After a long layoff of a full year (and some change), I am so happy to finally have LAZARUS proper back into my hands, gracing my eyeballs! When last we received an issue of LAZARUS written solely by co-creator/author Greg Rucka and artist exclusively by co-creator/artist Michael Lark, it was March 2017’s LAZARUS #26, the conclusion of the “Cull” storyline which saw the Russian family Vassalovka — a deadly new piece on the LAZARUS chessboard — make their devastating assault.
Well, with a presumably recharged Lark back in the groove of producing awesome pages again, issue #27 arrives as the first of a 2-part prelude to “Fracture”, the next multi-part storyline which promises to bring major changes as this wonderfully intricate and progressive story moves forward. In the intervening months between issues #26 & 27 there was a 6-issue miniseries, LAZARUS: X+66 (co-written and drawn by various creators) that served to chronicle some key side-characters and events that get us from year X+64 to where we’ll eventually arrive in year X+67 when “Fracture” starts.
Thankfully issues #27 & 28 also chronicle events between those parameters, but they focus solely on the previously unknown fate and misadventures of one Jonah Carlyle, the disgraced, disowned and discarded son of the Family Carlyle, who — having been betrayed by his sister Johanna Carlyle who was at one point his co-conspirator to seize control of Family Carlyle by taking out their patriarch Malcolm Carlyle along with their historically loyal, weaponized “sister” and Lazarus Forever Carlyle, the embattled star of our show. [see LAZARUS #1-9]
After his fall from grace and ouster, Jonah had desperately tried to appeal to–and seek asylum from–Carlyle’s hated rival, the Family Hock (whose own patriarch, Jakob Hock, is one sadistic S.O.B.) Well, Jonah’s desperation plan for survival via Hock had actually backfired and led instead to his capture, imprisonment and inhumane torture by the Family Hock because Jakob Hock wanted to extract the Family Carlyle’s longevity technology from Jonah’s DNA. [see LAZARUS #10].
Meanwhile, Malcolm had ordered Forever to execute Jonah, while he used his son’s pitiful plight to ultimately facilitate what is called a Conclave between all the families in the Dystopic world of LAZARUS [see LAZARUS #11-13]
However, Forever’s encounter with her brother did not go as commanded because Jonah did what no other Carlyle would do for her, which was tell her the very old, well-guarded secret truth about her very existence. Jonah plead for his life and Forever opted not to kill him in that confrontation, instead she helped him escape his fate in a way that would help incriminate the Family Hock–which pleased Malcolm–and sent him away to never return [see LAZARUS #14].
Jonah has been presumed dead, yet readers knew better than that. So that’s the backstory. LAZARUS #27 (and 28) is the story of what happened after Jonah escaped into the North Sea.
So fast forward to now and we find — well, a Scandinavian family finds Jonah floating in the North Sea near Denmark and rescues him from certain death by hypothermia. A lovely lady by the name of Pernille Møller Jensen is especially sympathetic to him and helps nurse him back to functional vitality. Jonah assumes a slightly altered identity to avoid more suspicion, scrutiny and worse, and chooses to live and work among these fine Danish folk who naturally are also in cold-but-quickly-heating up war with the same factions Family Carlyle are.
Without spoiling too much, I’ll conclude that this rather fulfilling issue ends with a love scene that — judging by the cover of May’s #28 — may or may not lead to the eventual birth of a child as the next chapter chronicles the remaining years of Jonah’s exiled adventures. Given the world of LAZARUS, I do not anticipate a happily-ever-after ending to Jonah’s new life.
I wait impatiently for “Prelude to Fracture” Part 2.