Lazaretto is published by BOOM! Studios. It is written by Clay McLeod Chapman with art by Jey Levang.
Lazaretto has been moving at an excellent pace. Nothing feels too fast, nor does any development feel like its moving too slow. Every issue I pick up continues to increase intensity and pace, which syncs up to what is actually going on in the comic. As things get worse and spiral out of control, the characters must think and react faster if they’re going to figure out a way to escape, which is exactly how it should be. The speed of things increases, but we are still given important character development without missing a beat. Plus, Jey Levang’s art and colors are just fantastic. I love how it transitions from vibrant purples and blues to dark and gritty reds and greens. And his style just fits this story. He gets this story.
Within the first few pages, we get (mostly) confirmation a suspicion I had about Charles for a while, which is that he is gay. And what’s great is it’s not like it was so in-your-face-obvious.
It was actually very subtle things that happened and were said in Issue 2 that made me think “hmmmm…maybe he is?” It isn’t outright said though, but it doesn’t need to be. As I said, it doesn’t need to be shoved in our face, so big kudos to Clay McLeod Chapman for getting that.
This also adds to the depth of Tamara’s character as she was raised in a very religious household and yet she doesn’t bat an eye about her new friend being gay. People don’t fit into these little bubbles we want to put them in (I mean, some do, but the majority is my focus here). The subtleties extend into Levang’s art as well. These two are quite the duo of slipping things right in front of you and yet they almost go completely unnoticed. I can’t really say much else without spoiling it, but when I got to the end, I went back and I noticed that the clues were right in front of me the whole time…but also I could just be slow.
I should have given a warning in Issue 2 about this, but I didn’t think about it and for that readers, I apologize. So I’m giving it now, this issue deals with sexual assault and so I will be talking about that here in my review. Please be aware before you continue reading the next paragraph, or simply skip it.
In that last issue, Tamara was assaulted by the RA. It was an intense moment, but she managed to pepper-spray him and get away. Personally, I thought it was a well-done scene that didn’t go over the top, but it was assault and therefore it may cause discomfort. Initially, Tamara didn’t tell anyone, not even Charles. However, in this issue, her story comes out when she and Charles are talking. Of course, he’s upset and he wants to help her find someone to help. They go to the doors where a hazmat worker is and he desperately pleads with them to listen and do something to help them. But the man refuses.
In fact, he doesn’t even seem to care about anything except the fact that they are (possibly) infected. Sure, he tries to give some advice and he does seem like a decent guy, but he doesn’t care that Tamara was assaulted. He doesn’t even comment on it. Which I think is a really good parallel about our current society and rape culture. Something else is always more important than a sexual assault victim or they’re “probably lying”. Yeah, she could have this virus, but they could also definitely do something about a student who is trying to rape women who are too sick to defend themselves.
Charles and Tamara are trying to find a way out, meanwhile, the RA is slowly becoming Jack from Lord of the Flies. Like, he and the other RAs implement a “ration tax” on all of the “fresh meat”, as they call them. It’s totally Jack and the biguns vs. the Littluns. We don’t have a Ralph though, and we don’t have an entire island to hide on. We have Tamara and Charles, and a dorm full of people who are really, really sick. And the reinforcements aren’t that useful either. Dude goes in BY HIMSELF and immediately gets overrun. Rule number 1, hazmat guy, you never go in without back-up. Rule Number 2, guy who tried to run and got tased, always wait until its nighttime and you have the dark on your side. Horror 101 guys, come on.
OVERALL SCORE: 9.5 / 10
We are past the middle and heading towards the end of our story. Chapman throws one more wrench at us right at the very end of the comic that will tear at your heart. Just by what happened in this comic and its ending, I can already tell there’s a lot in store for us in Issue 4.
Make sure you pick up Lazaretto #3 from your local comic store!