Written by: Greg Rucka
Art by: Michael Lark
Lazarus #11 is the best issue of the series since the end of the first arc. That’s not a knock against the last story arc, as there really hasn’t been a single bad issue of Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s dystopian epic. Really, this issue being better than the past couple is just a testament to the quality of this issue. Sure, it’s a bummer that the character who were lifted a few issues back aren’t present here, but their absence allows Rucka to focus his efforts on Forever Carlyle, instead of splitting his writing between two plots, and two groups of characters.
Since the beginning, Forever has been the anchor of this book. Lazarus has a number of awesome features, but the one constant has been Forever. She makes this series as engaging and interesting as it is. Considering that we’re diving headfirst into a story that will take her character to completely new places, her character is about to become more interesting than ever. The sense of self doubt that we’re starting to get form her is great, and it’s something we haven’t really seen in the past. It’s changed the character dynamics of the book ever so slightly, but it is noticeable. Forever’s attitude towards the other characters (namely Beth and James in this issue) is different than it has been, because of the revelation that she may not actually be a Carlyle.
Her character arc is great, and though it may be the driving force behind this issue, there are other elements of the book that contribute to its greatness. For one, Lazarus #11 has what may very well be the best opening scene of any single issue I’ve ever read. Rucka introduces Sonja Bittner, another Lazarus, masterfully. His writing of her, and the characters that interact her, is stellar, serving as a reminder of just how feared the Lazari (is that the plural form of Lazarus? I’m really not sure, but I’m going to go with it. Yell at me in the comments if it’s wrong) are by normal people. Plus, Lark’s art really brings the characters to life, and helps to hammer this point home as well.
In addition, Lazarus #11 takes full advantage of the political dealings that go on in this world at all times. Seeing the political struggles unfold is great, as it offers development both for characters and for the world. I know that a book having a political side may turn some people off, but Greg Rucka does it in such a way that it never feels to be engaging to the reader. Due to largely to the amount of world building that he’s done, it’s very easy to care about every little thing that occurs in the pages of Lazarus.
Lazarus #11 is a truly stellar comic. Is it the best issue of the series? Probably not, but of the issues that have been released so far, it’s definitely one that stands out. It’s mostly set up for the Conclave, which will begin in full next issue, and so it is a little bit slow moving at times. That said, there’s still a lot to love here, from Forever’s character to arc, to her scenes with Marisol, to the political maneuverings of the families. And that’s just on the writing side. Michael Lark’s art is breathtakingly good, and truly makes the characters and world jump off of the page.