Lazarus by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark combines family dynasties, with all its intrigue and plot twists, and high tech action adventure to create a rewarding page turner.
Collecting the first four issues of the Eisner-winning team of Rucka and Lark’s critically acclaimed new series about Forever Carlyle, the Lazarus of the Carlyle Family. Included is the previously only-available-online, four-page short, “Family: Prelude.” In a dystopian near-future, government is a quaint concept, resources are coveted, and possession is 100% of the law. A handful of Families rule, jealously guarding what they have and exploiting the Waste who struggle to survive in their domains. Forever Carlyle defends her family’s holdings through deception and force as their protector, their Lazarus. Shot dead defending the family home, Forever’s day goes downhill from there…
Clan or family dynasties are hot right now: look no further than Game Of Thrones. Infighting, backstabbing, betrayal, and patricide to name but a few twists they provide. High tech near future is hot, with its bioengineering, enhancements and such. Action adventure is always hot: does a James Bond film ever do poorly? Take the best of these three elements, give a good mix and you have Lazarus.
Forever Carlyle is the Lazarus of her family: a genetically and technologically enhanced enforcer for the ruling families, designed to kill. The Carlyle family is a tight group but we’re thrown right into the intrigue: there’s a secret power play going on for control, and Forever isn’t actually a blood relative. Queue a family conflict with a rival and you have the action and mayhem to keep the pages turning.
Rucka isn’t breaking new ground with the expected dialogue, character profiles or even story sequences. It is what it is, no excuses. It isn’t hard to guess what’s coming up in the next four to eight issues, but readers aren’t turning to Lazarus for deep intellectual discussion and an exploration of the human condition. We’re here to see Forever kick ass, and on that score it delivers.
A good rhythm is established between Rucka and Lark, moving and presenting the story in smooth panel layouts, transitions and pacing.
Lark provides his dark and dirty style of art. It looks photo referenced, but just enough for the basics. To that Lark adds thick lines and deep shadows. Santi Arcas delivers a flat colour profile, playing off Lark’s darkness and giving the overall book a grimy haze. Arcas ties cascading images together through background colour to keep the reader attuned to each sequence, as shown below. Simple and effective.
Lazarus Vol 1: Family is the first story arc of the series, four issues and a short prelude for the thrifty sum of $9.99: a deal through and through.
Originally published at Comic Book Daily.