By Stephen Wilds | Contributor Published: 12/13/2013 10:00 am EST
Publish date: December 11, 2013 Publisher: Image Comics
Lazarus is a good book, not the best that I am reading at the moment, but a consistently solid book that is now heading into its second story arc. With every issue I read, I want more, because as good as it is, Lazarus lacks in world-building. Thankfully, Lazarus #5 takes its time to dial back the action and explore some of its characters, as well as a bit of the world around them.
The opening takes readers back in time, giving a glimpse into Forever’s childhood, as she is trained to be the family Lazarus. The opening fight being a test for the family sword says a ton about what growing up Carlyle might have been like. It builds on the relationship between Forever and her father heavily, something which will come back at the end and be important when the mysterious messages about who Forever really is begin popping up again, granting a slow burn to what is sure to be an amazing meltdown at some point.
Two other scenes give insight into how Forever handles things, beginning with a cold apology to Cady Rosales for the death of her father, who was executed by Forever. This portion is the first, and most subtle, look at the lower class in Lazarus and how justice treats the less fortunate. The second scene shows how Forever is not quick to react, but smart and diplomatic when a defeated enemy attempts to cause a disturbance at the border. I truly enjoyed seeing this side of her.
In her search for Jonah, Forever also runs across Johanna as she seemingly works to better her domain, realizing that she is under her father’s scrutiny. It’s an act, fake of course, but something tells me Johanna may be a much more complicated character than I had originally thought. More in-depth looks at the remaining members of the Carlyle family is a must in future issues.
The other part of this issue—the less-than-subtle introduction into Bobbie Barrett and the other members of the waste residing in Carlyle territory—is a depressing tale with an equally bad ending. Flooding threatens the crops and homestead, with no help from local government in sight. It ends up a powerful set of scenes, even if a little blunt. Readers will most likely see a reaction from Bobbie for this occurrence, which should be good.
Lazarus #5 is a good issue for sure. Even if it has less action, the character and world-building information was needed for the series. Rucka delivers on the story and Lark’s artwork fits with everything that is going on, making me once again want more. But now that some items are more filled out, I just want more of the story. It is always important to lay the groundwork. Lazarus has a ton in the bonus pages as well, not just letters, but information about some of the other families that inhabit the world. It is a lot to read after the issue. There should be nothing stopping readers from picking up this book.