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Lazarus Volume 1 Paperback – October 22, 2013
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Although the creative team of Rucka and Lark (Gotham Central) is enough to bring comics fans to their new project, Lazarus, the dense cyberpunk Mafia world will keep them coming back to the comic racks for weeks to come. Rucka crafts the story of a world shattered into fiefdoms and controlled by high-tech Mob families. Each family has their very own “Lazarus,” a cybernetic warrior pledged to carry out the family’s dirty work on their path to control their population. Our protagonist is the Lazarus and daughter of the Carlyle family, Forever “Eve” Carlyle, who appears to have far more depth than her role as coldhearted killer would initially suggest. The more information Rucka unfurls about the political dealings of each family, the more it becomes scattered with betrayal, power struggles, and corruption. Lark’s sharp yet brooding art manages to be violent without becoming gratuitous, pulling back for the sake of tension and the movement of the story. Fans of Rucka and Lark’s Gotham Central or Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Sleeper will enjoy this rich universe. --Ben Spanner
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With a intriguing mixture of power, strength, and vulnerability, Forever Carlyle defends her family with a single-minded devotion. But she can’t ignore the mystery of her origins, or the tangled struggle for power both inside her family and between her family and the others that rule the world.
Gritty art, realistic color, and deft design bring to life a grim world, with complex characters and rules. We follow not just Forever, but her siblings, her serfs, her rivals, her lover, and the Waste as they struggle to survive. People die. People suffer. People are cruel and mean and they lie. And they love. Forever, for all her strength, is still young of mind, almost naive. The plot concerns her exploration of the world and her place (coming of age) as she faces dangers both inside and outside her family. The writers don’t shy away from dark topics and this gives the story a riveting tension.
If you enjoy stories with strong female characters, twisting plots, dark and dynamic art, gritty world-building, and blood, then this is the story for you.
I won't get too much into plotlines that have already been adequately reviewed. The setting is sci-fi, set in in a future United States/Mexico in the aftermath of an unknown (to the reader) ecological or wartime disaster that has taken place. New nation-states have been created, reminiscent of the Tim Sale run on Grendel Grendel: Devil's Reign (Grendel (Graphic Novels)), battling over scarce resources.
Some of the other reviews fault the plot development of the series, feeling it is too slow. I found just the opposite, with good pacing setting the book up as a true "novel". Rucka's writing is strong enough that you don't need a lot to happen in each issue, and there is no reason to rush when you can stop and smell both the dialogue and artistic roses along the way.
While Lark's artwork lines may be a little too "scratchy" for some, the book has a good overall look to it, and he is dead on with facial expressions and other nuances that compliment Rucka's writing beautifully. Can't wait to see it unfold, 4 1/2 stars, an easy pick-up at this price.