In the not too distant future, the vast majority of the world's wealth in held by the top 0.000000001% of the world's population. Government's are not only obsolete, but powerless, if they even exist anymore. A neo-feudal system has arisen where there are new classes of workers, and the vast majority of the population are referred to as "Waste." Family Law (i.e. the ruling families' corporate policies) are the law of the land, depending upon the Family that you are dependent upon for your meager livelihood. Even more frightening, each family has it's own "sword" or genetically altered and enhanced, and near immoral, soldier/protector. Forever, who often goes by Eve, and is oft referred to as a Lazarus, is the Carlyle Family's Sword. She is supposed to be a cold enforcer of Family Policy, but when she begins to doubt the morality of her and her family's actions and accusations, will she be able to complete her dictated duties?
Greg Rucka, one of the best writers working in comics today and fresh off his character defining stint on Marvel Comics' The Punisher, teams up with Michael Lark, one of the best sequential artists in the business, and already, "as they say the rest is history." Lazarus #1 is the opening salvo in one of the best socio-ecomonic, near future cautionary tales I've read this side of any of Brian Wood's most serious works on the subject. More than just a cautionary tale about how the near future will look very soon though, as the world's wealth coalesces into a smaller and small sample of the population, Lazarus #1 is, as Rucka himself describes in his brilliant postscript notes, a "hard sci-fi" tale that is filled with plenty of action and violence. All the violence and bloodshed exists to make a very specific and worthwhile point within the story though. So while the casual reader might be drawn in by the action and violence aspects of this "hard sci-fi" tale, hopefully they'll learn something about what is going on in the world just outside their windows, be that world Main Street or Wall Street.
Michael Lark's pencils and inks on Lazarus #1 are beautifully and sparsely cold with their heavy lines an minimal detail. The world he creates is as orderly and neat as a CEO's rarely used desk, only broken and scattered (and brightly contrasted color-wise) when the blood flows. The world that Lark draws and that Santi Arcas colors with a only a few brilliantly subdued, and nearly monochromatic, hues is more frightening than most of the post-apocalyptic landscapes we're so often subjected to in most comics of Lazarus' nature. It is so much more frightening because it is so very realistic and almost prescient in its depiction of this very plausible, and very near, future world.
Rucka promises that Lazarus is a finite story that will take several years to tell. Based upon the strength of this first issue though, however long Lazarus lasts, (and as long as Rucka and Lark remain its creators) it won't last nearly long enough.