Review by Jamie McNeil
Lazarus: The Second Collection continues the saga of Forever Carlyle, a genetically modified and enhanced super-warrior known as a Lazarus for the wealthy house of Family Carlyle. In a not too distant future the world is governed by a handful of the wealthiest family owned corporations, geo-political boundaries long abandoned. Though still loyal to her Family Forever finds herself at increasing odds with the family ethos and the injustices she witnesses in the name of progress, the stories gathered here building on the societal dynamics co-creators Greg Rucka and Michael Lark established in the preceding The First Collection.
In Conclave we find out more about the governing Families and their respective Lazari as the two factions respectively led by Malcolm Carlyle and his nemesis Jakob Hock gather together to settle a dispute initiated by previous events. Poison follows as all out war erupts and the Carlyles desperately fight for survival. Michael Barret and Casey Solomon return, now elevated to the ranks of serf and with promising careers. Thanks to her efforts in Lift, Casey is now a soldier for Family Carlyle, though she may regret that when assigned to accompany Forever in a do or die mission to stem the tides of war. Similarly Michael faces other problems when his theory on gene therapy is noticed by Dr Bethany Carlyle who recruits him to save the life of a VIP. If he fails he not only jeopardises the lives of the privileged Carlyles, but also those of the many innocents who live on their lands.
Lazarus is a satisfying and intriguing blend of human observation, soap drama, action and science fiction thriller and while this is best enjoyed after reading The First Collection the series becomes better and better. Lazarus is not a particularly far-flung tale, with the technology and scientific procedures only a few years in advance of ours making it a good choice for readers making their first steps into the sci-fi genre. Rucka writes riveting drama driven by human interactions and emotions as well as its plot twists while Michael Lark’s detailed art brings individual characters- leading or supportive- to life on the page against some fantastic settings. The world-building is superb, both creators working in marvellous synergy to make their fictional society seem very possible in a time when the rich are more and more likely to be elected as a country’s leader.
Like the First Collection this has some decent extras with more exclusive artwork from Lark and his collaborators, Rucka adding yet more dimensions to this world ruled openly by the wealthy. Surprisingly this is substantially cheaper than its predecessor, though we advise you to read the previous collection before picking this up, but pick it up you must.