The correspondence page found at the end of the issue will tell you the creative team needed two extra pages for Lazarus #7.
After reading the issue, it’s plain to see why.
In terms of density, Lazarus #7 earns the title of heaviest issue of the series. Jumping from plot to plot, the events this issue are wrangled into a thick storyline wringing readers through an emotional gauntlet.
And it does it by bringing us even closer to the characters and seeting via flashback and sudden bursts of emotional and physical violence.
Dealing with a possible terrorist threat to her family, Forever Carlyle performs her duties by gathering intelligence and interrogating the lone suspect, Emma. Unable to get anything out of her — backed into a corner, Emma’s responds with, “There’s nothing you can do to or take from me that your family doesn’t already have” — Forever brings in her sister Johanna.
We already know from this vantage point that Johanna’s intentions for her family are traitorous, and we get a good look at why she’s gone undetected for so long. As the good cop to Forever’s bad, Johanna tempts Emma with a lure of fame and serfdom.
In those scenes, we get the political and military wings of the Carlyle Family. Forever, as the armed hand, sees what a bit of diplomacy can do, especially from one so treacherous as Johanna.
We also get to spend some time with the displaced Barrets. With about a week to go before Lift selection, the family camps out somewhere in Wyoming.
The scene brings to mind the best elements of a Western — wide open spaces, the unfiltered relationships between travellers, the fear of the present, the hope for the future, and the ugliness of humanity that threatens peace.
Lazarus continues to be pull-list worthy, and the creative team deserves that Eisner nomination for Best New Series.
Greg Rucka’s world continues to reveal itself, warts and all, from the Family peaks to the Barret valleys. The major event is the Lift, and all paths look to be crossing there. It’s a testament to Rucka’s writing prowess — there’s no direct threat and imminent threat just yet, just the possibility of one, and we feel the tension and paranoia on the Carlyle side because it all feels very familiar.
The writing could have easily gone the path well-traveled with the Barret tragedy, but instead of drudging up emotion and preying on our sympathies, Rucka gives us just enough to play the rest of the details in our own minds.
The Barret scene also shows how perfectly matched the visual team is with the story. Michael Lark and Brian Level on art and Santi Arcas on colors get down to the nitty and gritty with profound fluidity. In one issue, we’ve gone from the sci-fi and sanitary dwellings of the Carlyles to the dirt and debris of the Wild Wild West, and not once did it feel like the two couldn’t exist in the same world.
The last page reveals the Lift is in reach, but at what cost? A lot of comic stories rely on that tried and true method of leaving readers with a cliffhanger, and Lazarus puts a twist on that by giving readers a glimpse of hope to go along with that bitter taste left in our mouths from the scenes previous.
Some keep their eyes on the goal, waiting for it to be achieved. What makes Lazarus so sweet is the journey itself — the lives of the characters and the state of the world they live in. The questions are just as important as the answers, and the experience is enriched because of it.
Lazarus #7 (2013)
Words: Greg Rucka
Art: Michael Lark and Brian Level
Colors: Santi Arcas
Letters: Michael Lark and Brian Level