Where to begin. This is one of those issues where there’s a lot going on, but not really anything going on at the same time. Kind of a lead up issue. Of course, we’re talking about Lazarus here, there’s always something going on, but it was a bunch of little things. Nothing really that earth shattering. The kind of goings on that eventually lead to one big “oh crap” moment. So, there’s not a lot going on… at the moment. That’s my initial reaction. Being a huge fan of Rucka’s work on the most recent ongoing series of The Punisher, I saw little similarities in this issue. All positive of course, but the mood just seemed familiar of that series. Greg Rucka writes one heck of a script yet again, and throws in a terrific flashback of some of Forever’s training. It really shows you how impressionable kids are, even biologically altered kids. You read Forever’s dialogue and watch her work in this book, but you never really think of what a childhood would have been like for her. But in this series so far, Greg has done a really good job of dissecting her psyche and laying it out for all to see. Forever travels with Johanna to Central Los Angeles to serve as her bodyguard and investigate rumors of a Freemen Resistance plot. Johanna is trying to rehabilitate her image to the family, but Forever is preoccupied with other family business. The Barrets make a risky decision to leave all that they own behind, and make their way to Denver.
The script is really strong, but you’ve got to be paying attention. Throughout the issue there are little hints of things that could really bring down the momentum of this book. And I don’t mean bring it down in a “this book is starting to get lame” kind of way. I mostly just mean that things are going to change. I foresee future events in this book that are going to make us question the purpose of Forever’s character. And events that are going to make her question her own loyalty to the Carlyle family. We’re already starting to see that something has gotten through the unbreakable barrier that is her very loyal and very thick skin. One specific moment in this issue really makes it clear that she has taken a different route to dealing with family business. She has really become a “sit and watch” type of operative. I assume that she’s trying to make sure that every second of her time spent protecting the Carlyle family physically, is also spent collecting information. She can’t afford to miss anything. And now that she could possibly be suspicious of her so called “family”, she’s really going to have to be on her toes.
Michael Lark has really made this series stand out, for me, anyway. I can’t think about Lazarus without thinking about how it wouldn’t be what it is without him. When two creators work on a creator owned series like this, there really can’t be any mistakes or changes made. If the reader at any time feels like they’ve been taken out of the story because of any unnecessary change, it could be the end of the book altogether. This has become a series that wouldn’t even be the same thing if any other talent got on board. I’ve never been a big fan of books constantly changes hands anyway. I don’t know how long these guys plan on keeping this series going, but I’d like to think that I’d be right in assuming that a creator change of any kind is unlikely.
Now that I’m done kissing this book’s butt (I definitely let my inner fanboy get the best of me here), I can close out by saying that Lazarus should be on everybody’s pull list. I’m not an advocate of telling anyone that they’ll love anything, but give this book a chance. If you like the style of either one of these guys, you can’t lose.
Writer: Greg Rucka Artist: Michael Lark Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 2/5/14