arc provided by Image Comics through Netgalley
In this dystopian future a few Families rule entire sections of land. If you're not part of a Family, you're a Serf, or Waste.
The reader is dropped unceremoniously into this world - enough is revealed to follow the story along, but there is not much in the way of background. I suppose this will come in later issues? I, for one, would like a few questions answered like, "How did these events come to pass?" or "Exactly how was Forever made?" I mean, I get it was in a lab, and she doesn't look like her "siblings" - but what genetic material was used? That of her "parents"? If so why isn't she really considered their daughter? Because of what she is? And even if the genetic material doesn't come from her "parents"... they raised her, I assume? So... back to why they don't consider her a "daughter", especially since her "father" keeps claiming she's his best child.
Also kind of weak how the father complained about having had four children and none of them came out the way he wanted them to be. What? An invulnerable killing machine? Because he seemed pretty normal, is his wife the Terminator? If not, maybe he should be given "the talk"...
Quibbles aside, Lazarus is an extremely good action novel. I loved how Forever - and all the other ladies in it - aren't stereotypical graphic novel females. They're normal characters with reasonable feelings, and an agenda of their own.
The whole Carlysle family was creepy, the interactions between the siblings... What is going on there?! But this is a good "what?" because it shows how messed up these people are.
In fact, the whole concept of family explored in the novel was incredibly well achieved. The members of the Family don't act as one in any way other than by name, in contrast, members of the Waste readily show what family is really about:
Which brings me to the amazing artwork. Seriously, it was dark and gritty, yet each character was immediately identifiable. The whole plot, by itself, leaves too many questions unanswered but with the artwork the reader is willing to let these go (for now). It's really a thing of beauty.
So, 4.5 stars out of 5, and I'll be looking forward to vol. 2!
Gerg Rucka's official site
Michael Lark's page at the comic book database
Buy Lazarus, vol. 1
@ The Book Depository (with free worldwide delivery!)