Story: Greg Rucka
Art: Michael Lark
Colors: Santi Arcas
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: September 2, 2015
Well, Lazarus is amazing. I could probably end the review right there, but convention dictates that I detail some of the reasons for my glowing opinion of the post-apocalyptic thriller.
Like a lot of the book’s fans, I was initially drawn to the idea of a world ruled by power-hungry families; the rest of humanity has fallen under the rule of these corporate elite. It’s a brutal world and each family protects itself and its wealth with a genetically enhanced retainer; the Lazarus.
Forever Carlyle, one of the Lazari, features prominently as the commander of the Family Carlyle’s private military and star of the book. Thus far she’s progressed from a unquestioningly loyal killing machine into a nuanced human being. Watching her transition into this complex and not easily defined person is entertaining to say the least as Rucka’s book is full of character-building conflict, both in terms of strengthening Forever’s personal ethics as well as simply fleshing her out a bit more.
Last issue ended on one helluva cliffhanger, with Forever taking a bullet to the head as she and an assault team attempted to keep Hock forces from overrunning Family Carlyle’s Duluth territory. Forever’s been near death before*, but not quite like this; and I have to admit that the suddenness of it caught me off guard. Even though part of me knew that she couldn’t be permanently dead (could she?), as I closed the book, another part of me wondered…
Part three of the “Poison” story arc begins in the same bloody mess that part two ended in; Forever is KIA and Corporal Solomon takes command of the assault team in attempt to keep morale up and ultimately honor her fallen leader. Bethany and James have no idea why Forever hasn’t revived yet and Johanna is back to scheming in a bid to regain some of her influence with the families. Just another day in the cutthroat world of Lazarus.
I haven’t mentioned the artwork yet, because I think it’s obvious that it’s a perfect fit for a book like Lazarus. The book’s tone can change quickly, sometimes within a page or two, and the emphasis on color as a set piece that enhances the atmosphere but never takes center-stage, is excellent. The thing about Lazarus is that the story is so strong and engaging, I’d read the book if every panel was stick figures, but it helps that Lark’s style is more detailed than that. His functional approach to character appearance and setting keeps the story grounded.
All told, this issue is one more nearly flawless work; it flows easily from one panel to the next and sets the stage for some more of the books signature violent conflict resolution. It also looks like we may get to see Sonja in a body dismembering team up before this arc is complete. I’m excited.
* Issues #3-4