Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s dystopian epic returns for a second story arc that really starts peeling back the layers on this fascinating world. Both by delving into the past, and also by expanding the cast of characters beyond the Carlyle family.
The issue begins with a flashback to Forever’s childhood, where we see her training and also how her father treated her as a kid, which was… not kindly. He’s kind of a dick really. Pretty much everyone in Lazarus is a dick when you think about. In the present, Forever goes to visit the daughter of the innocent man she had to execute in the first arc and apologise for killing him, in a very awkward scene that really demonstrates the fucked-up state of the world.
After this, Forever heads to the border between Carlyle’s territory and the land belonging to Bittner-Hock, where the wreckage of the plane that Jonah used to escape has been found. Has Jonah defected to Bittner-Hock? That would be interesting for sure. Forever is taunted and threatened by the Bittner-Hock guards, but doesn’t want to fight back and start a war, but when she turns her back, she is shot. However, she is able to avert conflict by convincing the other B-H soldiers to kill the guy who shot her. I think it’s interesting to see this arc develop more of families, the first arc was basically Carlyle Vs Morray, but no we are seeing Bittner-Hock. It was especially cool how the back-matter featured plenty of background detail on Bittner, and even a fake advert for Hock industries, I hope they do more stuff like that.
Forever’s final scenes in the issue feature her going to see Johannam who is trying to redeem herself by fixing South Central Los Angeles. Johanna is a very interesting character at this point, we the reader know we can’t trust her, and Forever suspects, but still, she’s hanging in there. Back in her bed, Forever ends the issue by once again looking at the text message telling her that this isn’t her real family, so that plotline looks set to be a bit of a slow-burner, but that works for me.
The other scenes in this issue focus on some new characters, and they aren’t ‘Family’, nope, they are Waste. Where this family live is in danger of flooding, and the Carlyle authority are late in getting back to them about helping them with flood defense. They are forced to leave their home, and when they return, it is destroyed. I really liked these scenes, and think it’s a great idea for Rucka to introduce some proper ‘Waste’ characters. It’s hard to really get a sense of how unjust this society is when all of the main characters are benefiting from it, but the plight of Bobbie Barret (is that a Mad Men reference?) and her family demonstrates that perfectly. The recap page mentions a concept called ‘Lift’, where Waste can be elevated to higher status, so I imagine this is what the Barrets are going to try and do.
This was a great return for this title, and it looks like it’s just going to get better and better. Michael Lark’s art was excellent as always, he and Rucka work really well together.