Tough choices, new information, and high drama shape Image’s Lazarus #14 as Greg Rucka and Michael Lark continue to explore Forever’s character and her relationship with her family. Is it good?
Lazarus #14 (Image Comics)
The beginning of the issue was quite a shock for me; I actually had to go back and look at the ending of Lazarus #13 to confirm what I remembered. Rucka and Lark perform an excellent sleight of hand that sets up the majority of the issue to continue to develop and build the characters focusing primarily on Forever.
Forever continues to feel incredibly real and believable as we’ve mentioned before, but her development is taken to the next level in this issue. All of her doubts and concerns are brought to the surface in a fiery outburst, which is just as quickly extinguished with a few key words that pierce at her being. She goes from pent-up anger and rage to somber and reflective with a touch of sadness. It is absolutely brilliant how Rucka and Lark capture how quickly her emotional state changes.
Not only is her emotional state put front and center through Lark and Tyler Boss’ artwork, Rucka is incorporating major revelations for Forever, although still keeping one of the major focuses of the conversation a mystery leading the reader to wonder: “Who really sent that message?” Despite the lack of reveal, Rucka does offer more knowledge on how the Lazari, specifically Forever, operates. This knowledge directly impacts the choices she makes that define who she is, and she makes a couple pretty significant choices that I suspect will reverberate throughout the story.
Getting back to Forever’s emotional state, there is one page that really stood out to me cementing her humanity and believability as a character. She is taking a shower, processing everything that has occurred and then has an emotional release. Her face after her release grants the reader a glimpse into her soul.
The final third of the book switches away from character development to focus primarily on plot progression. Rucka’s writing is able to bring the political machinations full circle, keeping them fresh while also rehashing them at the same time. The Carlyle and Hock families’ political maneuverings come to a head. No longer are deals being made behind closed doors and out of view from everyone. The stakes are laid out in the open in front of all the families. Rucka and Lark set up what looks to be a very action-packed issue, something this book was lacking.
Outside of the artwork and story, Rucka and Lark add a level of depth to the world they are building. In the back of the issue, they highlight one of the Families and break down who they are and how they came to be. It is an added bonus that gives a more detailed look at who the players are and what their motivations may be. Hell, you even get a full page promotional ad featuring Martins Sweet Tooth. Who wouldn’t want a Sinful candy bar?
Is It Good?
Rucka and Lark’s character development continues to reach new heights as they craft very realistic characters. Lark’s artwork and ability to portray Forever’s emotional state not only in her actions, but just in her facial features is extremely well-done. His artwork humanizes Forever. Meanwhile, Rucka brings the political machinations out of the shadows setting up a showdown between Hock and Carlyle. There was only one misstep and that was the illusion of danger with the security guards running around the complex for two pages. It just seemed a little much and did not create any real fear of discovery.