Rucka and Lark give the political thriller a much-welcome, gritty sci-fi twist in this smart, stylish second issue.
After the brutal attack on the Carlyle Family’s Harvest installation, the clan patriarch Malcolm calls a meeting of Forever and her siblings, hoping to flush out the real culprit behind the seed raid. In this second issue of Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s creator-owned sci-fi thriller, the emphasis is less on fast-paced action scenes and more on world-building. That isn’t to say this installment lacks thrills, or action for that matter – they just come by way of Rucka’s spot-on character development and Lark’s slick, atmospheric artwork.
As this opening arc’s title “Family” implies, this issue focuses on adding layers to Forever’s kin, showcasing their internal rivalries and vendettas and dropping hints about their motivations. Something is surely rotten at the heart of the Carlyle Family – and it isn’t just Forever’s ignorance of her true nature as a genetically modified family assassin. Rucka is a brilliantly efficient storyteller, not only relying on his stalwart collaborator Lark to help develop his cast through his moody, expressive art but by using dialogue and character relationships to flesh out his main players, while also shedding some light upon the world in which they live, love, and scheme.
Much of the world-building this issue falls on the shoulders of the art team. Lark and colorist Santi Arcas create a visually lush and distinctive near-future shrewdly constructed using a combination of the familiar and the new. Sleek, attractive character and vehicle designs vie with stunning, fully-realized backgrounds and a smart, subdued color palette to draw the reader into a gritty, realistic secondary world that is all the more disturbing by its inherent potential. In short, we get the feeling the world of Lazarus lurks right around the corner, in the not-too-distant future.
With its unique, relevant premise and easy ability to straddle genres, Lazarus is shaping up to be one of the more intriguing series to come out this year. Rucka and Lark’s dedication to the creation of a fully-realized world with three-dimensional characters allows them to tap into the verisimilitude of the successful political thriller, while using elements of science fiction to challenge our perceptions. The result is a resonant piece of graphic storytelling that is visceral, intelligent, and utterly addictive.
Greg Rucka (W), Michael Lark (A), Santi Arcas (C) • Image Comics, $2.99, July 24, 2013.