By: Greg Rucka (writer), Michael Lark (art and letters), Brian Level (art assists) and Santi Arcas (colors)

The Story: Forever continues trying to unravel a terrorist conspiracy.  Waste see different paths to being uplifted.

Review (with minor SPOILERS): Another very powerful issue of Lazarus.  This is just about the perfect series for me.  The art is great.  I like the characters.  I love the dystopian near-future setting.  And I LOVE the attention to detail.

This things that I like best in this issue are the subtle moments.  One is when we see poor little Forever being trained as a little girl by Marisol.  Little Forever is so much more composed and collected than a typical 12/13 year old, but there are the moments when you remember she is still just a little girl.  You can train her and beat her with a stick to teach her stoicism, but she’s still a little girl who needs a hug sometimes.  Anyone who has a child can’t help but be touched by the situation and the art.  Kids that age alternate between impressing us SO much that they are nearly adults: They can handle complex concepts, do physically challenging things and start to say things that don’t sound entirely foolish, then the next second, they are crying and after your initial “WTF?” reaction, you remember that they are only 12 years old.  Rucka and Lark (especially Lark) are capturing that age perfectly here.

The other aspect of the comic I really enjoyed were the two different paths to uplift presented to these waste.  On one hand, we continue following this group that is trying to do uplift the right way.  They’re trekking across the country, dealing with death and banditry and awfulness…..but they are going to Wallyworld and look forward to the wonderfulness.  Only they get there and see a line that runs 20-30 miles out of the city of similarly desperate people who want to be uplifted too.  Not many people are going to get their dream.  That’s what they get for trying to be uplifted via the standard procedure.

The other path we see via this terrorist girl who is interrogated by Forever and her sister.  Basically, this girl can stick to her guns as long as she is professionally interrogated by Forever, but once pretty, glamorous Johanna enters the room, it is a different story.  As opposed to Forever in her functional suit and severe low ponytail, Johanna has her blond hair spilling over her shoulders.  She appeals to that girlish part of the captive that wants the pretty girls to like her by telling her how pretty she is…and offering to uplift her whole family if she sells out the other terrorists.  The girlish part is pretty similar to the theme we’ve seen with little Forever and the instant-uplift is a nice contrast to the other story of uplift we see.

Through it all, Lazarus is continuing to tell a very interesting story of class warfare.  These good waste have done what they were told: Haul yourself to the uplift and apply.  It’s not too different than what we tell people in real life: go well in school, go to college and then get in line.  Part of what makes it such an interesting story is the very obvious real life parallel.

Conclusion: Just a glorious issue.  My life is richer because of comics like this.

Grade: A

-Dean Stell

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