This latest volume takes the story in two different directions and timelines, which ultimately converge in the end. With the present-day scenes the focus is on the Carlyle-aligned families assault on Western Europe. In the past, we see what happened to Forever after she was brought back from her successful but costly battle in Duluth. The present-day scenes do a nice job of flipping the script on the battle as seen in the previous volume. Where vol. 4 showed Carlyle and co. facing near defeat, this time we see them pressing their advantage to the fullest extent. Until the end of the volume that is, leaving us with not quite a cliffhanger but some nasty unfinished business that’s not going to sit well with me until vol. 6 arrives.
While the present-day stuff is good, the flashbacks are better as there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes drama playing out in Family Carlyle’s compound. Forever not only has to contend with her physical rehabilitation but her growing feeling that she’s not really a member of the family she has been raised to be a part of. As a reader, it’s hard not to be sympathetic to her plight since we know that her replacement clone is being trained at the same time. This is something that Johanna Carlyle, acting head of the family, has to deal with herself in addition to her current business of trying to win a war and dealing with her father, Malcolm, who has finally regained consciousness.
I’ve enjoyed seeing Johanna work her way to the top of Family Carlyle and there’s more fun to be had as she matches wits with Malcolm as he tries to gauge her worth himself. What’s different here is that I think I can actually start rooting for Johanna to succeed in her agenda as she makes it clear that she’s not happy with the way things are right now. How do we find this out? Well, that’s another reason I’m pulling for her as she takes a decidedly unorthodox, for the story and the genre, approach to addressing Forever’s trust issues with the family. It’s that kind of clever plotting which I’m hoping to see more of in the interim miniseries “Lazarus: X+66” as Greg Rucka and Michael Lark get things together to deliver the issues of vol. 6 on a *crosses fingers* monthly basis next year.