By Robert Larson
Lucas Stand just can’t seem to hit a winning formula in a given issue. In the first few issues, the central tension of working for hell and leaving behind a lot of collateral damage was undercut by the fact that some cheap writing undermined those consequences. For once, that’s not a problem here; instead, the basic premise of each has finally worn thin, so that all of the emotional baggage of Lucas with his father is so muted that it doesn’t evoke much response. In other words, too little, too late. Warning: I will be discussing spoilers here.
Lucas finds himself in SE Asia in the closing days of the Vietnam War, with his father and a mysterious nurse named Alicia. Sure enough, there’s a tempter here, working in one of the most violent places on earth. But not everything is as it seems; that nurse is playing Gadrel to her own ends in order to smuggle a colossal amount of heroin out of the country, and taking down her demon partner means sacrificing his own father. But when Lucas gets back to the present, he’s got an unwelcome surprise: Alicia has made her own deal with Gadrel, and he sends them both on a mission.
Why Gadrel would place any faith in that traitorous CIA agent is beyond me, particularly when dealing with demons who could always try and make a better offer. The whole benefit of Lucas is at least that he’s loyal and actually seems interested in doing the right thing, even if it’s buried beneath an unbelievable amount of trauma and booze. She, on the other hand would clearly sell anybody out to save herself, so why trust her with something this important? Maybe he’s playing her to some greater end (which will presumably screw Lucas in some way), but I can’t see any other way this makes sense.
The device of “go back in time, meet demon, and kill it in one issue” is also getting to be tiresome after three consecutive iterations. This issue was a bit of an improvement to be sure, but not much of one, and the lack of anything else going on makes this even more uninteresting. I guess you could call Lucas’ sobriety the B-plot, but it’s not much of anything to chase, and what happened with his dad here seems like it will be quickly forgotten in the next issue.
Speaking of which, we’ve only got two of these left, and I’m not entirely clear how this is going to be resolved. I guess that counts as suspense? I just don’t see an end game.
Lucas Stand #4
Writer: Caitlin Kittredge and Curt Sutter
Artist: Jesus Hervas
Publisher: BOOM! Studios