COMIC BOOK REVIEW: LAZARUS BOOK 1 / AUTHOR: GREG RUCKA / ARTIST: MICHAEL LARK, SANTI ARCAS / PUBLISHER: IMAGE COMICS / RELEASE DATE: DECEMBER 2ND
Sci-fi has always been about relevance to our own society. The best sci-fi explores the future with eyes firmly planted on our own society. X-Men used the mutants to mirror the Civil Rights movement of 1960s’ America, and now Lazarus examines financial and corporate greed and the power with which companies can have a global stranglehold. Its ideals are relevant despite being set in a dystopian future. In Lazarus, political and geographical lines are no more; the world is now split up by financial boundaries. Wealthy 'Families,’ not too dissimilar to the Houses in Game of Thrones, control their regions with wealth. In each of these families there is a protector or 'sword and shield' who defend them, and this is their Lazarus.
This hardcover edition collects the first two story arcs, Volume 1 (Family) and Volume 2 (Lift), which are issues #1 - #9, along with various special additions including family profiles, world maps, and unseen artwork. Greg Rucka (Whiteout, Gotham Central, Wonder Woman) and Michael Lark (Daredevil, Terminal City, Legend of the Hawkman) reunite after having previously worked on the Eisner Award-winning Gotham Central, and the two deliver a bold and profound combination of storytelling from the opening page to the final one.
Forever, who we see assaulted in a bloody and violent interaction on the first few pages, is the Carlyle family's Lazarus. Forever is a soldier who is made to seem more technology than human by the family, but in reality we are drawn to her because she is more human than the family she protects despite being nearly invincible.
Greg Rucka has a knack for conflicted, lost female characters. In Lazarus there are some parallels to Carrie Stetko from Whiteout and even some of the themes are similar, too. Whiteout was filled with greed, deception and murder, and Lazarus is more of the same albeit with a slightly different twist; there are many secrets from Forever's past that the Carlyle family are hiding.
There is a noirish quality to the art, with so much depth to each panel, while some of the art is muted with grays and blues, and other panels pop with oversaturation and colour. The division between the stale and static world inside the Carlyle family and the outside world of the Waste is beautifully done. Lazarus is filled with stunning and unique panels, but it’s in the expressions where the art really shines. Forever is drawn to be quite imposing and physical but her facial expressions show her vulnerability and weakness.
Forever's story is all about reincarnation and certainly Lazarus is yet another outstanding title that carries on the rejuvenation of mainstream comics by Image.
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