The creative team of Lazarus continue to have us view their book with our mouths opened in awe and shock. In the first Lazarus trade, Rucka and Lark gave us a black-and-white world in which our protagonist, poor Forever, was starting to see grey. This second collection carefully lifts some of those filters but throws up others and leaves us with more questions.
This collection begins with a text message haunting Forever that states she isn't a Carlyle and her father is not related to her. As the book progresses, we have a series of flashbacks regarding how she was raised, trained and desperately wanted the love of her father. The trials Forever is put through would not make a happy childhood, and while she shows some feelings we see more glimpses of the controlled Carlyle family defender she grows into. It's this control and attention to rules and her unique perception that she uncovers a terrorist plot to build and bomb a Carlyle event.
This collection also shows us citizens of the Waste. Here we see the juxtaposition between families; the wealthy like the Carlyle's are fed tradition and left cold and heartless while those from the Waste are shown as compassionate, caring and loving. We meet the Barrett family, who are forced to leave their recently destroyed crops and land to travel 500 miles to the "Lift"- an event that provides opportunities for employment in the Carlyle family — providing you have enough potential. We see the Barrett family struggle, lose and yet survive to get their children a chance at something better. In the end of this collection the lives of Forever, the Barretts and the Terrorist all cross and leave us waiting for the next trade (unless you go buy them individually – please don't tell me what happens, I'm trade-waiting).
Rucka, Lark and Arcas have created a grey and gritty world in writing and art. It's a reflection of a socioeconomic environment that isn't a stretch for us to believe or understand. They provide an excellent balance of drama, mystery and action (or lack of action as Forever shows that words are just as powerful when dealing with troublemakers inside and outside her world) There are no words or images wasted between Rucka and Lark, each conversation or characters posture or expression moves the story forward.
"Lift" has the unique capability to stand alone as a trade apart from its predecessor but its role in the bigger picture is what makes it so worth reading. It's like watching another show during intermission and worth the price of admission.