Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Lazarus Planet: Alpha #1 Review



Written by: Mark Waid
Art by: Riccardo Federici
Colors by: Brad Anderson
Letters by: Steve Wands
Cover art by: David Marquez, Alejandro Sánchez
Cover price: $5.99
Release date: January 10, 2023

Lazarus Planet: Alpha #1 bears witness to the cataclysmic Lazarus Resin storm ravaging magic and technology around the world. With the Justice League disbanded, it's up to Damian Wayne to lead the available heroes on multiple fronts to stop the storms and end King Fire Bull's "rain" of destruction.

Is It Good?

DC Comics had one job with this event - tell a well-constructed, compelling, exciting story.

In Lazarus Planet: Alpha #1, DC appears to have done just that.


Practically everything about this issue works. The energy and pacing are perfect. Mark Waid's character moments are spot-on. The stakes are massive, and the individual story threads could encapsulate their own one-shots, but Waid juggles multiple balls masterfully to put meat on the bones of each sub-plot while making them feel like they're important parts of a greater whole.

Lazarus Planet: Alpha #1 picks up directly from the currently-running Batman vs. Robin title (also written by Mark Waid). A magical mishap caused the mountain at the heart of Lazarus Island to explode in a volcanic eruption, sending Lazarus Resin into the atmosphere. The Demon Nezha barely escaped the island, beaten and weak, while King Fire Bull sent his generals to stop anyone from undoing the damage or saving Nezha.

Damian Wayne/Robin gathers what heroes are available to form a makeshift Justice League and send squads out on multiple fronts to stop the damage.

Besides the aforementioned technical execution in the story structure, this story works well because every hero gets a moment or two to shine in their unique way. Even the B- and C-listers contribute meaningfully to the operation, and no hint of snark or silliness can be found. This is a deadly serious situation, and Waid paints the tone of the story with the appropriate level of gravitas to make it feel important.

Next to Waid's phenomenal writing is an equally phenomenal amount of art from Federici, Anderson, and Wands. The character designs reflect strength, power, and in the case of the villains, intimidating menace. Anderson's coloring work is shockingly nuanced and detailed - every curve and the rough patch has depth and texture that brings the panels to life. And although letterers don't get the attention their due, Wands puts just the proper emphasis on keywords during the meaningful sentences to give the dialog impact and rhythm. Kudos to the art team.

Usually, I don't talk about backups, but it's fair to mention Gene Luen Yang's fanciful tale about the origin of King Fire Bull as Nezha's "adopted" son. The story is fine in a whimsical fairytale way, but the shift from the rich, epic storytelling of the main story into the lighthearted backup is exceptionally jarring. That said, a tidbit or two in the backup may play a part in the main event down the line, so you should give it a read.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

Follow @ComicalOpinions on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Bits and Pieces:

Lazarus Planet: Alpha #1 is the bee's knees in more ways than one. The crisis feels epic by every measure, the assemblage of heroes and how they're used makes sense, the stakes are world-ending, and the wow moments hit hard. Plus, the art is phenomenal.



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