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Lazarus vol. 1 TPB [Review]

lazarustpb001Family

Written by: Greg Rucka
Art and Letters by: Michael Lark with Stefano Gaudiano and Brian Level
Colors by: Santi Arcas
Cover by: Michael Lark
Publication design by: Michael Lark and Eric Trautmann
Edited by: David Brothers
Reprints: Lazarus #s 1-4
Published by: Image
Cover Price: $9.99

This is another volume that I was ‘sold’ on by virtue of it being $9.99 and thus the chance to try a new series on the cheap (functionally $2.50/issue rather than $3+).

Lazarus is a story set in the future, a world wherein Families run things, and a sort of caste system: core Family at the top, a serving class, and “waste” at the bottom. The term Lazarus applies to a Family’s “champion,” someone who seems genetically engineered to be the epitome of that Family and a sort of enforcer or military type function defending the Family’s interest. This first volume introduces us to the Carlyle Family and their Lazarus, Forever Carlyle. As the Family deals with a recent attack by a rival Family, Forever is sent in to make peace, though some in the Family don’t want peace and so lash out, with rather painful results.

Only four issues in, I can’t say that I feel all that vested in the story…while I’ll admit to curiosity at where things will go, it hasn’t particularly hooked me to where I’ll eagerly seek out single issues or the next volume. It’s an interesting concept, though, with the family intrigue; secrets and betrayals; sort of a futuristic Game of Thrones type thing. 

The art doesn’t exactly do much for me…though that’s not a bad thing here. I had no problem following the story, and even the almost too-frequent “silent panels” seemed to get things across quite well. I did definitely appreciate the lack of full/double page splashes as those tend to really chew up pagecounts pointlessly.

I suppose Rucka‘s name on this would actually be another “selling point” for me, and while this volume’s failed to really hook me, Rucka‘s name and the curiosity I do have means I’ll probably snag the next volume once I notice it’s out, to see if a few more issues’ worth of content do what these didn’t.

All in all, though…not bad for a $10 volume, and it definitely does far more toward getting me to be willing to continue with the series than just a single issue or two would have done.

Harbinger #15 [Review]

harbinger015Writer: Joshua Dysart
Penciler: Barry Kitson
Inks: Stefano Gaudiano and Mark Pennington
Colorist: Ian Hannin with Sotocolor
Letters: Simon Bowland
Cover Artists: Khari Evans, Barry Kitson, Trevor Hairsine, and Rian Hughes
Assistant Editor: Josh Johns
Executive Editor: Warren Simons
Published by: Valiant
Cover Price: $3.99

I really enjoy seeing heroes’ downtime. Seems like just about every issue of (especially team-books) a title “has to” have lots of action, so I quite appreciate just seeing the characters be themselves, NOT fighting villains, NOT on some huge quest, NOT repelling invasions or facing life-or-death situations, etc.

So this issue was quite up my alley, seeing the kids decompress from the events of Harbinger Wars. They recognized a functional loss, but escaped with their lives, and so take some time in this issue to just be kids, to have fun with each other and the advantages their powers bring. I could enjoy an entire issue of single-page scenes just showing the kinds of stuff the group as a whole would be up to as well as what happens when the characters pair off for activities, the way they relate not just as a group but in the one-on-one interactions.

I’m especially interested in seeing the growing friendship between Faith and Peter, and while I’m pretty sure I’ve only ever read the first few issues of the original ’90s series, that was a good 14 years ago and I don’t recall much of anything at this point…though from “meta” info about that title I’m vaguely aware of a character death early in the series that I’ve been glad to see did not happen here (I sorta expected it to play out in Harbinger Wars).

While we start the issue on a relatively “light” note (all recent events considered), and get plenty of fun and potential as the issue continues, I got a sense of foreboding toward the final few pages. Despite this, I had an honest moment of shock when my fear played out…the end of the issue opens up a whole different potential for this title and the Renegades moving forward.

More and more I find myself considering this the cream of the crop of the current Valiant titles…and with the mythology Dysart‘s building, the character-building and realistic (for a comic starring super-powered psiots) settings and interactions and amount of story actually fit into a single issue, there’s little better out there.

If you like super-hero team books, I definitely recommend this title!

X-O Manowar #6 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 4/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

X-O Manowar #5 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

X-O Manowar #4 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 4/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Bloodshot #1 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 4.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

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