Won­drous women

This week, we take a look at three books and an awe­some at­tor­ney. Three books heavy on grrl power – a lethal lady, a breezy ban­dit

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - READS - Ban­dette and Lazarus are avail­able at the graphic novel sec­tion of Ki­noku­niya, Suria KLCC. Call 03-2164 8133 or e-mail ebd3_kbm@ki­noku­niya.co.jp or visit www.ki­noku­niya.com/my.

For­ever Car­lyle is the Lazarus of the Car­lyle Fam­ily. Tasked with pro­tect­ing its lands, law, and se­cu­rity, she will do any­thing to up­hold the Car­lyles’ author­ity within their lands, even to the ex­tent of ex­e­cut­ing lowly ser­vants to prove a point.

Al­though her loy­alty to her Fam­ily is un­ques­tion­able, For­ever’s con­science and emo­tions are start­ing to get the bet­ter of her.

Col­lect­ing the first four is­sues of the se­ries, Lazarus’ first arc – aptly ti­tled Fam­ily – sets up the world im­pres­sively and in For­ever, gives us one of the most in­trigu­ing, lethal and dan­ger­ous women in comics right now (sorry, Elek­tra).

The open­ing few pages set her up per­fectly, start­ing off with a flash­back where For­ever is shot three times and left for dead be­fore get­ting up later to wipe out her at­tack­ers. Later, she con­fides to her med­i­cal ex­am­iner that the men she killed “only wanted some­thing to eat”, leading to her brother Jonah or­der­ing said ex­am­iner to keep her un­der con­trol and pre­vent her from “get­ting ideas”.

The rich­ness of de­tail Rucka and Lark have built into their world makes this open­ing arc a much more sat­is­fy­ing and meatier read than you would ex­pect. It raises all the right ques­tions, en­acts some in­trigu­ing mys­ter­ies around For­ever’s sta­tus and ori­gins, and gives us tan­ta­lis­ing glimpses of that dystopian world.

From the deroga­tory term “Waste” to the dis­mis­sive and ar­ro­gant way in which the Fam­i­lies talk about and to those out­side their cir­cle, the in­equal­ity that ex­ists in the world – the dis­par­ity be­tween the Fam­i­lies and Waste – is a point the cre­ators ham­mer home re­lent­lessly.

“There’s no point in wast­ing re­sources on Waste who can’t ap­pre­ci­ate it,” re­marks Jonah in one panel, as he sips cham­pagne in his limo while trav­el­ling through the des­o­la­tion of his do­main.

An­other in­di­ca­tion of the amount of thought Rucka and Lark have put into their al­ter­nate world is the time­lines in­cluded from the sec­ond chap­ter on­wards, where they list in de­tail the his­tory of their world, in­clud­ing the ori­gin of the term “Waste”, the global eco­nomic fall­out that caused the set­ting up of the cur­rent Fam­ily-based sys­tem, the cre­ation of the Lazarus pro­gramme, and the his­tory of the var­i­ous Fam­i­lies.

It’s an in­cred­i­bly de­tailed world that is made all the richer by Rucka’s en­gross­ing story and Lark’s stel­lar art­work (he even de­signed dif­fer­ent crests for each Fam­ily), and makes for a cracking read that is equal parts dystopian drama and ac­tion show­piece.

Im­age Comics has been churn­ing out cre­ator-owned master­pieces quite reg­u­larly over the past year, and Lazarus cer­tainly ranks as one of its best on­go­ing se­ries right now.

Ban­dette Vol 1: Presto! Cre­ators: Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover Pub­lisher: Mon­keybrain Comics / dark Horse

Comics PRESTO! Meet Ban­dette, the world’s great­est and sweet­est teen thief, oc­ca­sional po­lice helper, and prob­a­bly the best-loved crim­i­nal on the streets of Paris. Come and be be­guiled by her adorable out­fit! Be en­chanted by her quirky wit! Be en­ter­tained by her dar­ing ex­ploits! Be amazed by her loyal gang of urchin helpers!

Pre­vi­ously only avail­able in dig­i­tal for­mat, this Eis­ner-nom­i­nated Mon­keyBrain se­ries is fi­nally avail­able in print, and what a de­light it is. Col­lect­ing is­sues #1-#5 of Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover’s se­ries, this hard­cover edi­tion of Ban­dette also in­cludes short sto­ries about the sup­port­ing char­ac­ters, fea­tur­ing guest artists

as the Car­lyle Fam­ily Lazarus, For­ever is given the best they can of­fer – train­ing, tech­nol­ogy and as­sets, ev­ery sci­en­tific ad­van­tage.

ban­dette pulls off a heist that turns into a car chase through Paris, in ban­det­teVol­ume1.

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