There’s family, and then there’s Family. For Forever Carlyle, one is not synonymous with the other.
Fresh off last issue’s cliffhanger, Rucka opens Lazarus a bit further in issue #3 with the introduction of the Morray Family, another sect of the ruling class. We learn more of the history of the two clans, and the enmity that’s made them combatants. Still, not all members of the respective families are monsters. Much like the Carlyles, the Morrays too have their own Lazarus, a nephew named Joacquim. There’s a sameness to Forever and Joacquim, and Rucka crafts their interactions with a hint of longing. The two Lazarus’s may be the most powerful members of their respective families, but they’re also the most alone, viewed as pawns, not people. It’s nice seeing Forever let down her guard, even for a bit, as she seems more at ease with a man practically a stranger than she does with members of her own Family.
Speaking of Family, twins Jonah and Johanna continue to be up to no good, their ruthless ambition again putting Forever in the cross hairs. At this point the twins are so detestable that it’s clear they’re the true villains of the piece; at times they come off as the stereotypical n’er do wells, but Jonah’s short fuse paired with Johanna’s icy calculations make them formidable foes. Their machinations have not gone unnoticed by the Family patriarch, however, and it will be interesting to see how the family infighting affects Family out fighting.
On art, Michael Lark continues to crush every panel. I know I often say “this book reads like a movie!”, so I’ll switch it up; this book reads like a cable TV show, each issue a carefully crafted episode in which every scene is of import. Lark’s panels are so meticulously plotted, his body language and design placement so spot on, that if you were to remove all the words in the book, you’d still be able to glean what is happening. That’s talent. His action sequences are again a highlight (one interaction with a Morray soldier is especially tense), but it’s his quieter moments that really shine.
Lazarus is the perfect blend of high level intrigue and popcorn munching action, making for a thoroughly engrossing read. In a summer that’s seen countless new releases hit the rack, Lazarus stands at the top, daring all opposition to try and take its sword.