I must have been on a Greg Rucka kick lately. About the same time I picked up the latest trade for The Old Guard, I also picked up the first book for another Image series he wrote, the sci-fi series Lazarus.
It was a short book, but that doesn’t mean this first volume, subtitled Family, can’t act as a good introduction.
Set in some distant future, the world is divided in something resembling feudalism, where wealthy “families” control the world along more corporate lines. Each family has an enforcer, a “lazarus,” an individual who cannot die due to whatever advanced technology has been used upon the subject. As for the rest of the human population, a small portion are designated ‘serfs” who are presumably of some use to the different families and the rest are simply referred to as “waste”.
And yes, the overwhelming majority of people are classified as “waste”. I gotta say, I like the choice of a word there as it shows just how little the superwealthy running the world think of the majority of the people living on the planet with them.
Regardless, the main focus for this series is Forever “Eve” Carlyle, the Lazarus for the Carlyle family, who appear to control a good chunk of what in the real world is the Southwestern corner of the United States. She’s one of five siblings, with two brothers and two sisters. One sister is a scientist/doctor of some kind. One brother is their father’s righthand man. The other two are a pair of treacherous twins, and Papa Carlyle makes it pretty clear that Eve is the only one of his children that he holds in any regard whatsoever and does not in any way disappoint him.
Or does he?
Much of this initial volume, reprinting four issues and a four page short story that fills in the rest of the needed information, works off the idea of something Eve is unaware of: she may not actually be a Carlyle. Three of her four supposed siblings all say as much and seemingly hold her in contempt as she does all the dirty work for the family, something that often involves her temporary death. If Eve is, as it stands, not a Carlyle, telling her as much would probably be a bad idea as her primary motivation for now seems to be gaining and holding her “father’s” approval, even if that means setting aside her own potential happiness as her brothers and sisters continue to live lives of luxury.
This was quite good, and unsurprisingly for Rucka, he wrote another good female protagonist. Likewise, the various antagonists coming from within the Carlyle family suggests the twins in particular, with their somewhat Lannister-ish relationship, may be Eve’s biggest obstacles towards whatever it happening going forward, and the female of the two seems to be much more on-the-ball than her brother who keeps getting caught. Factor in some fine, moody artwork from Michael Lark, and I got me another series I will need to get back to soon…but knowing me, I probably will not as quickly as I would probably like to.
9 out of 10 Lazarus Love Interests.