In the Image Comics series LAZARUS, the world has become a feudal state: a few wealthy families control all of the resources, while all other people amount to, if they’re lucky, loyal vassals or serfs. But most are destitute, unprotected, and desperate — what the privileged call “Waste.” This is the world of the New York Times bestselling series by Greg Rucka (Whiteout, Gotham Central, Wonder Woman, Atticus Kodiak novels) and Michael Lark (Gotham Central, Daredevil, SCENE OF THE CRIME, Atticus Kodiak novels), which is now being collected into a deluxe hardcover edition, out in November.
The “Lazarus” of the title is Forever Carlyle, the genetically enhanced daughter of a powerful family who is charged, like all who share the title Lazarus, with protecting that family by all means possible — and the story begins on the day she is killed
Forever believes in her father’s love for her, but as a conflict with another ruling Family to moves toward war, she begins to suspect she is little more than a pawn in Family Carlyle’s plot to gain more power.
To writer Rucka, the dystopia he created for LAZARUS isn’t a far-fetched science fiction world; it’s plausible speculation on where our society is heading.
Influenced by the Occupy Movement, Rucka asked himself, “What would the world look like if 99% became 99.99999%? What if the 1% became the .00001%? What happens when that much wealth and power becomes that concentrated?”
Concentration of power leads to the powerful using all means to protect what they have — and that is where Forever comes in. Regarded variably as a tool, pet, and science project, Forever must break through her lifelong conditioning to find out what and who she really is in a world that sees her as something less — and more — than human.
“If you ask me what the series is about, yes, it’s about this dark vision of the future, certainly,” said Rucka. “But it’s about Forever, her journey, the questions of nature versus nurture, and of power, and of corruption.”
Lark’s art renders Forever’s world in deep shadow and is heightened with moody colors by Santi Arcas, perfectly capturing the fractured, violent world of LAZARUS as well as Forever’s vulnerability and naïveté, which her deadly exterior belies.
“I’m trying to demonstrate the contrast between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots,’” said artist Lark. “Because one side has, literally everything and the other has nothing, the contrast is strong. I realize that while we in the United States haven’t seen this come to pass — yet — there are other parts of the world where it is already a stark reality.”
LAZARUS: BOOK ONE collects issues #1-9 of LAZARUS, plus an introduction by Warren Ellis, a four-page “Prelude”; never-before-seen work by artist Lark, cover artist Owen Freeman, and graphic designer Eric Trautmann; and exclusive world-building content.