"Lazaretto #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by BOOM! Studios
Written by Clay McLeod Chapman
Illustrated by Jey Levang
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on October 11th, 2017
The H3N8 virus has begun to spread across Yersin University. Twenty students have been diagnosed and more and more are showing symptoms. The Pascal South dormitory has been designated a quarantine zone. Students are isolated there and left practically to themselves, which might seem cool at first, but quickly turns terrifying as the disease escalates.
There’s a twisted Lord of the Flies vibe going through this issue of Lazaretto as the RA and senior students start to exert control over the dorm. These are kids in their early twenties, free of parental or faculty supervision and placed in a quasi-position of power. It quickly goes to their heads. It’s only the second day of the semester and chaos is spreading just as fast as the virus.
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Since no one is there to tell them what to do, things get out of hand quickly. The seniors take over the top floor, forcing all of the freshmen to cram into the bottom floor. As a reminder, this is supposed to be a quarantine zone, so the building is full of sick kids. None of this is healthy.
You can practically feel the virus seeping through each page of Lazaretto. Artist Jay Levang puts a haze of sorts over every image, as if there’s a cloud hanging over them all. Every corner of that building looks riddled with disease.
The students themselves look very unsettling. Their eyes and nose are red, however in some shots they appear like they’re bleeding from these orifices. That doesn’t stop them from attending a party. This comes through the most in Tamara’s roommate, Mary, who is entering an advanced stage of the virus. She looks awful and it’s only a matter of time before she dies a horrific and painful death. Just seeing her sitting there, covered in blood and mucus is enough to make you cringe.
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The highlight of the issue is when Charles takes a pill and has a crazy reaction at the party. Levang’s artwork turns into something from a fever dream. It’s like the panels are melting on the page, floating like bizarre islands on a sea made of fizzy green liquid. Charles’ surroundings morph around him, as if he’s in a building made of flesh. There’s one panel where he’s pulled into a closet. The only thing hanging within is a shirt made of human flesh. It’s not referenced at all, but it’s so creepy.
Lazaretto will make you want to wash your hands. It shows the worst possible outbreak of a major virus, spreading rampantly among hormone-crazed college coeds. Pascal South is a ticking time bomb, only instead of an explosion, it’s going to spit out bodies ravaged by disease.