Review: Lazarus #12
Welcome back to our ongoing coverage of Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s Lazarus. As before, if you’re keen on an insight into the creative process, you can find our interviews with the creators of Lazarus here, here and here.
When we started this project we said that we would, at least, cover a year with the book and we’ve reached that point with the release of this issue. After reflection, we’re delighted to say that we’ll be continuing on with this journey for the foreseeable future, and we thank anyone who has been reading for their continued interest.
This column itself in fact made this week’s book, so if anyone is joining us for the first time from there, welcome. Feel free to comment in the comments, or flag us down on Twitter if you want to chat further.
It behooves us to say on an ethical level, in the wake of being featured in Lazarus itself, that although the word “review” is bandied around, this isn’t the place to come for an assessment of whether or not you should buy the book – indeed, if you’re reading this without having read it already, you’re in, at the very least, for some significant spoilers. We aim, instead, to provide an “enhanced” reading experience, touching on details, thematic connections and other areas to read and explore – sometimes with comments from the creators themselves.
It should also be noted that though this is how this column operates (and we continue to thank Nerdspan and our editor for latitude in how we run it), it doesn’t apply to all reviews on NerdSpan as a whole, or even all of our own material, so if that is the type of thing you’re looking for, please do stick around and check out some other areas of the site (Stick around and check it out anyway!).
As always, spoilers abound for the current issue within! Enough chit-chat! On with the book!
The Great Man Rises
Are nations ruled by people, or people ruled by nations?
In the 1840s, Scottish writer and social theorist Thomas Carlyle popularised the so-called “Great Man” theory of history: the position that ultimately the fate of humanity and its diverse peoples and principalities was governed by the whim and temperament of a select few individuals. These “key figures” made determinations that shaped the entire world, and through their will the destiny of everyone around them was made manifest.
The Great Man theory of history fell out of favour with some as early as the 1860s, when it was made the subject of fierce rebuttal by Herbert Spencer, who stated that “great men” are the products of their societies – that their actions would be impossible without the social conditions built before their lifetimes, and constructed around them.
Throughout the 20th and early 21st centuries, scholarly and historical thought has focused on these broader social and economic forces to better understand the arc of history, but the idea of the Great Man theory has never entirely been abandoned. George Patton said that wars are fought with weapons but are won by men. We still venerate and pillory individuals as representatives of whole movements, and we still luxuriate (perhaps more than ever before) in tales of individuals gifted with unique powers to save the world. What if a time traveler killed Hitler? What if Kennedy hadn’t been shot? What if a slightly less steady hand rested on the big red button for nuclear Armageddon? These questions remain relevant because, to a degree, we still are unsure of the exact impact individual choice has on our own lives, let alone on history in its entirety. After all, there is only one history, of which we have imperfect knowledge and fractured versions to draw from.
In the year X, the American scientist and social theorist, Malcolm Carlyle, took clear steps to re-enliven the Great Man theory, after some 200 years of debate, criticism and neglect. It is a testament to the feasibility of the setting of Lazarus (man, we need to come up with a catchy name for the Lazarus future for ease of discussion. Earth X+64? Better suggestions welcome!) that the tension between popular and charismatic history is there in full force. Did Malcolm reshape the world in the image he desired, or was he a figurehead for the very real trends of balkanising nations, dominant elite and runaway technology?
This is in many ways the key question of Lazarus, because it is one of the defining struggles in the culture wars of today. Are the elite and powerful change-makers, job creators, leaders and innovators, the heroes of warped Horatio Alger Jr yarns (even if most of them go from riches to greater riches to political office, rather than ever have much experience with ‘rags’)? Or are they robber baron plutocrats, beneficiaries of a toxic reversion to the social inequity that has dominated most of history after a brief flourishing of relative social justice? Do we internalise the Great Man mythos because it is a truth of how the world changes, or simply because the narratives of egalitarianism are painful and unsustainable in a world where systemic injustice gives one life more power than another for purely arbitrary reasons?
In the Lazarus setting, the Macau Accords, and the wars that validated their declaration of power, have vested a great deal of power in Sixteen Families. With Lazarus, we have certainly seen the internecine family disputes of the Carlyle have a deadly significance for their subjects. The choices made and lies told by Family have the seeming power to shape borders and change the fate of cities – the reconstruction of LA, for example, seems to flow entirely from combined effects of the twin’s failed coup and Johanna’s quick cover-up.
To some degree, this seeming validation of the Great Man theory is a necessary consequence of the patent truth that, despite the exceptional plausibility of the Lazarus setting and its artefacts, this is a comic and a work of fiction. In fiction, it is fair to say the Great Man theory carries a primacy well beyond its academic popularity. The eternally popular historical romances centring on the fickle hearts and iron wills of the Tudors or the Julii do not generally consider scholarly arguments over whether political and religious trends in England would have driven alliance with Protestant nations sans Henry’s paternal yearnings and raging libido or whether the Rome was doomed to civil war and instability not by personal or even political forces, but by evolving monetary and fiscal challenges facing the Republican economy. The alternate histories star simple, evocative ‘butterflies’ where great men live or die and battles go this way or that, while espionage tales, modern occult larks and political thrillers revolve around MacGuffins – singular discoveries or revelations that threaten the world in the wrong hands.
There are, of course, two exceptionally good reasons why the Great Man theory often goes unexamined in fiction, even by those of us that generally reject it. Firstly, the demands of plot and pacing require meaningful, comprehensible choices and conclusions, which means those ambitious stories with spanning settings and high stakes require protagonists and antagonists to be able to make choices that encompass the scope. In more “realistic” stories, an individual’s inability to shape their surroundings may be the theme, reinforced in the world of the text, but even there, catharsis and closure usually demand some aspect of the problem or system be reduced to the personal scale. Secondly, to emotionally connect an audience with large, complex issues requires leaps of empathy from the readers, which are made much easier to deliver when those issues are symbolically represented by singular characters that experience success or defeat. As we discussed in some detail in our review of Issue #8, there are demands on good works of fiction to use metaphors and simplifications – the map becomes the territory, potentially giving the wrong impression of the artist’s view of systemic injustices and triumphs. In that sense, “clockworking” is inevitable, because in exploring larger themes creators must, always, move characters from point A to point B to show perspectives and thoughts on those issues.
The inclusion of cult of personality and interpersonal rivalry as principal themes in dealing with the fate of nations is a powerful dramatic device, and Lazarus #12 is all about carrying off that “as above, so below” pivot of the global to the personal for the benefit of the dizzy reader. The marriage of the political struggle to the glitzy high-stakes event grounds the geopolitically dangerous with the empathetic and familiar.
While the Conclave could be no less world-shaking if it were a month-long affair of grey, faceless bureaucrats generating email chains and briefing notes, it is always better to go for the throat with a Thirteen Days-esque event where everyone is in crisis mode. Audiences not only forgive but admire the dramatically satisfying alternative of a high society ball. People accept the shorthand that allows broad-sweeping influences and movements to be encapsulated into heavily worded exchanges – it adds tension, flair and drama. With that kind of premise (or indeed, this exact premise) in place, the wheels are in motion for a riveting night of upsets: romance, twists, betrayals, rivalries, friendships forged and broken.
Listen to the litany of names caught in the opening pages: Hock, Armitage, Bittner, Vassalovka, D’Souza, Rausling, Morray, Nkosi. Behold Triton One, the Armitage facility where the Conclave is being held, looking eerily like the Principality of Sealand and sharing its North Sea location, which suggests themes of international law, self-declared States and eccentric hubris. All of this is showcased with art packed with detail and adornment. Michael Lark has undertaken a herculean feat, underscoring the tension between the political and personal by detailing every attendee. This careful detailing of the personages entails the matching of faces to names, names to agendas, agendas reflecting light on carefully chosen attire and attitudes. Some of the figures are known to us, others clearly stars of future stories.
The people who command – or think they command – the fate of nations can fit into a single ballroom. Affairs of state can be determined by who talks to whom, by the right word in the right ear, by the wrong people falling in love, by the fragile being embarrassed at the wrong moment.
So, given the panoply of new faces and titles swirling around the Conclave, lets look at the so-called great men and women with the power to make a difference:
Some of the Carlyle beats in this issue are familiar reminders, like Malcolm’s ever-present cane, accompanying him even in black tie, but which he swings with a Fred Astaire-like panache, but there are added touches we cannot proceed further without looking at.
Dr Mann’s age is formally confirmed as in stasis for sixty something years. Whatever courtesy is extended to him as a Doctor (and presumptive visionary of the longevity process) is a reward for leal service more than a privilege of the lover, as it’s been made clear in interviews no such courtesy is likely to be extended to Stephen’s paramour Rihan.
Mann’s interactions with Bethany are telling too – it is the conservative Carlyle sister who pulls a surprised Mann to the dancefloor, not the other way around. Though he has every reason to be comfortable, he seems decidedly not so (note his difficulty in tying a tie), and it is the savvy Family dynast who pushes the issue.
If Doctor Mann has a function as part of the Lazarus process from the beginning, then he is certainly older than Bethany Carlyle is. Though they are now physical peers, we need to pause for a moment to consider who initiated that relationship, and the changes to interpersonal dynamics it surely must have driven.
It is a nice symbolic touch that in this issue where questions of personal vs. political power arise, the Armitages, the hosts and front-and-centre new faces of political power, are royalty. In a world of neo-feudal elites born from the Macau Accords, the Armitages seem to be, despite their weak protestations, the literal royalty of England. Bittner’s ‘Mister Armitage’ is corrected to Duke Edward by Eve – a sign of his royalty, but also of Sonja’s inexperience or the Bittner/Armitage rivalry contrasting with Eve’s familiarity and familial alliance. The impression of wealth buying titles feels in the English tradition, and the sense of continuity is highlighted by the Armitage art collection, with Seurat, Vermeer and Picasso decorating their walls (and credit again to Michael for recreating so many recognisable masterpieces as elegant flourishes without detracting from the scene in play). With the easy elegance of their reception, embodied by the formal pronouncements of their Master of Ceremonies, the Armitages project an old world charm and easy glamour, comfortable with the trappings of pomp and circumstance, inured by custom and practice to seeing themselves as a cut above the rest. After all, the transfer of art is a symbol of lost power – plutocrats and democratic governments of today display the great artworks once owned by the monarchs and tyrants of the past.
Duke Edward’s slight chagrin at being addressed as His Royal Highness, his protestations of his father’s objections seem to convey something of a false humility – a very English bonhomie that implies easy fellowship but instead comes from acute awareness of the perceptions of others, product of a British awareness of inherited class that is part of a divergent narrative to the American bootstraps mythology. The complex class awareness of the Armitages are also embodied in their Lazarus. Just as the English Family are literally royal, so too is their Lazarus a literal knight (“Sir Thomas”), and he carries himself with the louche charm that pop culture, at least, has taught us to associate with the English gentleman.
Sir Thomas certainly feels like a James Bond reference, rocking his tuxedo and using poker games to get the measure of his rivals, but that casual “Cheers, mate” which is his last line has an element of Cockney cheekiness about it. Like English Bob from Unforgiven Thomas’ Etonian elocution “My pardon is yours” might well be an assumed pose, aping an appearance that is expected of him.
“Cheers”, of course, doubles as a remark of thanks, or general approval in the Commonwealth vernacular. While an initial reading would indicate it is merely Thomas’ approving good humour, given the stage it ultimately sets for Jakob Hock, is Thomas thanking Joacquim for his part in a conspiracy. If he is a deceiver, it seems all the more likely. And what does that say for the Armitages writ large?
If the nature of the Armitages is displayed in style and sophistication, the nature of the Rausling faction is enigma. The text is replete with references to their wildcard factor – Malcolm says Arthur is forgetting them, Arthur counters with them as an unknown not able to be factored one way or another. Eve and Thomas Armitage glance across the ballroom towards them, citing both their inexperience and their own natural curiosity.
The Rauslings say nothing. Very little is given away as to their motivations, beyond the Carlyle assessment of where they’ll hang their hats for their own survival. The best picture we have is of Captain Cristof Müeller is twice-over a minority amongst the Lazari we’ve met so far – like Eve, he has a formal rank in a military structure, and like Thomas, he is not part of the Family.
Beyond that, we might know little…except for the simple touch of a few descriptors, like his willingness to emphasise his officer status, and the allegation by Sir Thomas that, full of piss and vinegar, Mueller might need to be taken down a peg or two. These little factors would not be enough on their own, but coupled with Michael’s single close-up shot of Cristof, it is easy to feel as if we have a general sense of him. The heavy brow, and the slight sneer of angry self-assurance – waiting for someone to disrespect him so he can show his muscles. His position of arrogance, though, is not only likely untenable, but the comfortable, almost patronising ease with which his contemporaries take it indicate as a sign of weakness, not of strength. The posturing that speaks of overcompensation.
Given the position of the Rauslings with their backs to the wall, it may be we know them better than we think.
This isn’t the Bittners’ first appearance. The multi-continental powerhouse Family have been around the periphery for some time as Hock’s strongest ally, and Sonja exploded onto the scene in the previous issue – but seeing them in a ‘neutral’ setting showcases their family character.
This microcosm of Bittner-Carlyle relationships plays out at the grown-up table as well. Sevara Bittner’s remarks to Malcolm are short, but the half-smile elegantly captured on her face and her desire for privacy speak to an adversarial relationship that has within it a possible basis for kinship. Could this be a mutual understanding, swallowed up in messy history and competing agendas?
Gene Wilder, in choosing to play Willy Wonka took the part on one condition. Wonka would exit his factory with a cane, Wilder proposed, and limp hesitantly towards Charlie and the other children with the shuffling gait of an old man. At the last moment, he would appear to lose his cane and execute a flawless somersault. The producers asked Wilder why this was important. “Because,” he said, “after that happens, no-one will know what to expect.”
Whilst it seems unlikely Jakob Hock is taking his cues from a (in X+64) historical actor, he certainly has mastered a similar value in appearances, for much of the same reason. We have seen Hock the cruel tyrant, and Hock the corrupt doctor, but we gain a new facet of his personality for the first time when we see Hock the entertainer. It is, of course, arrogant and malevolent, the kind of activity that might well cause him an anticipatory smile when plotting his villainy, but it is also, undeniably, a showman’s flourish. He even has a pithy closing line.
The thing about Hock’s appearances to date is that, although they have been undoubtedly malevolent, even theatrical, they have been devastatingly blunt. His own domain (which we’ve discussed at length elsewhere) has every hallmark of open brutality. That kind of tyranny often makes its appeals to efficiency. It promises the honesty of the yoke and the whip, as part of an engine to power the machine. Warren Ellis called it the distinction between the Beast and the Smiler. As Walter said to the Dude, at least it’s an ethos.
The showman is not serving some impersonal entity like the state. This is no systemic villain (or at least wholly so), the kind of personal aggrandisement, married to that kind of personal cruelty (touches like making the once haughty Jonah wolf down a drugged meal) is indicative of one thing: Hock gets a thrill out of what he is doing, out of the depravity he inflicts. In circumstances where the personal stake may speak to the fate of the world, we have to look at Hock’s smile – and shudder.
As the story progresses, the reader is reminded that not only are the stakes rendered imminent – Hock convincing a single room that he can offer them immortality, with the balance of global power at stake – but so are Hock’s methods. It is the kidnapping of a brother and a son which gives him both forms of his opportunity – the fall of a Great Man, reflected in the value of who Jonah is and what Jonah is (we only briefly glimpse Jonah in this issue, a traumatised face gazing with myopic longing at the open ocean, his arrogance and his complacency gone).
The Product of Historic Inevitability
It is an obvious historical truth that within the scope of certain overarching trends – religion, war, privation or famine, say – classist societies vest more power in a smaller groupings of so-called elites, allowing the culture, ambitions and prejudices of that class to hold greater sway. Where the concentration of that power is matched by a lack of oversight, by a bevy of hard and soft influences, and most importantly, matched by the ability to move nations not just by individual choice but by personal choice, without accountability, the more able the person in whom power is concentrated can make or break nations as an afterthought.
Nonetheless, the logical corollary is that those ‘elites’ are no less a product of their society than the Waste. The Great Man theory hinges on the idea that those who rise to the top and wreak change are exceptional and thus, for the rest of us, unpredictable. It is a uniqueness particular to that individual which has reshaped the world. If, instead, their behaviours are a product of social expectation, cultural narratives and socio-economic inertia, their behaviour can be analysed based on understanding on those class drivers and ultimately determined to be no larger than the crest of their wave.
Although most fiction would have us believe that it is the titanic struggle between divergent personalities that drives almost any form of interaction in the world the truth is that in most adult situations, inasmuch as personality conflict may drive and motivate people, individuals are nevertheless expected to set aside those differences in the service of their objectives. People don’t always succeed, but a degree of tolerance, impartiality and professionalism is at least expected enough of participants in society that to truly give full vent to personality conflict is inappropriate. Glengarry Glen Ross doesn’t happen every day, and Changing Lanes is vicarious nightmare-fantasy because we muster enough maturity to do our raging impotently.
Even in the world of politics, where backroom deals and personal favour-trading still hold significant sway, it is rare that these decisions can ultimately be said to be truly personal. Politicians are often obligated to follow the money, to tow the party line, or to (shockingly!) listen to the dictates of an electorate. While personality conflicts might underpin difficulties, or creep in at the margins, a degree of accountability ensures, at the least, that most people cannot appear to act solely on the benefits of their personal dictates.
The Families gathered in Conclave are the geographically disparate representatives of the successor States of our collapsed government: it is their new flags so intriguingly displayed above the grand ballroom. The conversation that begins the issue seems to echo every depiction of a modern geopolitical assessment, as the Families’ primacy in their territories seems to drive a realpolitik breakdown of statist interests. Malcolm’s expectations in this preliminary discussion with his advisors take a broader political tone, but as Arthur Cohn is at pains to point out in respect of Malcolm’s very real concerns about the populist issue of a Waste uprising, this is not the game at hand.
The handful of people making decisions at the top of the food-chain simply may not care about statist interest. Immortality is the prize, and the individuals chasing it care for their benefit, and their benefit only. As an aside, before this makes us too sympathetic to the Carlyles in general, and Malcolm in particular (oh, good economist-king, thinking of thy subjects), it’s also worth reminding ourselves that Malcolm doesn’t need to worry on a personal level about “cracking the immortality code”. He’s already got that locked down – the Waste are a problem he has time to focus on.
The old geopolitical saw ‘all politics are local’ rears its head. Neo-feudal norms prioritise the politics of family and clan over national boundaries, and of course those Families present prioritise the prestige invoked by the promise of their blood never dying over other interests. After all, they have been cultured to believe on a very real level that the world revolves around them.
Tellingly, Malcolm did not create the world of X+64 by having the members of the Maccau Accord go on strike and retreat to Caryle’s Gulch – he and his fellows manipulated governments, intervened in wars, sacrificed the lives of private armies and co-opted legitimate grievances. In other words, they rode historical and economic forces – bigotry, religious extremism, economic collapse and resource crises – to power.
From a bird’s eye view, or analysed through the equations of a Harry Seldon-esque psychohistorian able to track trends of aggregate crowds, this Conclave is not sudden but inevitable. Technology that can wreak vast social change will not remain controlled over a long enough time line, and a breach in security and reverse-engineering was inevitable. Securing the fountain of youth is exactly the sort of duty the Family representatives are surely accountable for achieving in the eyes of their peers, even over and above the personal benefits they anticipate reaping on success.
So then, even though personality conflicts and personal dramas seem to be at play, we turn again to the question of larger forces. Where Hock, the megalomaniac who cannot see beyond himself and his needs, has used the technology for himself and seeks to impress those in the room, Malcolm, the economist and systems analyst with an eye to his legacy must have planned for some variation of this contingency. While his plan will surely be dramatic and visceral – see the promise of Eve’s deadly mission in next issue – one anticipates that his plans focus on once more exploiting the balance of power, on how to adjust and benefit from to the inevitable.
Greg Rucka, whose statements about corporate greed, inherited wealth and collective power are matters of record, is one of those writers who can touch on the questions. This, then, is Lazarus #12. A world on the brink of war between States is driven, in fact, by a unified ambition of the privileged classes, and the victor in the struggle will be the party that has best predicted the tide of history. A thematic ouroboros whereby the metaphor of how little the ruler cares for the ruled undercuts itself, the story of the powerful people invited to the ball are in turn puppets of titanic forces well beyond themselves.
The Great Woman Rises
In the background of all this, however, there is another angle to consider. The Lazari – those living weapons ready to execute the wills of those gathered heads of state – wait below, awkwardly interacting, reminding us all of their humanity.
Watching Sonja at play, her contrasts with Eve become telling. She is modest, blushing at brazen sexual references; she does not know how to play poker; and she is easily teased by Xolani’s faux-accusations of racism. The overall impression is of an existence far more sheltered than Eve’s. The implicit loneliness of her existence set out in her debut, summarised by her staccato remarks and her tense formality is made explicit here. She is positively hungry for kinship. Her badinage with Eve contrasts neatly with Eve’s familiarity with sisterhood. The boasting and the goading is less than it might be between the two of them, instead, there is the teaching, and learning, of the best kind of siblings.
The easy affection with which Eve greets him speaks to lifelong relied upon loyalty, but Xolani’s own teasing good humour says volumes of his character. He is brash and almost overly blunt. His profanity is casual, but the truths he says with it are of themselves provocative – the easy assessment that the assembled potentates are “scared shitless” of the Lazari (and rightly so), a frank assessment of Eve’s sexual attractiveness. That brashness is mirrored in his spear-based fighting style. While you might expect a spear-fighter to keep his distance and jab from range, when called to spar, we see Xolani dart into people’s guard, his boldness and directness giving him a particular advantage. It is notable that he, not Eve or Sonja throws out the idea of the three-way match, that he offers (albeit flirtatiously) to show Sonja a trick or two. Despite the seeming simplicity of his appearance: plain white singlet, a lack of notable vocal ticks, even lacking the exotic chivalry of swords, Xolani is nevertheless devastatingly effective in getting the situation to be as he wants it.
A special note comes to Eve and Joacquim Morray – though we do not touch on the Morrays separately here, no consideration of the issue would be complete without noting the careful pacing of the moment by Michael and Greg – Eve’s insistence that the Morray’s are likely up to something at the family meeting, her easy meeting of Xolani’s flirting, but the bashfulness with which she meets Joacquim’s pursuit. She is uncertain, shy of her ability (uncomfortable, as we see in an earlier scene in her dress) but Joacquim’s confidence in her is presumably a personal assessment, and not an acknowledgement of some heretofore unmentioned Lazarus dance protocol.
He sees more to her than she sees to herself. Even if this is part of a trick (which it may be) and a customary saw in a developing romantic relationship (particularly between adolescents) it still holds certain parallels to the other aspects of Eve’s life, and forms another step in the path to understanding herself.
Greg has mentioned a pang of regret that the book was called Lazarus and not Forever but whether coming back from the dead or living for all eternity, there are technologies that might fundamentally change the human condition from their inception. It is easy enough to say that, for example, the Lazarus technology, if stolen and replicated once might be stolen and replicated again, but it does not require a word of Lazari or unaging citizens en masse to change what the human condition means, nor does it even require sixteen individuals to take on the role. Genre narratives spend much of their time dealing with the nature of power (science-fiction emperors, fantastic wizards and our old friend the superhero), but few delve into the ultimately transhuman promises of their premise.
Technology sets its own markers, driving from what has come before, but also channeling down paths that cannot be fully expected or predicted. If the force that shapes the personal drama is the broader society, then in turn it might fairly be said that the broader society is not shaped by the people within it, but the science that marches on and leaves us all in its wake. Lazarus isn’t only a drama or a political study – it’s a futurist story, and that doesn’t just mean examining the potential of where we might go, it’s also about considering the forces that take us there, and how the journey might change us into something different when we arrive. In other words, it isn’t just about canny speculation, but also about vivid imagination of out of context problems.
In our interview with Greg and Michael, we spoke of the Lazari as high schoolers at camp or on sleepover, surreptitiously and awkwardly gossiping and flirting. The gathering of three of the Lazari who are also neo-feudal royalty – Xolani, Sonja and Eve – in the gym to train while their family luxuriates in a spa nearby as a politely but thinly veiled security measure speaks both to the fragility of the façade of the social event and the dissonance in the Lazarus role.
All of this reminds us exactly how much power has been concentrated into individual hands, when the scientific discovery itself is not wielded by a particular individual but is them. While Eve relies on technical and emotional support from her Family infrastructure, it is very unclear how much she needs it. Bethany and James have made a number of ominous pronouncements about how she is exceeding expectations, which when married with super-powered youths being sent out by their parents to fight carry with them shades of Neon Genesis Evangelion and the Human Instrumentality Project. That story, like the recent Lucy, or 2001, ended in apotheosis. Eve, already less sheltered than Sonja, is becoming aware of the world around her – of the Free, and of her Family’s limitations and of the secrets of her own origin. Without knowing the limits of her power or the ends of her self-knowledge, we cannot discount the possibility that Eve herself is the first “Great Man” of history to come fully into the title.
It is in the role of Lazarus that the contrast of the personal and the political reaches its climax. Even if there has never been Great Men of history before, the speculative elements of the story subtly raises the question – are these the übermensch, combining both superior personal force and a claim on the world’s thrones? Who really has the power here – the world leaders dancing in the ballroom, speaking for their paper authority, or the smiling, sparring youths off to the sidelines, perhaps unaware of their own potential?