Lazarus Planet Alpha kicks off the new year for DC with an event that has a planetary impact. A volcano on Lazarus Island has gone off raining down magical energy on the world. Its impact is transforming individuals, and when it comes to heroes impacting their powers. It’s a crisis that’ll call in the scattered heroes of the world to try and stop it, all lead by… Damian Wayne!?
Mark Waid continues his big picture story with Lazarus Planet Alpha, a debut that doesn’t feel so much as a start is it does the next chapter. Waid brings together his recent runs on World’s Finest and Robin vs. Batman to this event which sees the dots connected. Unfortunately, if you haven’t been reading those comics, the story feels like you’re coming into a movie well after it began. Lazarus Planet Alpha catches readers up and provides the info needed to understand what’s going on but it’s at a surface level. There’s something missing in the experience, mostly the motivation of the “big bad”. Batman’s hurt, we don’t really know why, and various demons are thrown around as having to be found or stopped and not much info is given on them. It’s surface level entertainment that can be enjoyed but you might be missing the lead ups to it that gives greater depth and a richer story.
What stands out is the art by Riccardo Federici. With color by Brad Anderson and lettering by Steve Wands, the comic is beautiful to look at and the art feels like it gets better as the comic progresses. Federici’s art delivers dynamic visuals that break panels and provides a mix of clear vision as to what’s going on but in a way that emphasizes the chaos the characters are experiencing. There’s also some interesting choices in what does and does not get a full panel to linger on the shot. One page you’d have expected it but Federici chooses not to which makes a full page image just a bit later hit even more. It stands out and not known if it’s intentional or not.
The comic also features a story focused on the Monkey Prince who will play a key role in the event. Written by Gene Luen Yang with art by Billy Tan, color by Sebastian Cheng, and lettering by Janice Chiang, the comic delivers a bit more information about some of the characters involved in the event. These backups if throughout the run of the series might flesh out what can’t be stuffed in to the main story but the tone and style is so different it almost clashes with the main story. It’s overall very good but just a whiplash from what leads into it.
Lazarus Planet Alpha isn’t bad at all, it’s quite entertaining and delivers some solid “summer box office action.” But, where it stumbles is its clear continuation of what has preceded it. The comic, despite being an “alpha” doesn’t feel so much as an easy entry for new readers as it does the next issue in an ongoing series. Still, it’s easy to catch up on the major things you need to now, it’s just hard to not feel like you’re missing out on… something. Still, the art is fantastic and worth checking out and depending on how much fun what’s to come is, it might be worth seeing what lead up to this point.
Story: Mark Waid, Gene Luen Yang Art: Riccardo Federici, Billy Tan
Color: Brad Anderson, Sebastian Cheng Letterer: Steve Wands, Janice Chiang
Story: 7.75 Art: 9.0 Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
Purchase: TFAW – Zeus Comics – comiXology/Kindle