It’s times like these that I’m happy to be as embedded in independent comics as I am. Whether suggested to me by a friend or dug up on my own, these comics are there; the flower in the desert, the diamond in the coal mine, the… third metaphor for something rare and entirely excellent. Seemingly the perfect mixture of amazing artwork, interesting characters, and compelling story, Lazarus is this kind of comic. The kind of comics that keeps bringing me back.

The story: The future is one of deep social inequality. The world is no longer divided by national or political boundaries, but rather by families and the land they control. A select few serve these families and the rest are labeled waste, the 99.99 percent living in extreme poverty. In the families however, one person is given all that the family has to offer; training, weapons, and every advantage, both mechanical and biological. That family member is known as the Lazarus. And the Lazarus of the Carlyle family is named Tomorrow.

Lazarus_panel_4In the first four issues, we are introduced to the Carlyle family and their struggle with the neighboring Morray family.  The families clash over foodstuffs, genetically enhanced crops, and possession of military tech. But, a recent incident at a storage facility has Tomorrow’s brother Jonah chomping at the bit to go to war. Following her father’s orders, Tomorrow leaves to meet with the Morray family and act as the voice of the Carlyle family, hoping to strike a deal and avoid war. It is on her return journey that her brother Jonah chooses to tip the scales, and a secret is revealed to Tomorrow about her family.

Admittedly, this is my first real experience with Greg Rucka’s writing. However, the first few pages of Lazarus got my attention, and I now feel I can appreciate his number of awards and nominations.  The first thing that struck me about the series was the kind of detail in the description of the science behind Tomorrow’s biological abilities. Whether it’s scientists discussing Tomorrow’s enhancements or her injuries, it’s clear that a large amount of research was done to make characters dialogue accurate and believable.

Lazarus_panel_1The characters are extremely detailed and their actions feel true to life. Perhaps most fascinating are the little things that are said or shown to us referencing the world outside the compounds of the privileged families.The details in troop movements, genetically modified strains of crops, the lives of those labeled waste all hint at a world bigger than what the reader sees and add weight to the things Tomorrow has to deal with and the choices she is forced to make. It also adds further implications to the things that Tomorrow discovers after meeting Joacquim, the Morray family’s Lazarus.

But the writing is only half the reason to love this series. Artist Michael Lark transports us to a world of violence, vast inequality, and a world shaped by a ongoing war for natural resources.  Perhaps most intriguing of all is the manner in which Tomorrow is illustrated. Perhaps it’s the muscle definition, posture, or her facial expressions (though it’s most likely all the above), but Tomorrow Carlyle definitely looks the part. She is a young and physically capable character, but rather than being sexualized, the characters design shows what someone of her training and capabilities would more realistically look like.  Straight backed, disciplined, and muscular, Tomorrow contrasts not only with other characters in Lazarus, but with her contemporaries in other series.

Lazarus_panel_7And the violence. Oh, the violence. The series opens with a particularly brutal fight showcasing Tomorrows skills and abilities granted her by training and bio-tech enhancements. Befitting of the title, Tomorrow is able to come back from the brink of death; the families special cocktail of endorphins and nanobots jumpstarting her recovery and healing. Even under extreme duress, Tomorrow is fast and ferociously efficient, able to take on multiple opponents at once. And it’s this this power and fluidity of motion that Lark captures perfectly for the series.

Between the story, the writing, and the artwork, there’s very little that isn’t amazing with this series.  Honestly the biggest problem that I have with the series is that is only comes out once a month. But because of this, it’s an easy series to pick up and read.  From bioengineering and mechanical reconstruction to geo-societal intrigue and sword v. gun battles, if you’re into all things science fiction, or even only *some* things science fiction, Lazarus is the series for you.

Overall Score
95 %

Story 95%
Writing 95%
Art 95%

About The Author

Long time fan of comic books, video games, and movies. Zander is often no where to be found because he's marathoning movies and tv shows or playing video games till all hours of the night as most disillusioned twenty-somethings are wont to do. Polar opposites are the game: action/comedies and dramas, FPS games and turn-based strategy, science fiction and historical fiction. Why pick one thing when there are so many good things?

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