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God of Comics – Lazarus: X+66 #1

Lazarus: X+66 #1 (Image Comics)

Yesterday, we spoke about Generation Gone and how that comic looks woke AF. Apparently, Image Comics isn’t done with us, because they’re doing some truly interesting things with one of the best comics they’ve ever published: Lazarus.

And, yes, we have discussed Lazarus before. Everything we said then still holds true, though we did go and pick up the hardcover and now have a greater understanding of that world.

It’s a world where oligarchies became more powerful as time went on, doing away with nation-states in favor of corporate ones, a place where people that don’t have direct corporate employment of family connection are just called the waste. It seems sort of fitting, I think, especially given all the things we talked about yesterday.

But, while Generation Gone is a story that takes place during the move from free society into oligarchical hellscape, in Lazarus that’s already happened. The world has ended. There are no superheroes or hackers or anyone else that could stop the move into material corporatism and the only superpowers that do exist come from advanced technology and work exclusively for the corporate monarchy that exists in this world.

Every corporation in Lazarus has one person that they pour all their tech into, and that person is called a Lazarus. They act as champion, commander, bodyguard, and warning. The protagonist of this story is a Lazarus, a woman named Forever Carlyle who was created and brainwashed into serving the Carlyle family, but her whole identity has come into question now that she knows that she was made and not born.

It’s pretty bad timing, too, because one of the Carlyle heirs failed a coup and went to the Carlyle’s worst enemy for help and that kicked off a massive war that has thrown the uneasy peace of corporate greed into utter chaos and no everyone is fighting everyone else and a whole lot of Lazarusi just got killed by what was basically a dragon.

And that brings us to this: chapter six of a critically acclaimed series. Greg Rucka – who just wrapped up an incredible run on Wonder Woman for DC Comics and you should go read that, too – is at his absolute best here, working on a rich mythology that feels a little too close to home for comfort, and he’s joined for this chapter by Eric Trautmann, an old ally who was also involved with Checkmate, the Old Guard, Black Magick, and others. These are two writers who bring out the best in one another, and, as a point of evidence, we present this comic.

Michael Lark and Steve Liever are on art, and the style they’re using here is both haunted and washed out, driving home the desolation and emptiness of a world that has fallen into a pit of greed and ambition without limit and the ruin that those two vices have inflicted on everything. Their work is savagely beautiful, all heavy inks and judicious color, and it will stick with you long after the final page has closed.

There’s a very good chance of this being the best comic out this week. Don’t miss it.

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