Stop. Look at the cover of this book. Forget about the intriguing story inside, and just look at that cover. If the words "bad ass" don't come to mind, flip the book over, then flip it back, and then look at the cover again. Tell me for a second that you wouldn't be afraid of that woman, and I'll tell you you're a liar. Michael Lark and Santi Arcas? They're that good.
The interiors are equally dramatic. The prime-time drama feeling is accentuated with carefully-selected angles and evocative faces, and some panels feel like stills from a movie. Deep shadows and a muted, dusty palette (sprinkled with futuristic glows here and there) heighten the intensity of a pressure-cooker of a story.
Said pressure cooker is filled to the brim with characters that beg to be explored further, from the razor-sharp, intensely angry Carlyle Family to their mysterious Lazarus, Forever, to the foreboding Morray clan and the Waste we haven't seen much of yet. Greg Rucka has dreamed up a juicy story within the Carlyle set alone; it's almost enough to stand on its own -- but then there's the much larger interplay between the Families, and the even bigger situation with the Serfs and the Waste. Suffice it to say that we're in for a LOT with this book.
As with the first issue, there's a delightful mix of science in the narrative -- last time, we learned a little bit about how Forever's physiology worked; this time, it's hints of medicine and agricultural science. The key to making a futuristic story feel more real is having science that sounds like it works, and Rucka is nailing this. Mentions of future-tech are subtle and cursory, rather than textbook-like, and they fit seamlessly into the dialogue.
And Forever? She's scary good. Part Beatrix Kiddo, part Jason Bourne. I cannot wait to see where things go next -- her fearless step into Morray territory just ratcheted things up about twelve notches, and I am dying for a Lazarus-on-Lazarus battle.
The pacing on this issue is just a hitch slower than the first, and lighter on action. I can't wait to see Forever deploy some of her Lazarus moves again -- presumably next issue -- so, while this slice of family drama was definitely intriguing, it'll be nice to see more bullets, blades, and badassery.
LAZARUS is a soap opera. A violent, dystopic soap opera. Two issues in, it's brimming with potential for an explosive story steeped in clan drama and class warfare. I'm searching for something else on the stands to compare it to, and coming up blank. I'm calling this a must-pull; "sleeper hit" is not good enough for this series.