Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s Lazarus was probably my favorite new series of 2013, and it’s about time I got around to reviewing an issue. The series, set in a dystopian future where a handful of families control the world in a high-tech feudal society, is a great blend of intrigue, action, and speculative fiction. Though the sixth issue (part two of the current arc) is one of the slowest of the series so far, it’s still a solid piece in the evolving story of Forever Carlyle, and a glimpse at this still-new fictional world.
Forever is the Lazarus of the Family Carlyle, which means she has been trained from birth (such as it is) to be the Family’s weapon, bodyguard, and assassin, all at once. Not everyone sees her as a person, so much as a tool. As happens with this kind of story, as well, Forever is perpetually caught between Family loyalty and her own sense of right and wrong. She can heal from severe wounds, even near death. I like her.
New to this arc is a detailed look at a few families of Waste, members of the unwashed masses who do not have the privilege of being serfs under one of the families. A devastating flood has wiped out what little land they had, and they are left a difficult choice between huge debt and a huge gamble on the upcoming Lift, where Waste are selected to be elevated to a better position. Considering that this aspect of life in the Lazarus world was only hinted at in the first arc, getting a better look at it is a treat, and I am eager to see this story collide with Forever’s.
Of course, this is one of those series that adds a bit of extra fluff after the main story for those that buy the issues – details on Families we have yet to see in the story, from history and lines of succession to “vintage” ads from the companies they were before the catastrophe that left the world this way. Plus, Rucka’s meditations on modern science and how not-so-distant some of the things in Lazarus really are.
I have nothing but good things to say about this series as a whole, though this issue is not the best jumping on point for a number of reasons. Current readers will likely be pleased with the continued development; new readers might be better served backtracking an issue at least to get the start of the arc, or better yet, the trade paperback of the first arc.
Population [Stars]: 4 (out of 5)