Written by Greg Rucka
Artwork by Michael Lark
Colors by Santi Arcas
Chef’s Note: A calm and serene scene here – two people sitting on a porch, sharing some fruit, looking out at a nice vista. But once you know the background, you can appreciate the intense play of emotion occurring here. And it all revolves around the fruit.
For those unfamiliar,* Forever and Joacquim are both what are known as Lazarus – a kind of family champion/gladiator. Their bodies have been substantially augmented by surgical, chemical, and rigorous training regimes so that their martial abilities are at their peak. They live to fight for the honor of their family – so they are told.
Sharing food is a form of hospitality. It can also be a form of intimacy – and both of these are on display here as these two gladiators look for connection.
Joacquim first offers a papaya, but is careful to inquire about Forever’s diet. It is a display of surprising sensitivity and sympathy for someone who should be her mortal enemy. He knows the protocols they both must follow. It is a true peace offering. What follows, though, is especially poignant.
He offers Forever the guava – something he cannot eat. He is quite specific about why he can’t eat it: he is prohibited, not allowed – it is not a matter of taste or choice. The way he looks at the fruit in his hand shows that he would like to have some, that he longs for the flavor of it. He is offering her something lost to him, something he has sacrificed because of what is asked of him. In this way, he lets Forever know that they are alike – more like each other than anyone else.
Nicely done, Mr. Rucka and Mr. Lark – that is some excellent comic book story-telling.
Chef’s Note: Hat tip here to Mr. Booth – thanks for reminding me of this amazing scene!