Lazarus Planet: Alpha #1 – Mark Waid, Gene Luen Yang, Writers; Riccardo Federici, Billy Tan, Artists; Brad Anderson, Sebastian Cheng, Colorists
Ray – 9/10
Ray: DC has taken a very different direction with this new event, taking the ongoing Batman vs. Robin series—and ending #4 on a cliffhanger leading into a very different event. The main series will end in February, but in the meantime Lazarus Planet will play out over a series of one-shot anthologies featuring characters from around the DCU. Mark Waid and Riccardo Federici are the creative team on this first chapter, which picks up immediately after the Lazarus Volcano exploded and spewed magic energy all around the world. Robin and Talia have escaped, along with an injured Batman and a catatonic Black Alice, but Nezha is in the wild as well and the main villain King Fire Bull is on the rampage.
Much of this first issue is devoted to getting the team together—and the team is pretty large. Just about every available hero in the DCU joins the clean-up crew, but Monkey Prince and Supergirl seem to take the lead—no surprise, since both have ties to Nezha in the past. Others, like Cyborg and Blue Beetle, have some surprising advantages in the battle. As some take on a major mission at the Tower of Fate, Fire Bull sends his pair of minions—the Horn Kings—to join the fray. While Federici isn’t a typical superhero artist, he’s a good choice here because of the darkly mystical themes at play here. The issue is massively packed with story developments, almost to the point of being chaotic, but it’s a ton of fun.
The backup, by Gene Luen Yang and Billy Tan, spins out of the Monkey Prince story to tell us a story of the hero’s predecessor—Sun Wukong, the Monkey King. This figure from folklore has had a lot of adventures, and in one of them he was a frenemy of the Devil Nezha. Nezha’s initial reign of terror over the world is already behind us, and he’s currently restrained by magic, but the story asks some interesting questions of what it takes to really reform someone. It’s a fun bonus chapter in one of the most underrated books from DC right now.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.