Lazarus Planet: We Once Were Gods #1 review

It’s raining magic, hallelujah! And that means changes not just for the heroes and villains of the DC Universe, but for gods and monsters too.

Remember the Trench from Aquaman, the big-fanged fish fellas who eat everything in their path? The Lazarus rain gives them a makeover in a nice-looking short written and drawn by Francis Manapul.

Elsewhere, J’onn J’onzz finds a Lazarus-sodden empath may need a Martian hand. Dan Watters and Max Dunbar tap into a famous bit of Superman lore as their intense inspirational tale turns tragic.

Wonder Woman and freshly minted Amazon Bia find that the dead will rise in Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Jack Herbert’s sharply written, lushly illustrated teaser for upcoming event epilogue Lazarus Planet: Revenge of the Gods.

And Mary Marvel meets Black Adam’s protege Bolt as she bids to release brother Billy from torment in the Rock of Eternity, courtesy of writer Josie Campbell and artist Caitlin Yarsky. There’s a big surprise at the end which will also be picked up in Revenge of the Gods.

I didn’t have high hopes for this latest event anthology, after last week’s decent, but hardly knockout, Lazarus Planet: Assault on Planet Krypton. As it turns out, there’s something to recommend each story: the Aquaman entry has superb full-colour art from former DC fixture Manapul; the J’onn J’onzz entry is blithely bonkers; Wonder Woman shows us that you don’t need to be an Amazon born to fend off fearsome foes (and there’s a bonus ballad to learn); while the Mary Marvel mini-epic gets the Shazam Family nearer to a classic status quo, and new member Malik’s reactions to the lunacy he encounters is delightful.

I’ve not mentioned colourists and letterers as I’ve gone along, but believe me, they’re doing a great job. So take a bow colour artists Jordie Bellaire, Romulo Fajardo Jr and Alex Guimarães and letterers Clayton Cowles, Troy Peteri, Pat Brosseau and Andworld Design. And a shout out, too, to editors Jillian Grant, Dave Wielgosz, Chris Rosa, Brittany Holzherr and Paul Kaminski

The comic isn’t perfect – Mary’s dress turns into tights at one point. Wonder Woman gets that annoyingly unfair clay insult thrown at her. Martian Manhunter has an ugly new costume. Aquaman isn’t nearly present enough in his strip. But overall, this is a terrific-looking, sharply drawn comic expanding the areas of chaos caused by the Lazarus Rain. The cover by David Marquez and Alejandro Sanchez is cheerily dramatic (just ignore new Wonder Girl, she’s not in here), and the comic’s subtitle makes a lot more sense than did ‘Assault on Krypton’. As with that book, I don’t think this is essential to the Lazarus Planet event, but if you have the spare cash, give it a go.

15 thoughts on “Lazarus Planet: We Once Were Gods #1 review

  1. This “event” concept reminds me a little of Bloodlines. It’s only very slightly less stupid! (Lazarus rain?! Come on!)
    What has happened to David Marquez’s art? The women on the cover look creepy, as if they have fillers in their lips. *shudders*
    At least Francis Manapul’s art is quite good would that it was for a better character. (Aqua-burn!)
    Is Revenge of the Gods an event-within-an-event? If it it *is*, the word “ludicrous” is chomping at the bit to be, uh, let off the leash. It’s the “New DC” same as the old one. What’s that saying: They who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it? *Something* like that.
    Dark Crisis – Lazarus Planet – Revenge of the God – Wrath of the Splodge -Death of Batman? It’s hardly the epic Crisis on Infinite Earths followed by Legends (which set up Justice League and Suicide Squad), is it. THAT’S how you do it, DC! Ah, Martin, why can’t they learn from the best of the past rather than imitating things that failed while expecting a different result? Isn’t that the definition of insanity?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. C’mon, Martin, surely you remember the classic golden age villain the Splodge? Alan Moore revived it in the 1980s giving him a disturbing new back story; Mark Waid tinkered with him; Kurt Busiek returned him to his roots; Warren Ellis made him exxxtreme in the late ’90s; Grant Morrison took him through the metafictional looking-glass; Geoff Johns turned him into a perverted loon in the mid-2000s; now he’s back! Am I the only one who remembers this? Bwa-ha-ha-ha! Yes.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The Smooze? I think we need details, Mr Gray. (You should be grateful I didn’t assail you with a “Huey Lewis and the Smooze” pun. Oh no, too late!)

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Seek out the UK comic My Little Pony and Friends #30! Licensors Hasbro didn’t pass the regular writer’s script so as editor I had to produce something over the weekend (very Metal Men, and dragged in the Smooze creature from an MLP film… apparently it’s their answer to Lovecraft’s Shoggoth. Hasbro were not thrilled but their contract didn’t allow them to reject a second story. The readers were thrilled to bits!


      4. Fascinating! It’s hilarious how petty Hasbro were being. I like that you took Metal Men as an inspiration and smartly used an element from a My Little Pony movie. I’m not surprised the Pony fans were pleased! That’s the whole point of a licensed comic.
        The revelation that My Little Pony has a version of Shoggoths is hilarious. Next thing you’ll be telling me the ponies spend their time guarding against the Elder Gods.
        I suppose this makes you an honorary Brony… I can’t believe I used that term. Then again, I can’t believe that term exists!
        Thanks for the story, Martin.


      5. Lazarus rain – magic based version of Wild Cards virus (Xenovirus Takis-A). All they need to do is suggest that dormant pools/puddles of Lazarus goo are scattered about waiting to be activated. It would be right up there with meta-gene and Marvel X-gene.
        Only the Schnorrer can defeat the Splodge.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Now that it’s on DCUIU, I finally read this last night. I’m sure I’m more charitable to it now that it’s “free,” but overall I liked it, and agree with your assessment. It’s weird, though — 3 out of the 4 stories are all leading somewhere: We’ll see more of the new Trench, we’ll see the Amazon war, we’ll see the reunited Shazam family. But the empath in the Martian Manhunter story seems out of place; it feels like it’s not continuing anytime soon. Which is fine; it was a decent (if weird) story, and I can’t decide whether I love or hate the idea that Doomsday can reconstitute itself from even a memory. But the story seemed off-mission for setting up future events. Maybe we’ll see that empath (gempath?) again, but it didn’t seem like it.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think all the Stargirl issues have shown up on DCUI when the print issue has (except this one, which is early). What a fun series!

        Liked by 1 person

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