Lazarus #4 by Greg Rucka (Comics Review)

Looking for a good non-superhero book for me is not an easy task. Mostly because I love the genre so much that I just don’t take easily to anything that’s not in it. And the same goes for the big property/franchise titles like Star Wars, or G.I.Joe or what have you. These are worlds and characters I’m heavily invested in and thus I want to read more about them rather than anything else. However, into this mix steps Image Comics, who’ve been doing a pretty brilliant job with all their recent titles that I’m following.

Lazarus, by the acclaimed Greg Rucka, is one such book that is totally giving me all sorts of reasons to read non-superhero books. It is brilliantly written with some really great artwork and it is a truck-load of fun every single time. With the new issue, #4, I was expecting some big things since the story in #3 ended rather explosively. And man does Greg Rucka deliver in a really great way!

Lazarus 04That cover, by Michael Lark and Santi Arcas, says everything that you need to know about this issue. It captures the tone and mood of the script inside perfectly. That doesn’t happen often with comics. Often the covers are just… romanticized versions of the story that’s happening inside, but this is one cover that portrays the contents perfectly and gives you a taste of what you are going to be reading.

The story itself is a great blend of action, world-building and characterization. Picking up where the last issue left off, we see things from the perspective of Bethany Carlyle, a daughter of the Carlyle Family and a doctor as well. She’s having just another day at the office, monitoring Forever as she returns from her mission to the Morray Family, when everything goes belly-up and all the alarms tied into Forever’s systems redline. From then on, we see just exactly what kind of a person that Forever is, and I don’t mean in terms of her character, but her nature. That cover? That should tell you exactly what the Lazari really are. Very Terminator-esque, in a very T-800 sense that is, the “classic” Terminator as portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Greg Rucka’s characterisation here is pretty spot on. We’ve seen what the Lazari are capable of before, but this time, he just lets loose with all their fighting skills and the artwork by Lark and Arcas makes those panels really pop out and deliver a really well-paced story. Of course, we don’t just see things from her perspective, or Joacquim (the Lazarus of the Morray Family), but also from Bethany’s as mentioned before and from Forever’s two other siblings, Jonah and Johanna, who are engaged in an internal struggle against their father, the head of the Family. It creates some really stirring visuals as we see how the conspiracy put in place by Jonah and Johanna plays out, and how they themselves suffer a setback once the inevitable happens.

After all, Forever is a Lazarus, with everything that applies. And she is the chief enforcer of the Carlyle Family. You do not mess with her and then expect to go home scot-free.

As with the previous three issues, Lark and Arcas do a really good job on the artwork. This issue has a slightly darker feel to it, mostly attributable to the darker palette of colours being used, but it all fits together nicely. The way that Lark’s panels flow out, alternating the perspectives between Forever and Joacquim, Bethany and James, Jonah and Johanna, it creates a really strong visual narrative. Some of the character-work was a bit of a letdown, mostly do with the character expressions since Lark appears to have gone for a minimalist approach on that front, but I really liked the artwork here.

Right now, the pairing of Rucka, Lark and Arcas is definitely a great one. All of them know what kind of a story they want to tell and they are telling it, without any kind of major drawbacks. Now for the month-long inevitable wait until the next issue arrives!

Rating: 9/10

More Lazarus: #1, #2-3.

Posted on October 4, 2013, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

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