Forever Carlyle is one of the most deeply developed and interesting characters in all of comics. Issue #8 of Lazarus continues to dig deeper into Forever’s psyche and also into the lives of those on the way to see if they measure up to the Carlyle family during the all important “Lift”.
Official description from IMAGE:
Forever calls on the Daggers. The Barrets reach the final stage of their journey as all threads converge on Denver for the Lift.
Writer Greg Rucka has a classic story on his hands with a strong female protagonist and a sub-culture sub-plot that could easily carry the entire series on it’s own. Luckily Rucka has created Forever and since the beginning of the second story arc has gone back to Forever’s childhood and intense training. Really, both being one in the same. Since then it feels as though the only true family in her life is her teacher and unfortunate future opponent Marisol. Marisol dreads the day when Forever will no longer need her love and support because her father doesn’t seem capable or willing to pick up that mantle. It’s been a heartbreaking series of flashback and issue #8 is no different.
In the current time line Forever is on the trail of a terrorist organization called “Free” and once she encounters them head on, it is no picnic for the would be organization. As with most of Forever’s assaults lives are lost blood is shed but she keeps those alive long enough who can help lead her in the right direction. Her goal is direct; find the bomb and stop it, and she is a master at targeting the end goal. It shows Forever’s tactical ability and her investigative skills on full display. She is the total package and knowing her backstory piece by piece humanizes her for the reader. She’s simply not a robotic killing machine but a protector with drive and an underlying sense of responsibility to not only her family but those who are mere causalities of circumstance.
Rucka also has opened up the world of the “waste” on their way to Denver and the “Lift” and focuses on the harsh conditions they face for even a chance to improve their social standing in the Carlyle family. Last issue ended in tragedy, and complete shock, for Joe and Bobbie Barret’s daughter Leigh and this issue we get to focus on Michael who demonstrates well before the groups arrives to Denver that he has the skills necessary to catch the eye of the Carlyle family. Michael is a great character but he is selfless and honest which might hinder his chances later. The beauty of this part of the story is that when Michael is offered an opportunity to train and increase his medical skill set all he asks for in return is a new pair of glasses. Rucka clearly spells out the road is difficult and the rewards simplistic but of great importance.
Michael Lark’s work, is as usual, outstanding and his use of hard shadows and edges spells out the toughness of the characters and their environment. Details are sparse but Lark’s incredible strength at defining those details through light and dark is all this story needs to sell the grit of a dystopic world. The cover is easily one of the best so far with the propaganda style poster heeding the call to duty. It’s an amazing fit for the heart and soul of the message within this title.
In the end Rucka puts the danger squarely in the “waste” camp and sends the reader into a frenzy of dramatic tension. Lazarus is an Image title that Rucka was born to do. He has a strong knack for the dirt and grime which oddly gives the book life and hope. This makes for strange bedfellows but Rucka and Lark hit the mark every single issue. Now that the “waste” have been not only given a face but heart and drive equally as fierce of Forever Carlyle. Lazarus is a don’t miss book and once you get hooked you’ll be starving for more.