In the future, our world is separated by territories run by wealthy, powerful families. Any people that are not part of the ruling family are known as Wastes. Within each territory is a Lazarus, a member of the family that is heavily enhanced with the latest drugs and technology money can afford. He or she is the protector of the territory and loyal agent to the family’s interests. Forever is the Lazarus of the Carlyle family. After a recent attack by their rival family, the Morrays, Forever believes there is a traitor within the Carlyles.
The story is well structured
Strong female protagonist
Too much information revealed to the reader
Stereotypical, simple character design
Previously in Lazarus: After an attack from Morray forces on Carlyle territory, Forever realizes someone with high level clearance deactivated their territory’s security system. After a Waste traitor is found and executed, the head of the Carlyle family, Forever’s father, calls for a meeting. Everyone, except Forever’s sister Joanna, attends. Jonah, Forever’s older brother and Joanna’s twin, advises the Carlyles go to war with the Morrays over their intrusion. However, his father dismisses him. Forever’s father privately meets with his daughter, who voices her concerns about a traitor. Her father assigns her a secret mission to go into Morray territory. After escaping Jonah’s security detail, she drives to the Morray border where she is captured by their forces.
ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILY
Greg Rucka continues his dystopian futuristic comic with Lazarus #3. Forever is captured, under the custody of Joacquim, the Morray’s Lazarus until Joacquim’s uncle, leader of the Morray family, arrives for their meeting. She delivers her father’s deal to Joacquim’s uncle, who agrees to their terms. Although I find Greg Rucka’s strong feminine heroine refreshingly original, Forever has a stoic, tough-as-nails personality. In previous issues, as the youngest daughter, she is the good soldier, obeying the wishes of her father and Jonah without question. She seemed very robotic. With the introduction of Joacquim, Forever has someone who can relate with her due to their similar upbringing. The two Lazaruses bond over their similar roles as their family’s protector. They respect one another’s prowess, even though they are mortal enemies. Through Joacquim, we see Forever’s human characteristics. Meanwhile, the Carlyle twins, Joanna and Jonah, plot to kill Forever, believing their father will go to war with the Morrays if his beloved Lazarus is killed. The pair remind me of Jamie and Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones: two scheming incestuous twins with a powerful father. Social hierarchy is a major theme in this series. Wastes are considered sub-human and examples of their expandability is visibly present. The writer does an excellent job conveying the hardships non-family humans endure at the hands of their masters. Unfortunately, much of the mystery behind some of the questions laid out in the first issue, such as Forever’s origin or the true perpetrators of the attacks, are easily discerned, even though the characters themselves have not figured it out yet. I do not know if this is done on purpose, but it makes for a less suspenseful comic if the reader knows more than the characters.
ART IN THE DESERT
Michael Lark contributes his cell-shaded artwork to Lazarus’s futuristic setting. Character design is simplistic, but easily recognizable. Joacquim is portrayed as a stereotypical enforcer in the vein of Snake from Escape from New York. Meanwhile his uncle looks like a Mexican cartel boss with his chubby face and thick white mustache. I like the post-apocalyptic scenery in the background, like Los Angeles and Mexico, as well as the rich, lavish lifestyles the Carlyles enjoy. It adds to the modern dystopian tone of the comic. Although there is some violence in this issue, it is not overdone. However, the artist’s explosions need a little work.
BOTTOM LINE: GREAT STORY, LOTS OF POTENTIAL
Greg Rucka and Michael Lark have done a great job establishing their futuristic world and its characters. Although much of the plot twists and mysteries are no-brainers, it is still an enjoyable read. Overall, with a good story foundation and solid artwork supporting it, Lazarus has the potential to be a great comic book series.
DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!