This December sees the release of “Hexed,” a four-issue miniseries of brilliant colors and cunning stratagems from the minds of writer Michael Allan Nelson (“Fall of Cthulhu”) and artist Emma Rios. Courtesy of BOOM! Studios, CBR has an exclusive eight-page preview of the series, which follows the adventures of a professional thief weaving her way through the realms of magic. We also caught up with Nelson to discuss “Hexed” and the appeal of not-very-nice protagonists.
“Hexed” is the story of Luci Jenifer Inacio Das Neves, a Brazilian thief known more cordially as Lucifer. She has the skills to procure the most rare and precious mystical objects from some of the worst people, but even the best crook is bound to get caught sooner or later. Now, coping with a mysterious hex and pressed into service by a fiendish client, Lucifer must contend with her own demons while working for devils.
“Lucifer has a constant shadow over her head,” Nelson told CBR. “When most people die, they either have Heaven or Hell to look forward to. Lucifer, however, has been hexed and has a third, much less palatable destination. And it's that final destination that she desperately wants to avoid.”
One may get the sense that “Hexed” will feature some morally ambiguous characters, but for all her dirty deeds, Lucifer comes off as quite likable, and there's a good amount of humor in the book. “I think most people find these kinds of characters more fun to read about because they're more relatable,” Nelson said. “No one is perfect and we all have weaknesses, even our heroes. So it's fun for me to explore moral quandaries in fantastical circumstances. Lucifer is a bit of a paradox. She's our good guy, our hero. But she's a thief. Can she make a living by stealing and still be good? What about this hex? She knows that she's spoken for in the afterlife, therefore her actions won't really help or hurt what happens to her once she passes on. But she still feels a need to live a good life, provided it doesn't get in her way. Her desire to live that good life is tempered by the world she lives in. Sometimes she has to do some not-so-nice things in order to survive.
“So the fun question then becomes, what line is she not willing to cross? What if she can't even see the line in the first place? We all know (or like to think we know) what we would do when faced with tough decisions. But the gray areas can make those decisions more difficult. It's that ambiguity and those imperfections that make Lucifer such a fun character to write.”
Acknowledging some thematic similarities to Vertigo's long-running series “Hellblazer,” Nelson assures readers that “Hexed” comes from a very different style and sensibility. “Obviously, magic and darkness are two things that they have in common,” the writer said. “'Hellblazer' fans will dig the otherworld of demons and magic that Lucifer likes to play in. But where John Constantine wallows in darkness and even a healthy amount of self-loathing, Lucifer has more of a sense of fun and beauty. Don't get me wrong, she has to deal with some pretty horrible things, but there's a reason she works for the curator of an art gallery. She likes to surround herself with beautiful things to cleanse her palette from the ugliness she constantly sees.”
Nelson lavished praise on his “Hexed” creative partner, Spanish newcomer Emma Rios, who provides the art for the series assisted by a very lively color palette courtesy of Cris Peter. “I can't tell you how happy I am with what Emma has done for ‘Hexed.’ It truly blows my mind,” the writer said. “Emma has taken Lucifer and brought her to life. She gets it. She has been able to capture the vibe in a way I never thought possible. And what I find truly fascinating is the way Emma is able to distill Lucifer's personality into her eyes. There are numerous panels where we can see the swirl of emotions in a character's expression without them having to utter a single word. It's amazing.
“Emma and Cris have collaborated to create a universe that is frightening, horrific, and yet stunningly beautiful. It's the perfect world in which to tell Lucifer's story.”
“Hexed” #1 hits stands in December from BOOM! Studios.