Greg Rucka surgically introduces us to the world of Lazarus using the voice of a coroner relaying an autopsy. Collaborating with Rucka on the project is Michael Lark. Lark’s gritty artwork with large bursts of light from the barrel of a revolver followed by blood spraying out of the silhouetted female body paint a gruesome picture to accompany Rucka’s emotionless medical monologue. The reader is sucked in from page one.
Lark’s artwork is so powerful throughout the book there are full sequences where Rucka allows Lark to do the storytelling. Lark’s action sequence is just as good as his first page. The characters’ facial expressions are extremely detailed conveying the emotions the characters are feeling whether it is shock, determination or the last gasps of life. A panel that does this exceptionally well is a close-up of the heroine’s eyes. (You can’t miss it!) The amount of blood and the detail Lark takes to show the blood spatter not only on the characters but also on the floor make the harshness of the world apparent.
Not only does the art give the reader a sense of the type of world we are in, but the coloring used by Santi Arcas just adds to the believability of the world and its ruthless nature. The art and coloring is fantastic, but Rucka’s story is truly excellent.
The reader makes a connection with Forever Carlyle straight from the beginning. She is regretful and questioning, unsure of the momentous choices she has taken. Attempting to push her in a certain direction are her brother, Jonah, and the family doctor, James. The relationship Forever has with her family is almost complete dedication; she is devoted to them. This devotion leads her to investigate an attack on one of her family’s facilities by a rival family, the Morray.
The investigation further highlights the moral dilemma she is experiencing — whether her actions are right or wrong. It also highlights the political and socioeconomic world Rucka has been building where a certain class of people are treated as aptly as their name, Waste. Ultimately Forever makes a tough decision, but will that decision eat away at her already vulnerable conscience?
Rucka, Lark and Arcas’ dystopian future in Lazarus is filled with peril, desperation, violence, political intrigue, and moral dilemma and the three weave them together making for a compelling opening book. Rucka doesn’t even leave the reader with a cliffhanger, but definitely has them (and me) wanting more of Forever and Lazarus. This is a definite must read.
Lazarus drops us into a dystopian world rife with political intrigue, violence and a heroine with a conscience. Stunning artwork combined with a gripping story have readers wanting more.