Review – Lazaretto #5 (BOOM! Studios)

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Clay McLeod Chapman
Artist: Jey Levang
Release Date: 31st January 2018

Things are finally reaching boiling point this week in the quarantined University campus of Pascal South.  And, after four issues packed with blood, violence and puke, Lazaretto – the twisted brainchild of Clay McLeod Chapman and Jey Levang – comes to an end this Wednesday.

When we left things last time, Charlie and Tamara had been captured by Henry, the deranged RA and self-proclaimed “King”, and this issue sees them being forced to fight for their lives – literally – in order to stand any chance of surviving the quarantine.

Jey Levang’s artwork continues to really help sell the premise of the series, and is every bit as gruesome and wince-inducing as we should have come to expect by now.  It’s a perfect partnership – Chapman lines him up with all sorts of twisted imagery and sickening moments, and Levang knocks it out of the park time and time again.  The sickening, vomit-tinged colour scheme also helps to make everything feel dirty and contagious, while the vaguely Manga-esque style of the artwork only helps to underscore the horror of the situation.

As I mentioned, the bulk of the issue is based around Charlie and Tarama being forced to stand trial for “crimes against the leper colony”, and perhaps the most unsettling aspect of the whole situation is the haunting ‘Greek chorus’ from the assembled lackeys that follows almost anything that comes out of Henry’s mouth.  Chapman is clearly having a blast doing everything he can to get under the reader’s skin, and the book is all the better for it.

Once the dust has settled after all the gore and violence, the conclusion to the story is actually surprisingly emotional, although I’m not going to spoil any of it here for fear of lessening its impact.  And, while I was perhaps a little critical in some of my previous reviews of the fact that Charlie and Tamara were feeling less like characters and more like plot devices, Chapman redeems himself in emphatic fashion, digging deeper into their unique insecurities and character traits as he draws the story to a close.

A face-peelingly awesome finale which sees Chapman and Levang effortlessly stick the landing, providing a conclusion that, while it may not necessarily be “happy”, is certainly incredibly memorable.  Lazaretto is one of those rare things in the world of comics – a fascinating premise that actually manages to live up to its potential.  Highly, highly recommended.

Rating: 4.5/5.

If you want to find out more about Lazaretto, make sure to check out our interview with Clay McLeod Chapman and Jey Levang by CLICKING HERE.

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ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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