Lazarus #8: Family is Forever
This week the team of Rucka, Lark, and Arcas give us Lazarus #8: Part Four of the “Lift” arc. Forever and Johanna make progress on tracking down the terrorist cell called Free. The Barrett family continues on their way to Denver and demonstrates how special they are along the way. By then end of Lazarus #8, all roads point to Denver for a showdown or a new partnership.
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In the Lazarus “Lift” arc, each book opens with a glimpse into Forever’s formative years and by doing this Rucka is able to underscore that our protagonist has been designed, shaped, and molded meticulously to become the entity that she is today. With the shadow of doubt hanging over Forever, caused by that cryptic message about her family not really being her family, readers can see how her upbringing makes her open to considering this idea that goes against all her training.
In South Central Los Angeles, Dose and Bit, art of the terrorist cell, are lingering in their current location despite Angel’s direction to bug out. Their delay costs them greatly as the Daggers and Forever take down these two terrorists. The only medical services in the convoy, the sisters, offer Michael a deal after seeing his aptitude for first-aid. In exchange for his help in alleviating the massive line of folks wanting medical treatment, the sisters offer to train him to use their equipment. (I hope there aren’t strings attached to this offer!) Michael learns to read scans and high-tech medical imagery. His parents lament the loss of his sister (see issue #7), and Casey makes a new friend, called Angel, purely by accident.
Johanna and Forever are in the Palisades compound. They discuss the state of the terrorist threat and lament that the one member, presumably with the IED, wasn’t found in the raid from Emma’s intel. Through interrogation Forever was able to find out more on the potential attack and threat to the upcoming Lift. Yet, she’s not happy about having to break the captured terrorists in this way. Her conscious and independent thought shows itself more and more every day it seems. Despite the threat to the family and serfs, her father is unyielding to any thought of canceling events related to the Lift. He places all the responsibility upon Forever to stop any terrorists on her own.
I know the Greg Rucka writes a killer character, figuratively and literally. I am so glad that Lazarus focuses on Forever Carlyle, a female Lazari, because I feel that is this Rucka’s sweet spot. He is excellent at well-rounded and in-depth characters, even ones with boobs. I hold him up as a standard of what I want from other writers as well. Forever Carlyle does not disappoint. She is a fascinating personality that gets more intriguing as her independence grows. I can’t wait to see what happens.
Michael Lark and Santi Arcas visually pull us into the word with carefully crafted panels that use distance, angles, and colors to convey the mood and feel of this future world. I particularly like the interior residence shots that a a bit like a Michael Mann movie with deep blue hues. Nothing in this world is bright, except for explosions, and I have to believe that it is an accurate depiction of what it would be like to live here—all muted tones. My only criticism is the inclusion of bolded words in the speech bubbles. It guides me to emphasis that I don’t naturally place on those bolded words.
Recommendation: Readers who enjoy stories with a view the future full of powerful corporations and great wealth running amok without any checks or balances. And, where “regular” people have little to no control. Some of Jonathan Hickman’s titles come to mind like Transhuman, The Nightly News, and even East of West will find something to like in Lazarus. Even readers of The Walking Dead might be hooked by Lazarus with comparable stories about people surviving in the face of oppressive external force, zombies and corporations.