Comic Vine Review

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Lazarus #4 - Family, Part Four Review

5

"Forever's a big girl. She can take care of herself."

The Good

It's difficult to pick up after an explosive, presume-at-least-some-main-characters-are-dead cliffhanger and carry on the momentum and excitement without missing a beat. But LAZARUS does it seamlessly, with the precision and fierceness of its heroine. Following last month's explosion is this month's fallout, but it's anything but a lull. This may be the most action-packed issue of the series yet; and while the punches pulled and flights from scenes are impressive, it's the emotional tension that continues to drive LAZARUS forward.

Greg Rucka knows precisely when and how to throw a primetime-drama-worthy moment into the mix, and Johanna's particularly calculating brand of duplicity juices up the story in a major way. It's brilliant, because we don't know whose interests Johanna is really looking out for -- besides her own, of course. Is she making Jonah a scapegoat to allow him a chance to escape (as she tells him), or is she purely self-preserving, and throwing her twin into the lion's den to stay spotless herself? I'm eager to see whether she's truly conniving or just an opportunist in light of the failed initiative.

The alternating panels depicting Johanna's orders to Mason and Forever's orders to her attackers are brilliantly choreographed. The violence occurs in sync, the determination of both Carlyle women is palpable, and both leave the sequence victorious -- for now. It's an intense juxtaposition, because we're cheering for Forever and resenting Johanna, but both women (or their creators, rather -- much credit to Rucka and Lark for excellent scripting and execution here) knock these scenes out of the park.

Also notable about this issue: we peel back a layer (literally) on the Morray Lazarus, Joacquim. His face, partially torn off, reveals a Terminator-like metal skull. It's haunting, because we know that Forever is the same way, and that both of them still have feelings and lives and some shred of humanity, but they're not completely human anymore. Given Bethany's comments and the mysterious email at the end of the issue, it's also entirely plausible that they weren't ever human.

The Verdict

LAZARUS continues to be a stand-out, must-pull series. There's no lag in the narrative, no slips in the choreography; it's just compelling storytelling with beautiful illustrations and more drama than anything you'll see on network tv during the daytime. As Rucka and Lark continue to build out their world, it becomes more dangerous, more interesting, more real. The science falls very much in the could-be-happening-now or could-be-happening-soon categories, and the more we learn about how Forever and the other Lazari work, the more chilling it is. All of this is mixed into a setting rife with power struggles, secrets, and attempted coups, and nothing feels contrived; LAZARUS is just playing in an entirely different league than most comics on the shelves right now. If you're waiting for the trade, you're missing out. This one gets the pull-every-month endorsement.

15 Comments
Edited by Hancock89

Nice review, Jen. This comic is breathtaking, truly a must-read. It's not often I get this excited to pick up and read a new issue. The wonderful thing about this issue, and this comic in general, is that(at least so far) there's no panel or interaction that feels superfluous. This was worth every penny.

And with new comics like ''Pretty Deadly'' and ''Velvet'' dropping later this month, Image Comics will certainly solidify its dominion over my pull-list.

Posted by MissJ

Image is totally winning my pull list.

Staff
Posted by Hancock89

@missj said:

Image is totally winning my pull list.

Here here!!

Posted by iaconpoint

My comic shop owner pushed me to read Lazarus and man that was the correct call! This book is truely an amazing read and leaves you wanting more. And who'd have thought Image would suddenly have such an impact on pull lists everywhere? With this one, Fatale, Satellite Sam, the two @hancock89: mentioned and such a growing list they have come far since the forgettable 90's.

Posted by CaptainHoopla

Another excellent issue and easily my favorite book each month. Very excited for the next arc as it's supposed to dive into the Waste and their place and opinions in the world. The bad, there is no issue next month, it's going to be a long wait. The first trade does release so anyone interested can get caught up before the next issue. I highly recommend this book and as Jen stated, I think it reads better in single issue form. Excellent cliffhanger's and ends that make you want to know more and be excited for the next issue.

Posted by longbowhunter

Great review. Jen hit on all the points I loved. Michael Lark's fight scenes were insanely well done. I swear I could hear bones breaking and metal rending armor to get to flesh. The double cross by Johanna I did not see coming. It was great seeing Jonah get the screws put to him. I can't help but think we're trading the devil we know for one we don't here.

Edited by _Marc_74

cant wait to read but thought another week in uk and then end of month due to how my subscriptions work

Posted by gunmetalgrey

His face, partially torn off, reveals a Terminator-like metal skull. It's haunting, because we know that Forever is the same way

We don't really know that though. Who's to say all of them (Lazaruses? Lazari?) are built the same? Bethany and James were using all sorts of medical jargon, so it's safe to say that at least Forever is still mostly, if not all, organic.

Edited by MissJ

@gunmetalgrey: I think they're all hybrids. Joacquim had flesh on top of the metal skull, and we've seen parts of Eve that don't behave like normal human organs.

Staff
Posted by ArmaX

Lazarus is soooo good! The art + story = amazing. Can't wait for the new arc!

Edited by Hancock89
@iaconpoint said:

My comic shop owner pushed me to read Lazarus and man that was the correct call! This book is truely an amazing read and leaves you wanting more. And who'd have thought Image would suddenly have such an impact on pull lists everywhere? With this one, Fatale, Satellite Sam, the two @hancock89: mentioned and such a growing list they have come far since the forgettable 90's.

Yeah they've really become an indispensable source of indie comics. They also seem to provide a very pleasant environment for their writers and artists. Right now from Image I'm reading: Lazarus, Saga, East of West, Sheltered, Fatale, Invincible. And upcoming: Pretty Deadly, Velvet.

Hell, I'm even considering giving 'Rocket Girl' a try. :)

Posted by _Marc_74

dropped from my list. bored