Lazarus #28 (May 2018)

Lazarus #28

Once again, Lazarus is fine. It’s fine where Rucka’s going with the book–turning exiled, thought-dead Jonah into a real hero, for example–but there’s something else going on too.

The art. Lark and Boss are drawing less, the colors are doing more; the backgrounds have a dullness to them. By the end of the issue, the characters look like animation cels. It’s real obvious.

The issue itself, with Jonah’s new “family” going to war right after his baby is born, is also fine. It’s effective, well-paced. Kind of manipulative, but sure, fine. Rucka has oodles of goodwill on Lazarus and doing an interlude away from the main plot doesn’t spend as much as a regular issue.

But the art. The art isn’t there. It’s distressing by the end of the issue, because it gets progressively worse. The finale sends Jonah into the new “main” arc, a single parent who’s survived through determination and the good fortune of family medicine. It’d be exciting (kind of, he’s now even more a trope), but all the art promises for what’s next is lessening quality.

Frankly, it’s bumming me out. I’d rather Lark exit gracefully than go out this way.

CREDITS

Fracture, Prelude: Part Two; writer, Greg Rucka; penciller, Michael Lark; inkers, Lark and Tyler Boss; colorist, Santiago Arcas; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, David Brothers; publisher, Image Comics.

Lazarus #27 (April 2018)

Lazarus #27

Lazarus is back. It hasn’t been entirely gone, but the regular series has been on hiatus for a bit. And now it’s back.

And it’s not exactly Lazarus. It’s a two-part prelude to the next arc and is all about brother Jonah’s adventures with the Danes. Forever didn’t kill him; instead she saved him and threw him in the sea. There some Danish fishers find him. They’re a family of fishers under a different capital f Family than Jonah–or his allies–and they nurse him back to health. He works with them, the daughter falls in love with him, his previous life is forgotten.

Until next issue.

The art’s great. Michael Lark doing a dystopian fishing village turns out to be great. The “action”–the fishing–comes off. Along with the drama as the family tries to figure out what to do with Jonah.

Rucka’s writing is fine. It’s all character stuff. Not exactly character work–there’s little character development outside summary panels; the daughter falling for Jonah is, so far, not neccesarily a bad thing. It’ll probably be a bad thing (for her) very soon. But for now, it’s a tranquil existence. In a dystopia.

It’s a sturdy, sure-footed–and very safe–return for Lazarus

CREDITS

Fracture, Prelude: Part One; writer, Greg Rucka; penciller, Michael Lark; inkers, Lark and Tyler Boss; colorist, Santiago Arcas; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, David Brothers; publisher, Image Comics.

Lazarus 26 (March 2017)

Lazarus #26

The arc ends. Finally. Forever is back in action. Supporting cast members are working together towards something in the future. There’s a lot of exposition, a lot of flashbacks–Rucka packs the issue with material, all before Lark lets loose on a big action sequence finale. This arc, which took the creators a while to get out, seems like it has too much material. The war stuff gets lost and is just exposition until Forever gets into the fray. Then it just goes crazy. It’s a good issue with some great art, but it feels a little like Lazarus has had a course correction. Hopefully the future will be smoother.

CREDITS

Cull, Part Five; writer, Greg Rucka; penciller, Michael Lark; inkers, Lark and Tyler Boss; colorist, Santiago Arcas; letterer, Jodi Wynne; editor, David Brothers; publisher, Image Comics.

Lazarus 25 (October 2016)

Lazarus 25

Lazarus is back on track–sort of, Rucka still splits the issue too much–but he doesn’t just give Forever something to do, he lets her make the big decision. The latest arc has been floundering a bit because Forever has been recuperating and way too much the subject of the comic and not enough the protagonist. The moves Rucka makes this issue don’t exactly but her back in the protagonist chair, but they put her close enough to it to create some good will, all while he’s implying the chair is about to get upgraded.

Rucka does try to make the non-Forever, non-Carlyle half of the comic more dynamic. There’s a news team trying to get a good story or something. It leads to some mildly amusing dialogue and a cliffhanger. The cliffhanger doesn’t have any meat to it–the comic gets more enthusiasm off its promise of next issue’s Lazarus battle (as it involves Forever) than anything in the cliffhanger.

As always, the Lark art is wonderful. Even if he does just get to do talking heads. Rucka seems to be about done with his setup, he just needs to deliver on it. This issue suggests he can and will, enough I’m not worried. I just want him to get to it. Forever needs to kick some ass.

CREDITS

Cull, Part Four; writer, Greg Rucka; penciller, Michael Lark; inkers, Lark and Tyler Boss; colorist, Santiago Arcas; letterer, Jodi Wynne; editor, David Brothers; publisher, Image Comics.

Lazarus 24 (August 2016)

Lazarus #24

It’s a perfectly good issue of Lazarus but it feels a little slight. Rucka’s trying to do too much at once–Forever’s story, little Forever’s story, the family, then the action stuff… it’s just too much. Lark’s good at expressive action from characters and the juxtaposition of young and regular Forever is cute, but it’s not enough.

Lazarus has been running so lean for so long, having an issue where Rucka spins a bunch of subplot wheels for future development is a little strange. He’s moved the book away from Forever’s point of view and hasn’t returned to her. Everything’s still strong–like I said, perfectly good–but it feels off. Taking Forever out of the action–especially since the action sequences are just assassination missions–makes the action seems a lot less salient.

With so much going on in the book now–I mean, there are two Forevers, double the usual amount–I suppose an unevenly paced issue is inevitable. Or maybe I just want Forever, the real Forever, back in action.

CREDITS

Cull, Part Three; writer, Greg Rucka; penciller, Michael Lark; inkers, Lark and Tyler Boss; colorist, Santiago Arcas; letterer, Jodi Wynne; editor, David Brothers; publisher, Image Comics.

Lazarus 23 (July 2016)

Lazarus #23

Rucka employs a lot of structure for this issue of Lazarus. There’s a framing device, then a flashback, then a reveal about the framing device. Only that reveal has absolutely nothing to do with what happened in the flashback and it doesn’t really change the initial frame, it’s just there for Rucka and Lark to do something else cool. There’s a sword fight. Lark does a really, really good job with it. He paces it out perfectly–you can hear the swords clanging looking at his panels–and then when Rucka gets around to the reveal on it? Turns out Rucka’s got some really great ideas too. It’s just a perfect thing in the comic.

It also has nothing to do with the main story. It’s like a glorified subplot, only specially rendered. And, wait, there is something else with some returning characters–maybe this arc is going to go a little bit differently in terms of narrative approach? i.e. Forever won’t be the lead. Something the flashback does address. Lazarus is just an expertly executed book at this point. Rucka and Lark have a phenomenal rhythm.

The flashback, which involves the Carlyle family and their sci-fi soap opera (I mean it in a very good way), has some twists and turns of its own. Rucka’s setting up the arc but he’s also making sure to reward the reader’s patience.

And there’s gorgeous Lark art.

CREDITS

Cull, Part Two; writer, Greg Rucka; penciller, Michael Lark; inkers, Lark and Tyler Boss; colorist, Santiago Arcas; letterer, Jodi Wynne; editor, David Brothers; publisher, Image Comics.

Lazarus 22 (June 2016)

Lazarus #22

Forever is out of commission this issue of Lazarus, giving Rucka time to develop Johanna further. The supporting cast of Lazarus is always something of a prickly situation as they know more than the protagonist and than the reader. It makes it hard to be sympathetic towards them, hard to trust them. Actively hiding something from Forever feels like actively hiding it from the reader. It’s hostile.

For instance, the little Forever Carlyle clone. She’s adorable. She has snowball fights. She’s probably going to either kill a bunch of people or get killed. It’s going to be tragic. And Johanna is aware of it and unfeeling about it. The most important thing Rucka’s done with his “world building” is make the characters of Lazaraus acceptably soapy. It’s the main suspension of disbelief. You have to believe the machinations.

This issue gives Johanna enough character–though Rucka does go a little far with the father issues. But Johanna does have enough character to function now. She’s rounded enough.

Now, all of this story stuff comes during what’s essentially an action issue. Lark gets to do two major battle scenes. With flying soldier guys. It’s awesome.

So nice to have another Lazarus.

CREDITS

Cull, Part One; writer, Greg Rucka; penciller, Michael Lark; inkers, Lark and Tyler Boss; colorist, Santiago Arcas; letterer, Jodi Wynne; editor, David Brothers; publisher, Image Comics.

Lazarus 21 (December 2015)

Lazarus #21

Rucka gets so much done this issue, so many plot threads tied up–while introducing a great new one in the soft cliffhanger–I can’t even remember them all. It’s an extra-sized issue, which helps, because there’s a lot going on besides the war comic.

This issue, with Forever and her unit attacking the enemy’s position? It’s a war comic. It’s Michael Lark doing a war comic; sort of future-y, but not really. It’s also Lark doing an action comic. Forever’s in an action movie version of a war; she’s Chuck Norris. It’s awesome, because Rucka maintains the tone, maintains the seriousness. He, Lark and co-inker Tyler Boss are as restrained and careful as ever.

The rest of the comic has the family working on a cure for the patriarch while one of the daughters has to take over for the “in charge” brother because he can’t hack it. It’s almost like an episode of “Dallas,” only with a bunch of military stuff going on. But it’s all off-panel; it creates a lot of tension for Forever.

Lazarus continues to be a fantastic book.

CREDITS

Poison, Part Five; writer, Greg Rucka; penciller, Michael Lark; inkers, Lark and Tyler Boss; colorist, Santiago Arcas; letterer, Jodi Wynne; editor, David Brothers; publisher, Image Comics.

Lazarus 20 (November 2015)

Lazarus #20

It’s been too long since I last read Lazarus. The comic’s bimonthly and has been for a while. Maybe forever (no pun intended). But, with Lazarus’s big cliffhangers of late, I guess I expected Rucka to be more sensational with this issue. Instead, he’s reserved. He’s not showing off.

This issue is the first one where I decided I’d read Lazarus again. I probably would have made that decision, but not for a while. With this issue, however… I want to go back immediately following its conclusion. Because Rucka’s pacing is strange. It’s deliberate, it’s distracting, but Rucka’s able to maintain an intense ambition to his storytelling.

And Lark gets to do a bunch this issue. A military combat sequence–beautifully constructed–and a nice little hand-to-hand fight. And some nearly noir machinations scenes. Lark’s not the artist to do the fantastical, which helps make Lazarus’s dystopian future realistic, but Lark is the artist who does the work. So it’s fantastical Lark, which seems an oxymoron, but isn’t.

Really good stuff. I hope the next issue comes out sooner than two months.

CREDITS

Poison, Part Four; writer, Greg Rucka; penciller, Michael Lark; inkers, Lark and Tyler Boss; colorist, Santiago Arcas; letterer, Jodi Wynne; editor, David Brothers; publisher, Image Comics.

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: