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GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEW: Lazarus Book One HC

 
LAZARUS_HC_01
LAZARUS_HC_01
LAZARUS_HC_01

 
Overview
 

Story by: Greg Rucka
 
Art by: Michael Lark & Santi Arcas
 
Publisher:
 
FG RATING
 
 
 
 
 
4/ 5


User Rating
3 total ratings

 


To sum it all up..

  Among the independent publishers, Image Comics makes strides in either inviting established comic names to create their avant-garde or finding true potentials that the main comic industry rejected. In the former, Greg Rucka and Michael Lark (and later joined with Santi Arcas) collaborate once again to craft a possible world futuristic scenario that the […]

2
Posted November 27, 2014 by

 
FULL REVIEW
 
 

 

LAZARUS_HC_01

Lazarus Book One HC

Among the independent publishers, Image Comics makes strides in either inviting established comic names to create their avant-garde or finding true potentials that the main comic industry rejected. In the former, Greg Rucka and Michael Lark (and later joined with Santi Arcas) collaborate once again to craft a possible world futuristic scenario that the major families rule and control virtually all the resources of the world. Their work is LAZARUS. This month, Image unleashes it’s first volume, hardcover deluxe edition that contains two story arcs — FAMILY and THE LIFT. The first basically introduces the major protagonist FOREVER CARLYLE, the “Lazarus” or the defender of the Carlyle family, who dominates most of the North American continent. It presents the family members; Forever’s mentor – Marisol; other rival families like the Hock in the eastern portion of the former United States, and the Morray—ruling clan of the Mexican and Central America domains, whose Lazarus, Joacquim Morray, is also the love interest of Forever. The plot revolves on the plot of usurping the Carlyle patriarch Malcolm by secretly conniving with some Morray family members which Forever tries to unravel.

The second story widens the world perspective by showing the plight of a downtrodden family in the Carlyle domain who is forced to proceed to Denver, Colorado for the Lift—one of the rarest opportunities for the “wastes” or the “masses” to be selected to work with the family, thus elevating in the socio-economic ranks. In parallel with this, Forever searches for the terrorist group who created a series of sabotages in her family’s food storages and facilities that leads to an unexpected twist at the end of the story.

This volume contains Warren Ellis’ introduction where Rucka first consulted on the matter of latest breakthroughs in science and medicine. Rucka adds his afterword. It profiles fifteen dominating families, including their geographical holdings of the entire world as provided in the world map Rucka envisions, and a timeline that traces the rise of the families, most particularly Malcolm Carlyle’s ascendance to power. Additional cover art, unique insights on the creative process — most particularly the “computer screens”, and a couple of promotional products of the respective families advertisements sum up this very decent volume. Lazarus08-Page1

True enough, as what Ellis mentions; science fiction is basically a critique on the present times by using the future as a backdrop. Families control the resources and the socio-political-cultural forces that once rarely seen since the Medieval Times. Speaking of which, this series would surely find resonance to Game of Thrones fans for this has striking parallelisms. Malcolm Carlyle’s dominance, and control (and mastery of political maneuverings) are similar to Tywin Lannister. The twins, Johanna and Jonah, have affections with one another and conniving to usurp their father, like their infamous Lannister twins. Forever is “special”—genetically superhuman who wants to strive further to get the affection she really craves from her family, particularly Malcolm, is akin of Tyrion Lannister’s situation with his father. Political (and family) intrigues are a food staple here in Lazarus, so does GoT. Political jockeying and machinations to further strengthening one’s family’s fortunes are very prevalent here. The wretchedness of the downtrodden is visually appalling. This is oligarchy to the worst. This is emulation at its best, not imitation, please take note on that. Themes of social stratification and discrimination are outright obvious, in addition of filial responsibilities of duty, honor and loyalty (especially the Lazarus or Lazari as what Rucka terms it in plural form) that shows the fusion of medieval concepts and postmodern values and ethics (a bit oxymoron, isn’t it). Such parallelism is so apparent that I don’t miss GoT at all. One may say that this is the GoT of the NEAR FUTURE, just coupled with scientific advancements of molecular and genetic engineering findings and other near scenarios of medical progress that are both a blessing and a curse. The problem is, only one to two families have complete control of these, like Marxists attests—one who controls the key resources controls virtually EVERYTHING.

This is a chilling warning indeed for those who want to monopolize anything. Rucka continues his niche as one of the industry’s best ladies’ man. The notion that female writers write better female stories and characters is, well, a bad assumption. Rucka shows otherwise and Lazarus shows us why. In the similar fashions in Stumptown, Whiteout and Queen and Country, he portrays Forever and other female characters with the finesse of them as strong, vulnerable, intelligent and engaging. Forever’s personal turmoil of working so hard shows in her conversations with her mentor and geneticist Doctor James, at the same time, presents her inner affection to her rival Joacquim whenever no one’s watching. Only Rucka can pull this off, combined with the Lark and Arcas’ excellent renditions of the characters’ respective emotional spectrums. My only significant misgiving here is the medical and scientific jargons that are littered sparingly whenever Forever undergoes “examinations”. But that’s normal trade for serious science fiction genres. Feature But nevertheless, I personally continue to follow this gripping series until the next GoT series comes out next year. This is why Image is in forefront of indie comics publishing. Lazarus (and with other titles like SAGA and SEX CRIMINALS) shows us how comics experience overall should be this GOOD!


 by C. Paul Ramos 

Norby Ela

 
FlipGeeks Operations Editor, Managing Editor of Comics, Komiks, Manga, atbp.


2 Comments


  1.  
    JV

    Nice review and excellent insights! But you seriously need to re-read it for grammatical errors before you publish it.





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