Forever Awakens in Image’s “Lazarus #14” REVIEW

Lazarus_14-1 Lazarus #14
Image Comics

Written by Greg Rucka
Art by: Michael Lark & Santi Arcas

Lazarus has been a classy and cerebral series where the intrigue and drama rests in the chess game of a ruling class trying to maintain power in a world divided by the haves and have-nots. And to secure that power the Lazari are the guardians of each family with very special skills. For the Carlyle Family, Forever is the Lazarus that is continuing to learn more about herself as she executes her father’s orders. Only this time, it may be harder to kill the person who has wrought so much turmoil and betrayal to the clan – her brother Jonah.

The series has been more of a slow burn with occasional bursts of action but Rucka cares more about the words and actions of his characters than the next set piece. It’s been that approach that has helped make Forever a sympathetic figure throughout the life of the book.

Lazarus14-Page1-72cb9A daughter engineered from the beginning to become a stoic, unfeeling weapon in the service of the family name. Yet there she is on an ocean rig, preparing to assassinate her treasonous brother but having seconds thought. She wants answers from her beaten and broken sibling who’s had to endure some amount of torture under Hock detainment.

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This is where fans get rewarded for their patience. The confrontation between Carlyle kids reveals a number of truths that will alter the series going forward. Jonah’s expendability in his father’s eyes and Forever’s true origin strikes at the heart of the series. An awakening that we’ve been waiting for and it finally arrives. This is where Rucka is at his best. All of Rucka’s plotting leads to this reveal and heart-wrenching discovery that leaves the readers guts twisted in a knot.

Rucka has a way of building up a character like Jonah and deconstructing him into this pitiful worm that begs for his life despite causing so much pain and misery. Then leaves Forever in a moral quandary. A quandary that will ultimately speak to her humanity. An ever growing sense of independent thought and will that belies her familial programming. It’s a turning point that will have a ripple effect for Forever and her family.

Lazarus14-Page3-f92f2Malcolm Carlyle uses his son’s disappearance to attack Hock in front of the Conclave. Accusations fly but Hock is no fool and has Malcolm pegged all along. It’s a pissing contest that turns into a call of action. One that will pit one Lazarus against another. How far will Forever’s new found epiphany take her away from doing her father’s bidding when faced with yet another dilemma?

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Lazarus is one of the most elegant sci-fi dystopian epics in comics. One that doesn’t bombard you with great futuristic technology or fantastical beings. It is still about great characters in a world that resembles ours but is rearranged by fate. Lark brings a somber but masterful use of shadows and angles that create emotive scenes that don’t require words.

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