Story by Greg Rucka
Art by Michael Lark with Tyler Boss
Review by Mara Wood
He did it on purpose. Hock picked Sonja because he knows you have becomes friends…
Lazarus is a complex story following Forever Carlyle, the Lazarus of the Carlyle family. Bred to be an indestructible fighting machine, Forever was denied the pleasures of a normal childhood. She is completely loyal to her family, and her goals are those of her father’s.
Her father, Malcolm Carlyle, accuses Jakob Hock of the Hock family of murdering his son Johan Carlyle. Hock demands a Trial by Combat to prove his innocence. This decision was not made lightly; Hock was fully aware of the blossoming friendship between Forever and Sonja Bittner.
One of the most intriguing aspects of Lazarus is the world building. Families have carved up the world between each other and run massive corporations. Alliances are made for money and protection. Hock’s relationship with the Bittner family was breaking apart; he knew of the plans for Bittner to ally with Carlyle. He knew Forever and Sonja had become close. He knew that a Lazarus does not make friends easily, especially those outside of her family. This decision to call a Trial by Combat and select Sonja Bittner as his champion is a cruel demonstration of Hock’s capacity for evil.
Issue 15 concentrates mostly upon the stress of the combat. The build-up to this moment is important; readers have seen Forever in action, seen her relationship with her family, seen her childhood, and witness her connect with the Lazarus from other families. The combat with Sonja has the potential to undo any social strides Forever made while at the Conclave. During the fight, there is no inner monologue, not insight into Forever’s feelings as she and her friend hack away at each other. Readers must rely on Lark’s ability to convey thoughts through facial expressions and body language. It is as if the reader is in the audience: Both women are equal matches, and no one can tell who will win.
As a whole, the 15th issue in this spectacular series highlights why people read this comic. Intricate world-building coupled with complex politics, family drama, and subtle character interactions are all present in this one fight scene. The pacing is stressful, and the pages of absolutely no words or dialogue makes the action appears as if in a vacuum. As usual, Lazarus ends with a thoughtful, informative letters column that supplements the information in the issue.
Buy! Rucka and Lark are an incredible team, and Lazarus is evidence of a writer/artist partnership that syncs up perfectly.