Friday Feature: Lazarus

We’ve gone a few weeks without a Friday Feature around here. I’ve been working 2 jobs and honestly, the Feature column has taken a back burner to other things. I was happy to have it as a weekly column, but it looks like that won’t be possible anymore. So from now on, I’ll be posting a Friday Feature whenever I can get around to it!

This week my fanboyish affections are turned to Lazarus, a comic book by Greck Rucka and  Michael Lark. I got a week behind in my monthly readings, so this month’s Lazarus actually came out 2 weeks ago, and I’m really sorry I waited to read it!

 

The basic premise behind Lazarus is that the world (or at least the United States) has been broken up into feudal oligarchies ruled by a handful of absurdly wealthy families. In this dystopian future, these families are known for particular industries or territories, and there is at least some cooperation between them for economic purposes, but they operate in a cutthroat system and most families will gladly betray another for a leg up.

Every family has one member who is their “Lazarus,” (from which this book takes its name) who is a specially trained and specially engineered. The Lazarus is the guardian and assassin of the family, all-but or perhaps entirely unkillable. Forever Carlyle is the Lazarus of the Carlyle family and the protagonist of the comic. Forever doesn’t seem to fully understand the intrigue of her family, but she is a capable soldier and is loyal, almost to a fault.

While the politics of the Carlyle family is interesting and offers compelling drama, Lazarus sets up another, even more interesting drama about the “waste” (the tasteless but honest name that the ruling families assign people who live in their territory, but do not serve them directly as serfs and who are not a part of the family). Focusing on one family in particular, the creators tell the story of some of these poor folks who, in the midst of a natural disaster, lose their home and are left high and dry by the Carlyles, who offer no help. Their story of coping with a system that leaves them powerless, poor, and hungry is set up early on, but in April, we really got to see it follow through.

I won’t spoil anything about it, but it’s satisfying to see that storyline explored with so much effort, rather than just letting it drop in favor of Forever’s story.

Lazarus is a violent book. Blood and dismemberment are, if not frequent, more common than in other books, so, it’s definitely a “rated R” read.

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