The Recap Page: What You Need to Know Heading into ‘Lazarus’ #22
With so many great comics series to read, it can be difficult remembering what happened in a previous issue as we head into the current one. The Recap Page is here to help readers recall what they need to know as an important new issue looms!
This week, Lazarus makes its long-awaited return with Lazarus #22, as Greg Rucka and Michael Lark take us back to their all-too-plausible future dystopia of warring families, extreme class disparity and immortal assassins. Every piece on the game board is poised to get blown straight off, and a discovery’s been made that may change Forever Carlyle’s life for good…
THE STORY SO FAR
Lazarus takes place in a world where many of the far-reaching global anxieties of the modern era have been extrapolated out to a logical, if depressing, conclusion. The climate of the world is messed beyond measure; the security state is ever-present and watchful, and all wealth and power is concentrated in a tiny number of elite families.
Each family in this future world has a Lazarus --- diplomat, troubleshooter, assassin and champion, sent out to solve problems for their family and empowered with the best enhancements technology can bring, making them virtually unkillable. They have more in common with each other, but are aware their destiny is to someday die at each other’s hands --- but until then, their minor skirmishes are preferable to all-out war.
WHAT HAPPENED LAST ISSUE?
The Hock Family poisoned Malcolm Carlyle, the head of the Carlyle Family, using a customized toxin that has stymied the advanced science of the Carlyles. Without their head, the family has been forced onto the back foot in an ongoing war with the Hocks.
After a thrilling sequence where Forever Carlyle appeared to actually be killed, a squad of Serf soldiers (“Serf” being the term for any non-Carlyle persons deemed useful to the Family) were tasked with bringing down critical anti-air installations. They succeeded, and Forever Carlyle was revealed to be alive --- but she’s been skipping crucial medications related to her enhancements, causing people at home to question her loyalty.
Johanna Carlyle secured more political power for herself, and establishing herself as the one to really never trust, in a family full of people to never trust. Then the series’ biggest twist dropped.
Throughout the series, there have been a series of flashbacks to a young Forever Carlyle meeting with, and being trained by, her family and her father, who is very careful to manipulate her into feeling just enough like his daughter that she’ll be loyal, but not enough like a daughter that she forgets her place as a tool of the family. They've been adeptly told flashbacks, helping us to sympathize with a young Forever and the abnormal childhood she was forced into having.
At the end of the last issue? This happened.
There was never just one Forever. They were never flashbacks at all.
Whatever is the step up from all-out war. All-Out War 2.
Adult Forever is missing, and the Family is just unstable enough that they may cut her loose. And on the larger scale, the recent conflict threatens to plunge all fifteen of the world’s Families into warfare.
It’s a good thing Lazarus is as good as it is, because between Rucka’s meticulous and depressing research and plotting, Lark’s stark and bloody storytelling, and the washed-out, perpetually polluted colors of Santi Arcas, Lazarus is a tough book to read sometimes. But good trumps tough, and its return is welcome.
Lazarus #22 is available at finer comic books stores on June 15th, 2016.