The Makings of a Monster in Lazarus X+66 6

by Drew Baumgartner

Lazarus X+66 6

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Comics tend to make a big deal about the prosocial mission of superheroes. That is, their origin isn’t just about why they can leap tall buildings or outrun a bullet, but why they choose to use those powers to protect innocent people. It’s interesting that creators emphasize this point — the choice to don a cape and charge into a burning building is a certainly a remarkable one, but it’s also understandable. That is, even if we don’t all have the courage and strength to do those things, we immediately grasp the desire to help people. Villains, on the other hand, demand a much more thorough explanation — if stopping a massacre is remarkable but understandable, causing a massacre is both remarkable and baffling. Creators are rarely up to the task, vaguely suggesting an overgrown thirst for power or money, but never quite convincing us how those things add up to a homicidal maniac. Those creators would do well to check out Lazarus X+66 6, which offers an origin for the Zmey that covers both his superhuman abilities and his monstrous psychology. Continue reading

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The Press Finds a Way to be Free in Lazarus X+66 5

by Drew Baumgartner

Lazarus X+66 5

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.

Thomas Jefferson

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. Continue reading