Group Chat Review – Lazarus: Risen #1 (Image Comics)

Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Michael Lark
Colours: Santi Arcas
Lettering: Simon Bowland
Release Date: 20th March 2019

SAM: Holy Crap Lazarus is good.

ADAM: I ‘ve only had a quick glance at the recap at the moment. I’ll sit down with a cuppa and get a chance to enjoy it this evening

SAM: The recap is likewise superb.

ADAM: Lazarus Risen. Holy crap indeed.

SAM: Holy utterly crapoli.

ADAM: Those folks know how to deliver eh? So much going on the prestige sizing makes a lot of sense. I like that they’ve shifted things forward in the timeline. Allows for developments in the world without having to detail every minutiae

SAM: Yeah. It’s breathtaking how good it is.

ADAM: I’ll need to reread it. I ended up racing through without meaning to. After you put me onto Lazarus initially and catching up, it’s easily been one of my favourite new settings. Getting the chance to dive back in, I quickly devoured it. Plenty to savour though. I say new setting but it’s years old now…

SAM: Yeah I read it twice through back to back

ADAM: Not only do you get an oversized comic but some decent prose, comments, and material for the RPG from GreenRonin

SAM: It’s glorious.

ADAM: I remember buying ensemble magazines when I was younger for war games and computer games etc. and you’d always be aware that there would be articles of zero interest to you personally. In some ways I could see people thinking that with the RPG content but given it’s system lite stuff, it’s decent reading either way

If I’ve said it once about Lazarus I’ve probably said it a hundred times, but the world building is fabulous. I’m some cases this can be detrimental to the story you are trying to tell. The more detailed things become, the more chances for minor mistakes and slip ups

Given the absence on the shelves recently I can see why you’d focus on the family (the family) here but it almost misses a trick by not showing much else.

Sure we jet from location to location and there’s mention of things like choking on Hocks happy pills but we don’t see much of how the last years have had an impact.

It’s a case of wanting too much I guess. Any more in here and it might have jeopardized the story being told. Well that or the mood and pacing overall at least

SAM: I don’t know. I think it’s a solid 5 that gets us straight back in the game.

ADAM: Yeah, I’m being picky about things and that’s kind of expected with something so good. Easier to nit-pick than address elephants in the room.

Thing is, for folks like us, it’s almost a given we would be expecting a 5/5 for such a return. What does that mean for other folks?

I have and would continue to recommend Lazarus to anyone who I thought would have even a vague interest in this kind of tale. It’s brilliant for established fans but it’s no jump on point. Well I wouldn’t consider it an easy place to get all the references. I’d be interested to hear the take from someone who had never picked up Lazarus before.

SAM: I think it’s absolutely entry-level stuff and that’s one of the reasons it stands as a 5 also.

ADAM: Really? Do you think that the end would have the same impact? Desperately not trying to give away anything

The stuff with Eight is fine and with the other siblings you can get enough to see the bigger picture.
Maybe I’m putting too much onto the revelations for long time readers. Thinking about it, if you removed all of those then you’d still have a pretty tip-top issue.

SAM: Yeah. I think it’s an ideal gateway. But, maybe we should get fresh eyes

ADAM: Was there anything that stood out for you in this issue? In particular I mean

SAM: It encapsulated the characters quickly and effectively. The sheer presumptuous hypocrisy of the Family was perfect. Also, I really found myself liking Joanna, which given everything I know about the character was frankly terrifying.

ADAM: Isn’t that kind of the point though and something Rucka does very well? Although this is a comic book world with a somewhat outlandish premise (maybe not given current world affairs) it’s no black and white setting. The world is very grey.

You can see the motivation behind what the characters are doing so even when there’s villainy afoot, its villainy for a reason. Not in some cartoonish “unlimited power” way, but to benefit the family or further someone’s position.

SAM: No absolutely I agree. I just can’t believe I find myself trusting her despite everything

ADAM: Trust? Yeah that’s maybe a stretch…

SAM: Yeah quite lol

ADAM: Risen for me hasn’t exactly been a reset button but it does get back to the core of the story again. The concepts of loyalty, honour, and duty. Legacy building and whether the family name essentially justifies any and all means taken. The opening set piece captures this exactly.

You’ve got the clandestine operations and action which I mentioned previously which builds up to this forced display of Family Above All

It’s incredibly cinematic but always steers away from cliché

SAM: Absolutely. Loving the minor family narrative also

ADAM: Yup. The layering effect which grounds how the families actually maintain control over huge tracts of land. I’m really a sucker for this post-modern feudalism.

SAM: Yeah it’s spot on.

And makes me want to play Scythe.

ADAM: Hah, well I’ve been writing some stuff for a Lazarus game and just trying to wrangle some players so I know the feeling.

Revisiting my earlier thoughts, it must be tough to maintain control when writing something like this. Not to discuss other things on the go just now but when you’ve got such an immersive world and wealth of character and options, the temptation to go off on tangents must be off the charts.

I’d happily fall down that rabbit hole but when considering this as an #1, the focus is actually fantastic to jump-start that initial feeling of mystery and intrigue, and the desire to explore I had when I first started reading Lazarus.

A good example of what I want and what is best not necessarily being the same things

SAM: Exactly. It’s perfect entry level.

ADAM: So in a bit of roundaboutary I’ll agree with you now then.

SAM: Bound to happen eventually

ADAM: Admitting that I may be wrong or that you may be right? Either way, I guess once every now and again is probable, if not likely…

SAM: Like a stopped clock

ADAM: So we’re agreed on 5/5?

Pretty much a perfect return. Whether you’re an avid confirmed fan or just dipping your toe for the first time, well worth picking up!

Rating: 5/5.


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