Friday, June 20, 2014

Guest Review - Lazarus TPB Vol. 1

   David Wright returns for one more Guest Review as part of the team covering while Chuck takes a short break.

   Lazarus TPB, Vol. 1 by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark.

   Image has published the first four issues of the ongoing Sci-Fi story, Lazarus. It also contains a four-page prelude to the story that ran in Previews, which sets the stage for this near-futuristic world.   

   It's a bleak, dystopian story told by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark, and both have done well at their world building. Like the comic Saga, there's not a lot of set up to the story. The reader is just thrust into the world, and you learn what sort of world it is as the story unfolds. I can only assume you'll learn more about the world as the story continues as I still have a lot of unanswered questions. 

   In the future the world is ruled over by just a few wealthy families. They all have their own land areas, and enforce their own laws to the Waste (the average citizens), their own militia enforces laws, and at the head of each cartel or family is a Lazarus. The Lazarus, although treated as one of their own family members, is genetically grown and has super human abilities. They have fast healing characteristics (although presumably can be killed), and yet, are still not considered a true biological member of the family (at least in Forever's case).  

   Forever Carlyle is the Lazarus for the Carlyle clan. The father, Malcolm Carlyle, is the head of the Carlyle family, he has two sons, Steve and Jonah (who is a hothead). There are also three daughters: Beth, Joanna and Forever (their Lazarus).  

   In the first book we see that even though each ruling family has their own territories or domains, things are not peaceful. There is a raid on a Carlyle compound for goods by the Morray family, and Forever Carlyle is sent to control the situation. She gets hurt in the skirmish, and we learn of her healing factors, but also about the dysfunctional Carlyle family. Not only do the families of the world fight each other for power and control, but there is bickering and backstabbing within the Carlyle family as well. 

   In book two, Forever has been sent for diplomacy and peacekeeping between the Carlyle and the Morray family. She offers to set up a trade relationship between the two families as a compromise. She is met by their male Lazarus, Joacquim. In the past they have met before, they seem to have a good (maybe even romantic) relationship, yet under the surface are programmed to dispatch whatever it takes (even killing each other) if things get out of hand.  

   We also learn the treachery and scheming between Johan and his sister, Joanna. The peace talks go well, and Joacquim accompanies Forever back to neutral territory assuring her safe return home. They stop to share a drink in the desert before she continues onward, but are waylaid by an explosion.

   So from the beginning we see it's an unstable world full of treachery, deceit and the power of corruption. Who is to be trusted in such a world? The children of the Carlyle family are pampered spoiled brats, some are more than willing it seems to kill off their own father or each other if the situation arises.  

   Someone has set up Forever and Joacquim for termination, but who and why? One of the daughters, Beth, has set up a plot to get rid of her brother, Jonah. As book four ends, we learn that Forever's father may not even be her real father - is this the truth or another lie?  

   This is the world of Lazarus. The art by Lark is moody and well suited for the Sci-Fi setting.  It's a complex, compelling read, with many layers, and I'm curious to know where Rucka and Lark are going with it.  

Grade:  B+


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