Lazarus #8 (Image)

Lazarus 8
CREDIT: Image Comics

Rating: 5/5 – Rucka and Lark Are The Ones We Are Looking For!
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Hank Johnson.

There are certain comic book series that are like a great mixed drink. You sit at the bar, have a couple and then you stand up and realize, “Oh my God! That is so good!” as you stagger blissfully away. Lazarus, is the Gran Patrón Platinum tequila of comics. It is smooth, crisp, and refreshing to consume and once you read it, you can’t get enough.
Michael Lark’s art is masterful. If you strip the words away from each page, you could spend hours reveling in the art. The storytelling and pace are terrific, and each character is distinct and vibrant. Lark has a true gift for capturing the emotions of each character and translating it to the page. I don’t know if any other artist could make this book as effective as Lark. I urge you to grab the book off of the shelf at your local shop and just flip through the pages to see for yourself.

Greg Rucka’s writing in this issue is some of his best. There were passages in this book that made me shiver. Rucka has created a great tone in this book, and while the book is set in the future, it feels “real”.  Rucka’s use of dialogue is what really takes the book up a notch. There are moments where the reader is left cold and stunned by just a few words. Sometimes it is even the lack of words that make things hit with such force. I have read this issue three times in preparation for this review, and each time I catch something different.  Rucka does a great job of setting the pieces in motion for what is sure to be a tremendous concluding issue to this story. We spend just enough time with all the key players to make us care about them and understand their motivation. College creative writing professors could make the first two arcs of Lazarus required reading for all aspiring writers.

In a review, I normally don’t give credit to an editor but in the case of Lazarus, I believe David Brothers deserves to be mentioned. Brothers was a writer at a popular comic’s website for a few years and some of his writing inspired me to start writing reviews. He has since left the website and made the transition to editor working on not only Lazarus, but Velvet as well. To be so early in his career yet have two outstanding series under his belt is truly impressive. A writer I talked to at New York Comic Con once told me “A great editor is like a great umpire. They make the difficult decisions and if they do it right, no one knows their name, but their influence on the outcome is there.”  Colorist Santi Arcas does a great job complementing both Larks’ art and Rucka’s words. The use of shadows and various degrees of brightness makes the book really come together to create an emotional experience. There are not enough good things that I can say about this book.

This is one series that cries out to me for a deluxe edition with oversized art and a detailed look at the creative process. Lazarus, with this issue, has become my favorite ongoing series in comics today, bar none. Rucka, Lark, and Arcas have created a comic masterpiece to be enjoyed again and again. While each of the reviewers at ComicSpectrum have different tastes and sometimes wildly different opinions, I am now the fourth different person who has reviewed an issue of Lazarus for the site and given it a 4.5 or a 5. Lazarus is a book that every comic fan should at least give a try.  This wednesday (4/30) Image will put out a $1 copy of Lazarus #1.  If you’ve never tried it, you should head to your shop and risk $1 on this fabulous series.

Reviewed by: Hank Johnson
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