Advent Review #17: Lazarus #5 (Comics Review)

As far as me experimenting with non-superhero comics is concerned, Image has been my go-to publisher of choice. They have an incredible diverse array of books out right now and they continue to add more each month. One of the new properties they added this year is Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s Lazarus, a post-apocalyptic series featuring a female protagonist. With its 4-issue first arc, the creators set up a really great setting with some great characters and despite the extra one-month break in-between the last issue and the new one, my interest in the series has not dimmed at all.

The first arc ended rather explosively, with quite a few things going down and the new issue picks up where #4 left off so that we see what kind of a fallout those events have had and how the characters themselves have changed and adapted to suit the new status quo. Apart from everything else, Rucka and Lark take us back in to the past with a great flashback, and we get to see even more of the world as it has come to be. Particularly, we see what kind of events have shaped Forever as she is. And that’s a huge part of the fun of the new issue.

Lazarus 05There’s a certain simplicity to this story that I really like. Whether we are talking about the flashback to Eve’s childhood and her jerk of a patronising arrogant father or her run-in with some more enemy soldiers or interacting with her sister Johanna, things are easy to follow and thus simplistic, but there are always layers within layers. The key theme of this issue is the notion of family and with that in account, all the different scenes in the issue come together to tell a much larger story, emphasising the value and worth of a family. And through it all Rucka weaves in some great characterisation for the protagonist Eve and her supporting cast while Lark delivers on some great visuals.

With the start of the near arc, we also get to meet some new characters and with these Rucka takes a step back and focuses on the “normal” people of the setting, the everyday people that is, the ones who lack any value to their lives, as determined by the Families. It states in the credits page of this issue that the current story deals with the “Lift” the process by which these ordinary people can join those who matter, and can finally have a life where they don’t get broken backs every single day, day after day.

As a world-builder, Greg Rucka is definitely an ace and Lark is no slouch when it comes to drawing all of it either. Together, the two of them have put out one excellent issue with this one. In the first four issues we have seen things largely from the perspective of Eve and her fellow members of the Families, the only government that now exist. With the new issue that changes significantly since we are able to see events from the perspective of these ordinary folk this time and what we are seeing isn’t all that good, not in any measure of that word.

Even as Rucka and Lark build up the setting, they don’t ignore the character progression. In the second half of the book is one of the most poignant pages in the entire series thus far. It definitely raises the bar in terms of the series’ quality even further. It is a character page, focusing on her almost throughout the entire excursion and it gets across her feelings and the core of her character really well.

Where the art itself is concerned, there is definitely a bit of a gap between the previous issue and this one. Lark’s pencils are slightly less distinct this time around and it is a bit disappointing given how consistent he has been on the series till now. And the cover itself is rather mediocre, in all honesty. It is most definitely not what I was expecting for this. It looks like it was thrown together at the last minute and it lacks the usual finishing touches, which is what hurts the most. But still, I loved Eve’s body language and her attitude, all of which were fun to see and because they also added significantly to the characters themselves.

Overall, a solid issue. I want more.

Rating: 8.5/10

More Lazarus: #1, #2-3, #4-.

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Posted on December 18, 2013, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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