The long-simmering pot has finally boiled over, as Families Carlyle and Hock are now at war. For us as readers, that means that we get to see glimpses of the conflict as Greg Rucka, Michael Lark and Tyler Boss take us both to the front lines as well as behind the scenes. The real question here, however, is which place is the more dangerous to be.
Rucka weaves several different threads together in the opening chapter of the “Poison” story arc. With the head of Carlyle in a coma, Hock’s armies continue to encroach on Carlyle territory, and Forever struggles with distrust among her fellow Family members, which demands a lot of panel space. The end result is an issue that touches on all of those points but, because there’s a lot of ground to cover, none of them make huge strides forward.
Probably the best part of “Lazarus” is along the lines of what we saw in “Lift,” with a focus on the serfs and citizens whose lives are in Carlyle territory. Getting to check in at Stanford not only shows us what life is like for them — especially those lucky enough to get the life-changing lift from serf to citizen — but it gives us a greater idea of why the Families are willing to create such a structure and the benefits that it gives them. Life in the world of “Lazarus” is one of the big draws of the comic, and Rucka definitely plunges us wholeheartedly into that situation.
Lark and Boss’ art is as impressive as ever. At times, it’s almost like reading a fumetti, where the panels are made up of photographs but, unlike that particular subset of comics, this never feels stiff or posed. Lark and Boss have created lifelike characters who move and shift across the panels in a way that feels fluid. Moments like Jo watching the rain from inside the complex could have felt dashed off, but Lark and Boss draw her in a manner that you can see the body language in her posture as well as on her face. That unease just radiates off of the page, and it’s a reminder of how talented these creators are.
“Lazarus” #17 is a quiet start to a new storyline but, based on past arcs, things will build quite nicely to a crescendo before long. This is a good opening act, with enough to hang readers’ interest so that they’ll want to come back for part two. “Lazarus” continues, as always, to entertain.