LAZARUS: IMMORTAL COILS #1
Written by Joseph Gauthier and Drawn by Alex Lugo and Carlos Rafael Duarte
Published by Markosia
LAZARUS: IMMORTAL COILS is the story of a true immortal; a man who was raised from his tomb by divine power and though technically he can be killed, he is unable to stay dead. Wandering the earth, Lazarus accepts there is a reason for his unusual nature and he fulfills his purpose by hunting down creatures that do not belong in our world.
This first issue is essentially three stories in one. The opening scene may not be original but still ranks pretty high on the creepy scale. A little blond girl is walking through a cemetery at night, hand in hand with what appears to be the living dead, while strange creatures dance around the gravestones. After a cliffhanger panel in which we’re left unaware of the fate of the girl, a letter from a young woman tells the story of what happened in this sleepy small town. The child is writing to Lazarus, asking him to deal with the mysterious force that has claimed the life of nearly everyone in the area. As the letter tells the background story, the art shows our hero, already swooping in to save the day.
When the letter transitions to the child talking about death and asking questions of Lazarus about dying, it becomes obvious this was a way to give the reader some insight into our hero and what he must struggle with every day. Although contrived and slightly cheesy, the dialogue is well done and is therefore an enjoyable third-party view into Lazarus’s head. We already see Lazarus’s immortality in action as he gets his guts ripped out by beasts before jolting back alive, tracking down the head vampire, making sushi out of him, and saving the little girl.
The second story is taken from the bible and shows Lazarus’s origin. After he spent several days entombed, Jesus succumbs to his human heart’s desires and raises his friend from the dead. The art was beautifully done in this section, and the colors were muted without being dull, thereby accurately representing the desert surroundings. The poignancy of this scene is touching whether one believes in the bible or not. Jesus acknowledges his actions stem from his desires and not God’s, yet he still cannot simply stand back and let his friend be dead.
The transition between the middle section and the concluding story was very smooth; the brown, shell-shocked eyes of the recently resurrected Lazarus in one panel, and the swirling blue, pupil-less eyes of a battle-hardened Lazarus some two thousand years later in the next. We get a very brief glimpse into the mind of this unusual hero, but it is enough to garner interest in the character. He may be tired, exhausted even, from dying so often and being dragged back into life, but he knows he has a purpose. As another unnatural creature makes a snack out of some tender human flesh in the concluding panels, we know what that purpose is.
LAZARUS: IMMORTAL COILS really hits the ground running. I enjoy the story within a story format, and with a protagonist who’s been around since they coined the phrase ‘before Christ’, it is almost impossible not to tell several tales at once. The art was a bit unbalanced with the strong, striking lines of the last two sections creating a more visually stimulating picture than the more heavy-handed art in the first section. Though decently drawn, the long, snaking tongues of the bad guys were a bit overdone, and in the first frontal view we have of Lazarus he looks way too cat-like. The lettering, however, is completely spot on. In the first chapter the boxes clearly show a younger child is dictating, and Lazarus’s dark and dramatic lettering perfectly matches his character.
Overall, this is a well-rounded introductory issue. The reader is given enough information about Lazarus to know what he’s capable of, what his mission seems to be, and even a bit about his beginnings, while still leaving plenty of questions to answer in the subsequent issues. There is an ample amount of action, drama, human emotions and otherworldly creatures. In other words, LAZARUS delivers a bit of everything, leaving the reader wondering what else is in store for the man who cannot die.