Lazarus Planet finally comes back around to its main storyline. As the Lazarus storm rages on, King Fire Bull makes his move on Black Alice. All the heroes, villains, and sorcerers unite together to bring magic back to normal for the sake of the planet. Nevertheless, their combined efforts may not be enough.
Nobody wants to admit that Lazarus Planet is a story about buff space demons bullying earth’s heroes to strip powers from a teenage girl. Ironically, the Devil Nezha originally wanted to use Alice against King Fire Bull, but now he wants her for himself. Additionally, the sorcerers of earth also need her to reinstate their magic. As a result, both sides tear Black Alice apart in a violent tug of war across the board. Despite the abuse, Alice chooses not to be a victim by taking control of her own destiny. I can only imagine how psychologically taxing it is to endure this burden, but Alice’s self-esteem is having a bad time overall.
Lazarus Planet began with Damian becoming the de facto leader and unwitting dispatcher during the event. Sadly, most of the book features Damian’s POV as a bystander. I mistakenly thought Mark Waid wanted Damian to step up into a larger role. However, he shares more in common with Kingdom Come’s narrator Norman McCay. Adjusting to Damian’s role in the story, I think the boy feels the smallest he’s ever been. In fact, Damian outright says he “will never be as good as his father” as if it were the overall message. His radio doesn’t work, his teammates plan without him, his direct attacks mean nothing, and The Justice League makes him look in the way. This is in complete contrast to how near invincible he was in Batman Vs. Robin.
Nezha and King Fire Bull’s relationship is the biggest disappointment. For a conflict teased over two or so events, their beef largely remains unexplored. I gave a lot of points to this story for it’s theme of fatherhood, without it actually saying anything important about it. Yes, there are parallels to draw between Batman, Nezha, Damian, and King Fire Bull, but Waid leaves most of the substance on the table. Additionally, Lazarus resin, pits, rains, and storms don’t seem to represent much either. The entire story engine relies on The Lazarus Storm destroying the planet while giving and taking magical abilities. However, it only seems to value its editorial importance over meaning to the story at hand.
Instead, the story happily pivots in favor of astonishing fights with The Spectre and The Justice League. I actually really love Federici’s hatching heavy style of line art. The characters and moments feel like larger than life figures pulled out of a live action movie. I especially liked the look of the power swaps and distinct magical vapors. There are even a few full page spreads of The Spectre or earth’s sorcerers I consider to be endlessly cool. Moreover, Waid’s choice of league members look really good together. Unfortunately, I didn’t think too highly of Mike Perkin’s art for middle of the story. Damian just reacts to Fire Bull while oblivious to a possessed Batman who looks like the Scarecrow vision from Batman Begins.
- You’re a fan of Mark Waid’s Kingdom Come.
- Already following Lazarus Planet willingly or unwillingly.
- You love cinematic superhero action sequences.
Lazarus Planet is a very unclear event from issues Alpha to Omega. If Waid intends to write a story about fatherhood, then maybe focus on Damian or Fire Bull more. None of the tie-ins or spin-offs matter to the overall conflict, and feel like excuses to introduce new characters and mess with older ones. Although the conflict will resolve in another issue of Batman Vs. Robin, I think publishing this event was a waste of time. Apart from the often amazing visuals and sometimes creative spin-offs, there was no reason to envelope the DCU in a widely superficial conflict. Overall, I think the creative team couldn’t make the narrative, characters, and East Asian influences, add up to something that made sense.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purposes of this review.