Lazarus, Vol. 6: Fracture I
Greg Rucka, writing; Michael Lark, art; Santi Arcas, colors
Image Comics, 2020
It's been a long wait for Lazarus to resume, but it picks right up from Volume 5, and begins two years after the previous collection Lazarus: X + 66. The first issue shows the Carlyle family in full force, taking some territory back from a traitor from a lesser family who has sold them out to the Vassalovkas. Lazarus Forever Carlyle reminds Johanna Carlyle of her promise to let her meet her successor. Forever meets with two Lazari (apparently expecting a double-cross) and kills them both. Malcolm (the patriarch of the Carlyle family) does not appear to be declining--although he has not resumed family leadership--but there is dire news at the end. And Eve (the next Forever) has been doubting her training and her role. But Johanna uses her time off the grid to arrange a meeting, setting up a second plot line that seems likely to have substantial impact on the story going forward.
I think I'll be moving away from the quarterly double-sized books and onto the collections at this point. I read the most recent one, and found I had very little emotional connection to anything that was happening in the story. Rucka & Lark's storytelling relies heavily on subtlety and nuance, and that just doesn't work as well without immersion in the world. I'll probably wait for a while -- maybe let a couple of trades build up past the point where we're at now, and then go for a full reread. It's a fascinating, detailed, horribly depressing world -- but one that has very few rewards for the casual reader. With Lazarus, you're either all-in or you're on the sidelines... and the current publishing schedule makes it very hard to be all-in.
I agree that the publishing schedule is problematic, and would be for just about anything. I had frankly forgotten the title was still active. But I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I got back up to speed. It does help that the collection has a detailed plot and character summary at the beginning.