Lazarus #8 (Comics Review)
Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s first arc on Lazarus proved to be quite a short one at just four issues. Their second arc in comparison appears to be a bit longer, and that’s perfectly fine with me since the first arc was only intended to introduce the characters and the setting, to hook readers in and keep them coming back for more. Which is what happened with me. Now, with the second arc, the creators have improved immeasurably by giving us a much wider view of this post-apocalyptic world as the creators deal with a terrorist plot and also explore the protagonist, Forever Carlyle, and the world around her.
In the previous issues we saw the lead-up to the terrorist plot that is going to be executed very soon. And we also saw what is going on with the Garrett’s and the loss they suffered while making the trek to Denver to take part in the Lift and find a better future for themselves. In the new issue we see how all the storylines are beginning to converge finally and how everything is going to go down in the Lift. Forever, the terrorists, the Garretts, they are all going to be having a word or two in the next issue and hopefully sharing the space. While the writing is better from last time however, the art doesn’t seem quite so good, perhaps because of an overuse of inks this time.In keeping with how this Lift arc has played out so far, there are four distinct stories in this issue. The first of these deals with Forever’s training as a child under Marisol, who I believe is the Lazarus of the Carlyle family at the time. The second deals with Forever in the present as she tries to foil a terrorist plot before it begins. The third deals with the Garretts and their long journey to get to the Lift in Denver. And the fourth deals with the terrorists themselves. By the end all these plotlines finally begin to converge to what I think is going to be the final issue of this arc.
Right from the start, there have been some strong western elements in the series, even though it isn’t a “proper” western. Post-apocalyptic western is more like it. In the Lift arc these elements have taken somewhat of a backseat, and that is regrettable since it was one of the ways in which Lazarus stood out from its peers. What is stronger is the science-fiction element of the series, with respect to Forever having been genetically engineered and conditioned to serve the Carlyle family as its Lazarus, the enforcer of its will and its brutal hand of justice. This is also one of the most emotional aspects of the story that Rucka has been developing since issue #5, the beginning of the arc, and what I find to be the most fascinating. This issue definitely went further in explaining just what kind of a relationship Malcolm Carlyle has with his gene-engineered daughter.
More than that though, is the fact that every day of her life is a constant struggle for Forever to maintain her status in the Family. She has to validate herself through every action that she takes and that became absolutely crystal clear in this issue, when she talks with her father about the terrorist’s plot to detonate a bomb in Denver during the Lift. Given everything that we see in the flashbacks, this scene takes on a more urgent quality and it is very interesting to see how differently Malcolm behaves. Sign of things to come perhaps.
Michael Lark returns with Brian Level for the art on this issue, with Santi Arcas providing the colours for their work. Some of Forever’s expressions in this issue, especially in the first couple pages, were really weird, and not the best example of the artists’ work, but thankfully the rest of the issue shows a marked difference. There are lots of characters in the story now and it is great that they are all distinct enough to be recognised at a first glance. That’s always important when a cast increases. The only other issue I have with the art is that the inks were a bit heavy and unpolished in several places this time. That didn’t go down well with me. The book already has a very dark colour palette and when the colours (or the inks for that matter) go overboard, it negatively impacts the experience. But on the whole, the noir-inspired western fusion is still working for me, and why I keep coming back.
So overall, another good issue in the series. Rucka and Co. are definitely going strong with this one.
Posted on April 29, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged Brian Level, Comics, Comics Review, Crime, Eve Carlyle, Female Warriors, Forever Carlyle, Genetic Engineering, Greg Rucka, Image Comics, Lazarus, Mafia, Michael Lark, Post-Apocalyptic, Review, Review Central, Santi Arcas, Science Fiction, Thriller, Western. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.