by Drew Baumgartner
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.
I think it would be difficult to overstate how much the founding fathers valued a free, independent press. In their minds, it was an essential check on power, providing the citizenry with vital information about the actions of the government. In that way, the press can be framed as an antagonist of those in power, but only when the actions of those in power are at odds with the will of the people. Unfortunately, recent cults of personality have made certain people more inclined to root for those in power rather than the citizens, managing to tar the press as the enemy of the people. At the same time, news sources have become increasingly consolidated and corporatized, calling into question exactly how “free” and “independent” the press truly is. As ever, the world of Lazarus exists in the space made by playing out these trends to their logical conclusion, creating a world where the press is intended as the PR arm of the family, even as it’s made up of people who are deeply suspicious of them.
Actually, we don’t see enough other dogged investigative reporters to know how suspicious the press is generally, but Seré Cooper is skilled (and connected) enough to pose a real threat to the Carlyles. After her story on Sir Thomas and the Allies in Europe was spiked, she was knocked down to the society beat. But, you know, you can’t keep a good reporter down. A hot tip lands her a story her bosses would love, but also leads her down a rabbit hole they’d hate: she knows Jonah Carlyle is still alive.
It’s a bit of information we’ve had for a long time now, but with neither Forever nor Jonah wanting that information to come out, it’s seemed unlikely (however inevitable) that it would come to light. Who would have thought that Carlyle’s own press would uncover the story?
Ironically, Seré probably would have never been on this trail if she hadn’t already been in the doghouse, so it’s easy to see this investigation as the direct result of the family’s attempts to quash unflattering stories. Her instincts can’t be bound by these myopic restrictions.
Artist Bilquis Evely joins writers Greg Rucka and Eric Trautman for this issue, and is a great fit for the intrigue — and Seré’s attitude. It’s hard not to see Seré as Lois Lane, but she’s definitely the best Lois Lane — a tireless investigator with an incredible nose for a story. Unfortunately for her, she also has Lois Lane’s penchant for getting into trouble. In any case, Evely’s focus on Seré’s face keeps us locked into her emotional journey throughout the issue, keeping us at the edge of our seat, even as we knew the answers she was looking for.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?