Let me preface this review by declaring loudly and proudly that I love Greg Rucka . He was one of my favorite authors when I began reading superhero comics, and his run on Wonder Woman is still not to be missed. His work is intelligent, his characters and worlds display a depth that is often lacking outside of literature, and he makes big ideas accessible.
So, now you know exactly where I stand on Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s Lazarus: Book 1.
For those not already in the know, Lazarus takes place in a future in which the wealthiest families have divvied up the world. They keep a stranglehold on all resources—and therefore the rest of the population. Where Lazarus diverges form your run-of-the-mill dystopian tale (or the news, or The Communist Manifesto) is in its main character, Forever Carlyle. See, each of these families needs a personal protector—someone they heavily invest in, someone who is utterly loyal and highly deadly, someone who cannot die.
Forever Carlyle may have been engineered to be the Carlyle Family’s military personified, but she’s still a person. That’s what makes her so compelling. You get glimpses of how she has been taught to be a machine, and you get glimpses of her pushing back.
This is a smart, action-packed book. So far I’ve been enjoying the racial/ethnic representation, and the implicit discussions of class, politics, and zealotry. However, it is violent, sexual, and some of the characters are cruel.
Bottom line: Read this book. It will expand your horizons, especially in terms of what you think a comic book can do. Please be warned that it is not a “fun” read, and so not something I’d recommend for anyone not prepared for scenes of explicit violence. Added bonus of Lazarus: Book 1 includes some back-story on the various families of Forever’s world, which is really a neat mini-peek into how a story of this depth is crafted.