Greg Rucka and Michael Lark are putting the pieces on the board as the Carlyle and Hock families begin a deadly dance for power. Is it good?
Rucka and Lark begin Lazarus #12 with an in-depth discussion on which families have taken the Hocks’ side and which are vulnerable to be swayed to join the Carlyles’. The sequence solidifies Malcolm’s role as a master strategist and the reason he is the head of the Carlyle Family; but, more importantly, the sequence exposes Forever to an increased role within the family. She is able to comment and give her own analysis of the situation. Malcolm treats her as his heir and daughter rather than a tool to be used; he even suggests she relax and enjoy herself.
However, Forever’s idea of relaxing is heading to the gym, where Rucka unveils a revelation regarding the Lazari. They are actually friends and practice their combat skills together. Lark with the help of Tyler Boss introduce an interesting combat game called “Tennis.” It is rather unclear how it works, but definitely showcases the Lazari’s athletic abilities and swordsmanship.
One of the most memorable panels is Forever’s introduction to the gala where all the families have gathered. No longer is she in her commander’s outfit with sword at her back. Instead, she is in an exquisite white evening gown looking extremely uncomfortable. Lark and Boss perfectly capture how she feels completely out of her element upon entering the gala.
Fortunately, her uncomfortable state is quickly whisked away when Joaquim Morray invites her to dance. Lark and Boss do an amazing job with this sequence, especially their use of inset panels depicting the attendees of the gala from Sonja and Xolani to Jakob Hock. Seeing each individual’s facial reactions to the beautiful dance is extremely interesting as the reader can only imagine what might be going through their minds: hints of jealousy, admiration, or maybe even something sinister.
The gala sequence is extremely well done—it’s one of those sequences where as the reader you are able to envision yourself in the scene. Colorist Santi Arcas helps accomplish this phenomenon with the bright yellow of the chandeliers, the numerous colors of dresses whether it is Forever’s white or Sonja’s red—they are distinctive and capture the eye. The numerous family flags hanging from the ceiling add to the wondrous atmosphere.
The gala is not all beauty, and there is a deadly dance at play. The palace intrigue is heightened as both Malcolm and Jakob Hock begin to make their moves. Hock makes an extremely public display while Malcolm takes a more discrete approach. Letterer Jodi Wynne is able to bold the right words at the right time. Jakob Hock’s move is accompanied by a delicate dialogue with the correct emphasis on just the right words to not only display his arrogance, but also his power. Nevertheless, during the beginning of the gala sequence it is difficult to tell who is talking as the word bubbles have no tails (although this is done to emphasize the conversation is happening in the background). Despite this, it would still be nice to realize who was saying what as it was not completely intuitive. There is also one panel where the font is a tad too small and forces you to squint to read it. The book ends with a masterful panel combining Wynne’s ability to emphasize just the right word with Lark and Boss’ artwork that not only invites Forever, but the reader, to join the deadly dance.
Is It Good?
Lazarus #12 is able to expand what the reader knows of the world in regards to the Lazari, but is also able to drive the story with heightened palace intrigue from bold, loud statements to other more low-key moves. As always, Forever takes center-stage as her character continues to develop both within her family and perhaps romantically.
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