities in order to help men along on their own coming-of-age journeys, and it was just so nice to see something different and empowering.

I am seriously crushing on Mazikeen. Not beautiful Mazikeen, but masked Mazikeen.

Just the inversion of so many tropes - so many times, masks are seen in literature as personas that hide a true identity. Yet Mazikeen uses the mask to express her identity - it is a part of her.

Yes. Much love to Mazikeen.

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