Lazarus Planet: Next Evolution #1 review

And the Lazarus Planet spin-offs keep on coming. For weeks DC has been putting out anthologies, with at least four stories per issue showing us the effects of the magical Lazarus Resin spewed out across the earth by a crossover event. And some of the issues have been pretty decent reads. This one, though, is very much a mixed bag.

The book opens with Red Hood trying to get a sample of Lazarus Resin and being bamboozled by a bunch of generic masked men.

Apparently writer Ram V, currently on Detective Comics, has plans for mysterious and ooky group The Vigil, but we don’t get enough here to make me curious to see more. The most interesting thing about this story, drawn by Lalit Kumar Sharma, is Red Hood’s comment that he’s the only person who’s come to the gunfight without a gun… my, how he’s changed.

Flatline from Joshua Williamson’s recent Robin series steps into a solo strip and gains a power thanks to the Lazarus Resin. She already has the very specific ability to absorb the abilities of anyone who dies in her arms, here it seems she gets something new.

Writer Brandon T Snider does a great job of introducing Flatline to anyone who didn’t meet her in Robin – I bailed after two issues – so I guess he’s saving the reveal of the tweaked power set. And that’s fine, because this Laura Braga-drawn story is an entertaining read without that info, and it has a last-page surprise that many people will like.

Regular readers of this blog will know how much I hate DC’s presentation of Amanda Waller over the past few years, and here she is again, power mad and murderous. Writer Chuck Brown impressed me with his odd and entertaining Black Manta mini-series, and its daring refusal to explain why his pirate partner went by ‘Gallous the Goat’. I was less impressed with Brown’s Green Lantern story in Justice League: Road to Dark Crisis, it wasn’t at all clear what was going on. That, though, is a model of comics storytelling compared to the ‘story’ here, which has some psychic named Deadeye summon Waller.

The dialogue tells us that the Deadshot-Cyclops wannabe is a nephew of Waller, and we see that she’d hired a very obscure DC character ‘to make you stronger’. That means attack with deadly force, and said attack comes during the Lazarus Rain, resulting in both Everyman (remember him from Lex Luthor’s Infinity Inc? Someone must) and Deadeye getting new powers. Everyman turns into a Doomsday-alike, Deadeye gets, er, a shiny blue arm? It’s all a lot more obscure than it needs to be, I mean, what is Deadeye’s deal? Where has he appeared previously? What does he want? He doesn’t seem to be one of the previous Deadeyes created by Grant Morrison. I’ve read every comic named ‘Suicide Squad’ since the Eighties, and yet if Waller’s nephew – Archie, apparently – has appeared previously, he didn’t make an impression, so remind us. Alitha Martinez and Mark Morales produce some pretty vibrant art, I just wish I understood more of what they were drawing.

I suppose this strip will lead into the promised/threatened Amanda Waller Vs the DC Universe storyline. Please remind me not to buy it.

Writer Delilah S Dawson gets more pages to develop new character Red Canary, as she teams with my favourite teleporting teen, Sideways, to protect the people of Seattle from newly animated public art (ah, comics). We learn more about her life out of costume – her first name is Sienna, she’s not a natural academic, has a very patient roommate and a ‘perfect big brother’ – before the action kicks in.

With a witty script by Dawson and lovely full-colour illustrations by Ted Brandt and Ro Stein, this is the highlight of the issue, and not because the bar is pretty low. Little by little, Dawson and friends are making a very good case for a regular slot for Red Canary.

David Marquez draws and Alejandro Sanchez colours the cover, which manages to be striking without featuring any recognisable character (I doubt anyone spotted Red Hood in there).

This is the kind of comic for which the DC Infinite App was invented – occasionally diverting, but eminently skippable. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

11 thoughts on “Lazarus Planet: Next Evolution #1 review

  1. Agree with you 100% on how Waller has been portrayed lately (both in comics and movies). Written as one-dimensional by writers nowadays, when it’s easier to just crack open Secret Origins no. 14 to get a better understanding of her character.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I was ok with the Flatline and Red Canary stories.

    Is Flatline’s new power that she hears the dead better than before, or differently than before? The first couple of panels make that less than clear. Or, is her new power that she can raise the dead now? Or, see them? Is Ra’s actually alive at the end? He doesn’t have normal dialog bubbles, so who knows. So this was only a partly successful story. Or, it was successful if we aren’t supposed to understand it, which I think may be a goal of some writers.

    Not sure if the Red Hood story has anything to do with Lazarus Planet and the magic rain, or if it’s only about Lazarus resin.

    With the Waller story, it was nice to see that Alitha Martinez can draw something besides Amazons sitting around talking. I didn’t care for the story, though. The Deadeye name, seriously? When Deadshot has been in Suicide Squad? Seems like a bad name choice.

    I thought Red Canary would develop some powers in the rain, but I guess not. It had a bouncy YA cartoony look to it, which I enjoyed. Silly story, but harmless. And we learned a bit more about the character. She and Flatline would make for an interesting odd couple team-up.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I really like Alitha Martinez’s work. As far as the “Amazons sitting around talking” thing, I feel she’s drawn some incredible action sequences in the Nubia stories. But, yeah, I completely agree about how badly the character of Amanda Waller has been written since at least the New 52 reboot, so even Martinez’s art couldn’t get me to pick this one up.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Excellent suggestions as to what Deadline or Hardeye or Flathead’s new powers could be. I have to say, I dislike her face make-up a lot.

      A Flatline/Red Canary book could be the making of them both.


  3. I quickly flipped through this in the comic shop yesterday. I was intrigued by Red Canary in the Dark crisis tie-in specials, and the artwork for her story in this looked really fun, but that alone was not enough to get me to buy this because everything else in it looked so very underwhelming. Especially the story with Amanda Waller. Has anyone other than her creator John Ostrander ever actually managed to write her as a nuanced, three-dimensional character?


  4. It’s gotten to the point where, honestly, I think a Squad comic and Amanda Waller should just be retired. I used to hold out hope for a gifted writer to come along and spin magic like Ostrander and Yale did. But how many relaunches have we had now that don’t involve Ostrander? I count 4. Now, can I see an argument being made that after so many years in the trenches, Waller has become embittered/darker? Kinda like the “5G” version – she’s been doing this since the 1980s and it broke her. Sure. But we never actually got that character arc. All we’ve gotten are modern writers interpreting her that way. And they always profess to be fans of the original Ostrander/Yale series, so it’s just bizarre.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Fat chance of retiring Waller; she’s getting her own TV series. That said, as the star of her own show, she’s likely to get a bit more depth than DC has giver her of late — maybe DC will take the cue from TV and do better by her.

    As for these stories, Flatline and Red Canary were the standouts of the bunch — though I’m as in the dark as anyone on Flatline’s new powers. And I’m also surprised that Red Canary didn’t get any. But it was definitely fun to see Sideways again!

    And yep, I read this on DC’s app, and have no regrets.

    Liked by 1 person

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