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Lazarus, Volume One

lazarus, volume one

Greg Rucka (Author), Michael Lark (Illustrator)
Image Comics (Publisher)

The term Lazarus is a biblical allusion, normally given to mean a person who can resurrect himself or herself after death. Those who are able to resurrect in literature usually return touched by their brief foray into the unknowable, but those in contact with Greg Rucka’s Lazarus figure seem more chiefly concerned with what she can do in the here and now. In the text, one member of every family is made into a “Lazarus” and given strength beyond imagining, including the ability to rise from the dead in order to protect said family. It’s ironic that Forever is supposedly the most-valued member of her family; after all, she is literally disposable. As a result, more nefarious, calculating members of her family malign her gifts. Forever’s Lazarus status is regrettably introduced and sustained by rape parallels; she is shown fatally shot and spread out by a number of unfamiliar men in the first ten panels. Her subsequent resurrection and violent destruction of her attackers is ostensibly meant to be triumphant, and prove to the reader that Forever is a capable survivor of both physical and emotional abuse. But it’s tough to see a woman routinely abused in a way that mirrors sexual assault. In addition, Forever is asked to mete out justice in ways that make her uncomfortable, and finds herself used by her family with little regard to her health or personal safety. While the artwork in Lazarus is cool and detached, reminiscent of The Walking Dead, I’m hoping that future issues of this title gives us a Forever who recognizes her unique worth in the face of constant abuse.

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