Brand new university students Charlie and Tamara start their new lives at Yersin University and it looks like it’s going to be a struggle from day one. Tough roommates, living adjustments, and not to mention the infection crippling the country, canine flu. This comic is teen drama meets quarantine thriller.
Chapman’s cast is atypical of all university based teen dramas; the pothead, the hippy, the teenager with strict parents trying to turn things around and the overwhelmed teen dealing with their faith and the modern world. As the university descends into chaos the two lead characters try and maintain a grip on to their morals and their health. The story could use a bit more punch to it, and seem too involved in giving the characters heavy back stories than making the story thrilling.
Levang’s art has a pencil sketchy feel that encompasses the genre of teenage drama. Though the faces of his characters are sometimes distorted and warped, they have a childish simplicity about them which conveys the fear and innocence of the two main characters. The colouring of the comic does not fit well though, it a mesh of all manners of colours and perhaps in an attempt to give the story a chaotic and disgusting aesthetic, it instead wreaks unnecessary havoc on the eyes.
Unfortunately, I find Lazaretto teeming with tropes and cliches and it really made it difficult to love. The quarantine story has been explored several times before and this time it does not look like its future is particularly refreshing or exciting. However, this comic is only a five-part series so if you are looking for a short run to commit your time and money to, with a simple story line and an understandable level of the English language, this might be useful. It is not as elegant as other comics, but is definitely of interest to those who love contagion, quarantine, zombie plots, or a young adult audience who can engage with the teenage based dialogue.
Use of English:
- Standard English
- Bible passages
- Reduced words as is standard in spoken English, “lotta- a lot of”
- Heavy use of onomatopoeia to describe noises of sick students
To rattle- to make someone uneasy, play on their nerves
Desolate – isolated, empty
Petri dish – small shallow dish used by scientists to look at very small molecules, like bacteria
Degenerates – a corrupt person with no morals
“on the DL” – Phrase that means “On the down low”, keeping something a secret
to cuss – to use a profanity, swear word
mossy – moss is the green furry plants that grow on walls or in woodland, mossy is to be alike to the plant
cesspool – sewage container
Bubonic Plague – Beulenpest
Nope, a contagion series with heavy religious references just seems to cliched for me.
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Writer: Clay McLeod Chapman
Artist: Jey Levang
Colourist: Jey Levang
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