Lazarus #6 (Comics Review)

After yet another break, one of Image’s newest titles returned to shelves this past week with its sixth issue. Across the five issues we’ve had previously, writer Greg Rucka and artists Michael Lark and Santi Arcas built up a well-defined post-apocalyptic (of sorts) world around the protagonist Forever Carlyle, a genetically engineered and conditioned woman who acts as her family’s ambassador and head of security. Its been a fairly good series thus far, and I’ve enjoyed what the creators have done. This isn’t the type of story that would ever be told at the Big 2 and Image is a perfect fit for this title.

In the new issue, we continue to get a wider perspective of the world and the setting itself. We are able to see just how the world works and how the Serfs and Wastes are treated by the Families. This is by no means a happy setting, bleak in the extreme actually, and this issue shows that off nicely. In fact, it highlights how ruthless this world is. And the art is quite decent. No big scenes here this time, and everything is more or less a subtle play on the larger themes.

Lazarus 06There are three distinct stories in this issue. We start off by seeing a young Forever, as she is being trained and monitored by her handlers to eventually serve the Family Carlyle. This story carries on from what we saw in the previous issue and we get a really good sense of how involved said training is, whether physical or psychological. Then we move on to the present-day story with Forever and Johanna working on a project at one of the Family’s estates. While on an inspection of the premises, she comes across something suspicious that she decides to investigate, and this leads on into the next story. Now we switch gears to see how a certain waste family is holding up in the wake of the recent disaster that saw the family’s home destroyed. Times are lean and with only predatory assistance from the Family to look forward to, things are dire with them. The second half of the issue is all about how these last two stories intersect and where things go on from here.

Generally speaking, I liked this issue. It is mostly well-paced and each story is interesting to some degree. But, I didn’t appreciate that there was so damn much going on. I loved the wider look into how the Family operates, how it treats its Lazarus, and so on, but I think that this is one issue that could have done with being a bit longer. Say, add another 4-5 pages to it. Because it felt short. It felt as if the story ended just when it was getting into a certain rhythm.

There’s also the back-and-forth references in this issue, going back to a certain act that she was forced to do right in the first issue. That one kind of distressed for a while, and now we see history repeat itself, but in a very different way, and thus Forever’s actions are interesting. They seem a bit… out-of-character, but I’m willing to wait and see how it all actually plays out before condemning it. Her interest in the serfs and wastes is one of the things that helps set her apart from the rest of the Family, and that’s one of the reasons why I keep coming back to the series: her interest in the people around her.

There are a couple moments in the issue when the characters do something dumb, or something very unexpected in a not-good way, such as the one above. It is confusing to a degree since Rucka usually writes some fairly tight, logical stories, but I can give it a pass for the moment.

With the art, it continues to be good. Lark’s facial expressions are almost always spot-on and so it is with this issue, whether we are talking about Forever (young or old), or we are talking about any of the other characters who show up here, particularly her trainers. And Arcas’ colours are also consistent with everything we’ve seen before, and some of the scenes in this issue do provide a challenge since Arcas also has to handle some pastoral settings. The lettering is by both Lark and Brian Level I believe, and the reason I mention that is because while the lettering in the first half was good, in the second half it wasn’t. The dialogue boxes were tiny in comparison and it was quite hard to make out what was being said.

Other than all that though, this was still another good, decent issue from the team.

Rating: 8.5/10

More Lazarus: #1, #2-3, #4, #5.

Posted on February 9, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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