LAZARUS by Greg Rucka Volume 1

Comprised of the series first four issues, this debut volume written by Greg Rucka, and illustrated by Michael Lark with the colors done by Santi Arcas, is a dystopian science fiction story that definitely holds promises. 

I actually liked it even if it's only a hundred pages long. My review for this graphic novel collection is positive enough although I can't say yet what is in store for the rest of the series, seeing as the four issues of Lazarus felt like watching a pilot for a TV show. With that comparison, I believe these issues hold enough weight on their own both as separate installments and as a singular story that unfolds efficiently well. Action-packed and well-balanced when it comes to exposition and dialogue, Lazarus: Family is something readers can easily consume in one sitting but it's also a substantial serving which would make them come back for more.

Speaking of TV pilots, this series might actually be adapted for a television show, and based from what I have seen so far, I think it would work well. The plot of the story focuses on a futuristic setting where capitalism is the dominating status quo that had abolished real governments across the world. The wealthy and privileged reign as supreme rulers and each city in the states is governed by a 'Family' while the rest are deemed as Waste (not even kidding, it's that blunt). Essentially, the modern world reverted back to a brutal age when elitist rich families are considered the most valuable while everyone else are cattle and slaves. How demeaning is it that after that much progress humans societies have made throughout history that the shift of power had only moved back from what was once considered ancient and barbaric? But I digress. I can actually see this future happening someday because of frighteningly good reasons when you consider the widening chasm and disparity growing between the rich and the poor even to this day.

Now the heart of this socio-political is our protagonist Forever Carlyle, who serves as the 'Lazarus' of the Carlyle family. As the namesake implies, she can never die and can come back from any method of killing or death. She's reserved and obedient, but also quite inquisitive and kind. Forever (or Eve) had started asking questions about her purpose and calling which is something her 'siblings' and the man she calls 'father' are not so thrilled about. The first four issues delved in the beginnings of Rucka's world-building where the Carlyle family has some strained relationships with other feuding families from across the state lines and within their own parameters of territory. There is enough betrayal and deceit to go around with, and characters who will become main players for the narrative are fleshed-out enough to compel readers to look forward to their roles and participation in the future.

I get this vibe that Lazarus will have the sensibilities of The Sopranos and Game of Thrones since it is about the privileged families who are also engaged in organized crime. I think it's not a bad direction to go for, and I'd be interested to learn how Rucka would pull it off in the next installments. Lark's illustrations are detailed and particularly enjoyable to look at especially with scenes that have a weight of importance. I like the way each panels are positioned not only during action sequences but also during the quieter moments. Colorist Arcas had employed rather dark colors for his palette, but they worked exceptionally well to deliver the atmosphere of prejudice and power struggle which the characters are engaged in.

Overall, this is an impressive debut series with a satisfying first arc and a tantalizing heroine to match it. I definitely look forward to the other volumes in the series!



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