Lazarus #3 (Image)

Lazarus #3 cover

Rating:  4.5/5 – Family doesn’t always come first

Lazarus, the latest collaboration from the all-star team of Greg Rucka and Michael Lark is an insightful look into a dystopian future where economic breakdowns have allowed several families to rule the world.  These families have replaced governments; cities as we currently know them do not have the typical infrastructures we have come to expect.  Everything is provided by the families and for that, total and complete subservience is expected.

In addition to Rucka and Lark, the creative team on Lazarus includes Stefano Gaudiano and Brian Level (who assist Lark with art and letters) and Santi Arcas who handles the colors.  This issue is beautifully colored and fits Lark’s rough and gritty style nicely.

The underlying story of Lazarus touches on many current hot-button topics which separates it from some of the other dystopian future books on the shelves.  Government economic struggles and failures, bleeding edge technological advances in stem cell research, the growing disparity between the rich and poor – topics you hear about each day on the news provide a lush backdrop for the world of Lazarus.  This gives the story depth that the creative team deftly exploits throughout the pages of the book.  From the Latin text of the Carlyle crest to the spray-painted graffiti outside the Family Morray compound to the timelines and back matter in the back of the book, you can see the time and effort the team has put into the littlest detail of Lazarus.   These little nuggets only help to reinforce the conditions of this world and give the reader a deeper understanding of its people and their motivations.

Issue 3 continues with the meeting between Forever Carlyle and the Joacquim, the Lazarus for the Morray family.  Something that struck me throughout this issue was the tenderness and emotion that Joacquim and Forever share.  These are genetically enhanced beings that have shown little compassion at times as they follow orders.  Beings that we learn can’t even enjoy the taste of a guava due to their restrictive diets, and yet they sit and chat on a porch like old friends and attempt a minute of quiet relaxation that a sunset affords; very humanizing moments for individuals who seem anything but human.

Lazarus is packed with intrigue and deception that propel the story on multiple levels.  There are the Carlyle twins and their plans, the dealings between the Morray and Carlyle families that this issue is centered around and behind the scenes Malcolm Carlyle, the patriarch, sits watching as these moves unfold.

Three issues into the series is certainly not a large sample size but Lazarus is exceeding all expectations for me.  Expectations that were already high going in knowing the creative team that was on the book.  Their attention to detail in building the world of Lazarus is exceptional.  It is tough not to feel like this could happen while reading Lazarus and glancing at the headlines of a newspaper or turning on the evening news.  And it is with that foreboding idea, that uneasiness, that Rucka, Lark and company pull you in.

Reviewed by: Jeff Bouchard – jeff@comicspectrum.com
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