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Lazarus #2: Previews Exclusive (Image): I picked up this
advanced edition at SDCC so I’ve had a couple extra days to ruminate on it, and
I think it might even be better than the first. While we already understand the
premise laid out in the first issue, the second pushes hard on world-building
and intensifies the stakes. I really enjoyed how Greg Rucka positions some of
the Carlyle children almost in a Corleone style trifecta. There’s a young,
different one, who’s favored, in the “Michael” role, a brash hothead like Sonny,
and a more passive Fredo type. There’s the added twist of Forever’s true place
in the family line, as well as the set-up for a confrontation with a Morray
Family Lazarus. The backmatter includes a riveting timeline running vertically
down the pages that fills in much of the backstory of how this world came to be
amid a financial apocalypse and how the crime families rose to power. Michael
Lark grounds the whole thing in a realistic style, creating a believable
reality, with visual touches like the Hollywood sign now being reduced to just
an H, O, O, and D, mirroring exactly what the burnt out urban area looks like.
The Massive #14 (Dark Horse): As the Kapital approaches NYC,
a rogue US Navy faction is trying to forcibly arrest Callum Israel. There’s a
line in here: “We are the military. We are America.” that’s so devastating at
depicting what it’s all devolved into while the only legit gov’t has supposedly
relocated to relatively higher ground in Denver. Callum knows that an aircraft
carrier group isn’t supposed to be patrolling the coast and is ready to call
their bluff, while Ryan is increasingly becoming more of a player, and the Georg
flashbacks (not to mention his present day intervention) make him one of the most fascinating
characters to emerge in an already supremely interesting cast. Grade A.
Thumbprint #2 (IDW): Joe Hill, Jason Ciaramella, and Vic
Malhotra, for my money, are delivering one of the best and most memorable mini-series
of the year, which seems to be operating just under the radar of the typical comic
book consumer. Mallory is walking this fine line between penance for her past
sins and trying to absolve herself of her past and just move forward.
Artistically, Malhotra reminds me of artists like Matthew Southworth, Michael Lark,
or David Aja, contemporaries who are operating with a noir vibe to their style.
The aesthetic is back and forth between the gritty present day and the intense
psychological drive of the flashbacks from the Middle East desert campaigns.
Harbinger #14 (Valiant): This is basically the tail end of
the Harbinger Wars event, wrapping up the confrontation between multiple
factions, while also completing the Toyo Harada “origin” flashback sequences in
the process. Pete and his Renegades absolutely get their asses handed to them
by the converging forces of Bloodshot, Project Rising Spirit, H.A.R.D. Corps,
and the Harbinger Foundation. Within the space of about a year, Joshua Dysart
has cleverly crafted a post-modern self-aware treatise on young super-powered
adolescents that has all the raw emotional power of the original X-Men in the
1960’s. The difference being that there just aren’t any pleasant endings. The
fight sequences are chaotic and messy and never go according to plan. At one
point, Faith says “It’s not like the X-Men at all!!” You’re goddamn right,
Joshua Dysart. You’re goddamn right. Grade A.