Review: Lazarus (Vol 1) by Greg Rucka & Michael Lark

LazarusGreg Rucka’s run on DETECTIVE COMICS in the early 2000s was seminal, and his subsequent work on titles such as THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, WOLVERINE, THE PUNISHER and WONDER WOMAN pushed him into the highest echelon of mainstream comic writers. His independent comics work – QUEEN & COUNTRY and STUMPTOWN in particular – accentuated his status, and early signs indicate that LAZARUS is going to cement him there for ever.

Versatility is an underrated quality in a writer and Greg Rucka has it in spades. Not only is he a master of two mediums – check out his  Atticus Kodiak prose  series if you’re looking for some Jack Reacher-esque action – but his narratives, despite often sharing similar themes (a strong female lead chief among them) there’s a clear disparity between each one. LAZARUS is nothing like Rucka’s other comics work – but it nevertheless feels very much like a Rucka-penned tale, which is definitely a positive.

Volume One of LAZARUS introduces us to the new world. We don’t when this is taking place or how the world came to be so messed up – perhaps that information will trickle down over time, perhaps not, it’s not really the point – but what we do know is that the world is now divided by financial power players. Wealthy families define geographic boundaries, and in each family there is a Lazarus – a warrior – who is a tangible representation of the each family’s financial capability. LAZARUS is the story about the lazarus from the Carlyle Family. Her name is Forever – and from the very beginning we discover she has doubts about her imposed destiny; doubts that will likely fester throughout the series (the length of which is so far undetermined, readers beware; you might be in for five volumes or 35!).

Rucka is partnered by an art team consisting of Michael Lark and Santi Arcas, who have worked in tandem to create something very special indeed. Lark has a realistic style, which makes LAZARUS easily digestible for those unfamiliar with graphic storytelling. The page layouts are simple but effective – this might be some of Lark’s best work since his run on DAREDEVIL for Marvel Comics in the mid-2000s.

This first volume of LAZARUS serves as a solid introduction to the chief characters and the world they inhabit, and comes highly recommended.

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