Social commentary has been very important in the history of comic books.
Whether it be superheroes fighting the Nazis in the Golden Age of comics, or material that has pushed comics forward like V For Vendetta and Watchmen by Alan Moore, and The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller, there is no doubting that the present state of affairs in society have been crucial in the development of the comic book.
The all star team of writer, Greg Rucka, and artist, Michael Lark, have come together once again to produce a series that uses the current widening of the economic classes as a basis for a dystopian future where a few economically elite families run the world.
That is what this team has in store for us in Lazarus, coming off of a strong number one issue in which the reader gets a small introduction to what is a very big world, issue two continues the pace of issue one, as we are given the sad state of affairs piece by piece.
Our protagonist is Forever Carlyle, a member of the family Carlyle, she is used as their ultimate weapon to make sure things run smoothly for her extremely wealthy family. Running a large part of the west coast of the United States, the select few members of this family seem to be the only ones living happy lives in their territory. The rest of the land is occupied by their employees, the serfs, and the waste, who are by far outnumber any other social class, but are by far the poorest.
This issue gives more insight into the Carlyles, as the family patriarch calls all the kids in for a meeting. Here we get to see a glimpse of each family member. Some are better than others, there is no doubt Stephen is a much better person than Jonah. However, it is hard to find any of these characters to be likable. They are the elite, and keep the majority of money for themselves while the majority of the population suffers with next to nothing.
We are offered a glimpse into Jonah’s section which he is in charge of, which is Los Angeles. The city of angels is now no more than a shantytown. This is the reader’s first glimpse into the poverty and brutality of this world. Forever is probably the most sympathetic character in the series so far, as she has already committed acts that are down right heinous. So far, there have been no people, besides the already departed old man from issue one, who have shown that they are truly good. Most characters, who have any redeeming qualities, show them in bits and pieces.
There is still a long way to go in this story. This is only the second issue. Rucka stated in the letter section of the first issue that this will be a long but finite story. So far, the creative team has done a great job. We are only two issues in, and there is long road to travel, but this looks like there will be a lot good if not great things in store for the reader in the future.