An exciting sci-fi thriller, “Lazarus” #6 takes readers on a futuristic adventure into an unmarked frontier. Forever Carlyle sinks deeper into the wastelands, where the truth about her past lies buried. The “Lazarus” series takes an interesting look at the western genre and creatively spins it around.
WRITTEN BY: Greg Rucka
ART BY: Michael Lark
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
RELEASE: Feb. 5, 2013
Trained since she was just a little girl, Forever Carlyle has been genetically altered to obey and protect the Carlyle Family. But after a strange message appeared on her cell phone, Forever has been seeing the cracks in the political system built by the Carlyle patriarch. Elsewhere, the Barrets are struggling to stay afloat after a flood destroyed their only home. Because they cannot pay for the Carlyle land anymore, they will have to take drastic measures to find new shelter. While Forever is under orders to protect the scheming Johanna, the Barrets will unfortunately end up crossing paths with the perfect solider.
Writer Greg Rucka provides a heart wrenching flashback into Forever’s training days as a little girl. Never having a regular childhood, Forever has been taught how to fight and kill with great skill. When she should be sleeping, Forever is learning how to speak to Latin. Because she never had any friends her own age, even the adult trainers know this is not how a little girl is supposed to be raised. Now grown up, Forever is haunted by a message that says her family is not who they seem to be.
What makes Rucka’s narrative feel grounded is his social commentary about the economic war between the haves and the have-nots. With the Barrets struggling to pay their bills, after a flood washed away their home, the Carlyle family decides to raise the rent. Did the Carlyle family purposely give Barrets their land, knowing full well that the terrain was in a dangerous zone? The Barrets aren’t stealing to make a profit, but to provide a better future for their young ones.
In the flashback sequence, artist Michael Lark plays around with the character design of Forever as a little girl. Though she looks like a child, Lark illustrates Forever with prefect stances and poses as she learns sword-fighting and karate. Notice how Lark never puts a single personal item in Forever’s bedroom. There are hundreds of books in shelves, but the unwanted teddy bear is tucked away in the corner.
What really makes the panels stand out is Lark’s portrayal of the western landscape. As the story moves away from the city, Lark uses wide shots to depict the mountain ranges and grassy fields. In a small but important detail, the Barrets drive an unwashed jeep low on gasoline. Because the Barrets cannot pay for gas, they have to settle on riding on horses.
An inventive mix, “Lazarus” #6 effortlessly blends in both elements of the sci-fi and western genres. I hope I’ll be seeing Forever Carlyle getting involved in a quick-draw shootout in a later installment.
Reviewed by – Jorge Solis