Group Review: Lazarus #1

Greg Rucka is yet another big name in comics that’s taken to Image to make a creator owned book. Lazarus has had a ton of previews and information surrounding it, but not exactly hype. Well, we decide to come together as a group and cover the first issue meaning that each of the writers/reviews will give their opinion on the book. They also give it a score of: Buy, Borrow or Pass… but you’ll probably read that part first. Here’s Image had to say about the book before we begin: FAMILY,' Part One In a dystopian near-future government is a quaint concept, resources are coveted, and possession is 100% of the law. A handful of Families rule, jealously guarding what they have and exploiting the Waste who struggle to survive in their domains. Forever Carlyle defends her family's holdings through deception and force as their protector, their Lazarus. Shot dead defending the family home, Forever's day goes downhill from there….

lazarus01_coverDustin: Buy

I’m telling you to buy this, not as a fan of Greg Rucka’s writing, but from experience. The thing is that every Rucka first issue paints the picture of knowing where it’s going. It’s easy to guess or assume what’s going to happen next due to the set up in the first issue. Some of it might even happen, but I know from experience that Rucka will let you drop your guard and then hit you with a semi-truck.

The complex infrastructure that Rucka has built that is both imaginative and yet ripe with social commentary is a great back drop. Our remorseless killer that’s growing a conscious is a great character to begin the journey with and I look forward to her betrayal and revenge that’s sure to be like no other.

I did not love this first issue, but I did like it. I liked it enough to buy it myself and recommend that others buy it. It may not hit with the audience right away, but I grantee that you’ll begin to see murmurs of the issue from creators, critics and fans alike until suddenly you’ve missed out on a great series that started here in what appeared to be an average first issue.

Steve: Borrow

After one of the strongest openings I’ve seen in some time, Lazarus doesn’t, for me, do anything other than settle into fairly clinical storytelling. It’s not that I’m not interested in this world; in fact, with all its talk of “family,” this sort of feels like what would happen if the mafia dynamic was allowed to evolve and dominate the world.  Probably the most captivating dialogue at play in this book is given voice at the end of the story when the woman named Forever - immortal warrior-protector of Family Carlyle - must make an example of an innocent family man, but not in the tainted way the rulers of this world use the word.

Unfortunately, you can pretty much tell where this series is going and where the main character’s currently confused and increasingly disenfranchised loyalties will eventually fall. The art from Lark isn’t bad, but Arcas’ colors muddy its impact. It’s a bit too dark and bland for my liking. Although some might argue that’s the point, it mutes otherwise pretty gorgeous stuff. In the end, I say check Lazarus out, but just borrow it from someone who doesn’t mind if a book feels like every other post-apocalypse story out there.

Carl: Pass

You know Greg Rucka.  He wrote the comic White Out.  In this book he teams with Michael Lark and Santi Arcas to deliver this Science Fiction romp.  Set in a future where wealthy families control things (not too far off from the real world, eh?), and each family has a protector.

Our story focuses on Forever.  Yeah, that’s her name unfortunately.  And if you remember your CCD classes, Lazarus was the one who Jesus rose from the dead.  IN the opening pages, Forever (aka Eve) gets shot up.  The comic ends and the story is over.

Naw, I’m just fooling you.  If that were the case, then we’d have a serious management problem on a Liefield scale over at Image comics.  Eve gets up and levels her attackers akin to Summer Glau knocking around the baddies on Firefly.

Throw in some leering support characters and a conspiracy against the family, and you have a story that feels like its emulating Dune.  The ending of the comic needs a shot of narrative Viagra because it ends limper than a, well…   Finish the damn analogy yourself.

There’s an interesting concept delivered in Lazarus.  Unfortunately, that’s all in the inside cover summary.  You can skip this one.  If you do decide to skim through it, take some time to appreciate the artwork, which is crisp and conceptualized.  Otherwise, leave Lazarus dead in the tomb.

Lazarus Variant 1Samantha: Borrow

Although the base line of this story being corruption and one powerful person taking a stand isn’t anything new, the overall story is interesting. It is a very graphic depiction of a universe ruled by rich families. Usually history repeats itself and in this case slavery is the history which is coming back. I always find it interesting when all the power is held by few people.

Forever is built like a brick house and she is clearly feeling something for these people. My only concern is what makes her different than her family. I can’t tell if they take drugs to keep them from feeling compassion or if they are really just that big of assholes. I would hope it is more than that because there can’t just be one person out of all these families that feels guilty for ruling over the world.

All in all I think this issue is a “borrow” because it wasn’t all that new of a concept. I will see where the story goes but if it doesn’t pick up into something that I haven’t seen before I don’t know if I can get into another Bug’s Life movie story.

Connor: Buy

Whenever starting a new series I put a lot of weight on the first issue. This is the introduction into the world of the artists and storytellers, they want to bring us in and show why their creation is so amazing and when done wrong it can be the thing that breaks something new before it really starts.

This is a first issue that I really enjoyed and I'm interested in what will happen next with this world. Enough of the characters are shown to make me curious and the art which is done by Michael Lark is just amazing to look at. Seriously guys get on it and check it out. I have a strong feeling this will appeal to a large number of people.

Sergio: Borrow

I've never had a book that I liked and disliked so much. Greg Rucka did a great job with the overall story, he's actually one of my favorite writers and has been since I got into comics, but there were a few minor details that irritated me because if how cliché they felt. The idea of being one of a select few who is a killing machine but you're the only one of the group who has emotions is a bit played out. Same goes with regenerative powers. I've read enough X-titles so thank you very much, but I get how that all works. It was pretty cool that Rucka included the San Joaquin Valley since his wife and I are from the same home town of Fresno California (559 REPRESENT!!!)... Ok that was kind of lame. The art is what really hooked me in. It had a very Walking Dead style to it if the Walking Dead was in color. There are a few pages that are a literal slaughter sequence and it was just done very well. When all is said and done this book definitely deserves a look but this is a bog week so if you do happen to miss it doesn't beat yourself up because I'm sure you will still be able to get a copy before issue #2 comes out.

Score: 3 Borrows, 2 Buys and a Pass

Writer: Greg Rucka

Artist: Michael Lark

Publisher: Image Comics

Price: $2.99

Release Date: 6/26/13