Lazarus is quite clearly the beginning of something big. It tactfully uses the usually empty page behind the cover to quickly set up the world. While this makes for a few short, exposition heavy paragraphs, it does allow the book to get off to a quick start. We are in a world that’s divided not by governments, but families in a style reminiscent of Game of Thrones’ Westeros. People are lumped into three categories that resemble the cast system used during the dark ages; the royalty is consolidated into a single family, while serfs remain the worker bees and a group called the “waste” sit as a collective of everyone else. Each family chooses a member to become its Lazarus, or guardian. The very first time we see Forever “Eve” Carlyle, Lazarus of the Carlyle family and our leading lady, she’s dead, well, almost.
She describes with a cold demeanor the location of every bullet that impacts her then finally shuts her eyes for a little while. Earning her title, she recovers from several fatale blows moments later and easily kills her would be assassins who turn out to be hungry Waste seeking sustenance. This sends a conflicted Forever to the doctor for examination. This scene worked nicely and was a tactful way to navigate an information dump.
A check up later and Forever is clear for duty, though, its clear through ominous dialogue that the doctor is in some how cahoots with others to regulate her moods and thought processes. All of this passes by the highly trained warrior, however, which sends Eve heading home. There she reconvenes with her brother, Jonah, to discuss the attempt on her life. Jonah pushes Forever to believe the assault was done by the rival Morray family, although more heavily ominous dialogue leads us to see it very well could be the early workings of an inner family feud.(Sadly this kind doesn't have Drew Carrey)
The facility in which Forever was attacked was only accessible by certain individuals who were all round up and interrogated. Jonah quickly reminds Forever of their family’s gruesome policy and vehemently pushes her to kill them all unless the traitor does not reveal his or her self. Upon hearing this, one elderly man sacrifices himself. Although the book to this point was slow, there is a fine piece character moment here. Lazarus 1 finally comes to a close with Forever back at the doctor, getting yet another check up after the “unpleasantness”. Despite his prods she insists she’s fine.
Lazarus ends there on a bit of a whimper. The story went fast and I can’t say it felt like much happened although it’s clear that this is a world with lots of moving parts in which much can happen. My one real frustration came with the narration panels. There were no distinguishing marks on any of them. You could tell who was speaking after a moment, but I think that momentary pause breaks the suspension of disbelief and for that the story suffers. If this is a sign of things to come, I may throw Lazarus on my trade wait list. Wait did you think of Lazarus? The new story by Greg Rucka continues tomorrow when issue five hits the stands along with volume one collecting the first four issues.