- Posted by Johanna on September 2, 2013 at 12:44 pm
- Category: Indy Comic Reviews
- CREDITS: written by Greg Rucka; art by Michael Lark
- PUBLISHER: Image Comics; $2.99 US
Greg Rucka and Michael Lark, who previously worked together on Gotham Central, have reunited for a new science fiction action series called Lazarus.
The lead is Forever Carlyle, an enhanced fighter who can’t be easily killed. She’s a child of the Carlyle family, one of the ruling financial groups of a world in disarray. She’s also the family’s protector, the one sent to dispose of poachers seeking food, and she can’t be stopped by normal means, even gunshots.
There’s already been a small dispute in the letter column about how Forever, called Eve, is drawn, as a tough, powerful, tall woman really would look. Some express dismay at the lack of the typically willowy, bosomy fighting chick, but for the rest of us, it’s refreshing to see a model drawn more from athletics than porn fantasies. Lark’s stiff style is a great choice for a book about a stoic fighter, too.
The premises are true science fiction, taking trends today and extrapolating, whether it’s the consolidation of wealth in fewer, more powerful hands or the use of stem cells to renew body parts. Rucka’s notes at the back of the issues go into more detail about the roots of the ideas (the most frightening part of the comic, in my opinion, since it’s all drawn from real world concepts).
Issue #1 establishes some of Eve’s abilities, but it also lays the groundwork for how one faction of the family is plotting against another. The twins, Jonah and Johanna, may have something else in mind than what the patriarch intends. We meet the ruthless Jonah in the first issue, but Johanna doesn’t appear until late in issue #2, with disturbing implications about her relationship with her brother. (And yeah, after rarely seeing my name anywhere, having it tagged to the evil plotting bitch type is a bit disconcerting.)
Eve’s got her own secrets, which make her three-dimensional and fascinating. She’s struggling with her role as a Lazarus, because although she survives most attacks, they still hurt. When she encounters another like her in issue #3, we learn more about her history.
Lazarus is a dense series with more to say than showing us who is beating up whom, although there’s plenty of action. It’s the premise and the characters that keep me coming back, wanting to know more about what will happen next and what the cast really feels. It’s twisty, relevant, and addictive.
Issue #4, concluding the first storyline, is due out October 2. There’s a reprint collection, due out just after. It contains the first four issues plus an introductory four-page short story titled “Family: Prelude”. There’s also a Tumblr with art previews and background links.