The situation in the housing worsens. Tamara tells Charles what Henry did. Charles is willing to try anything to escape the student apartment building. Henry the RA is going down a mad power trip. The containment unit warns of a band of infected called “Spitters.” Mary’s health continues to deteriorate.
Lazaretto shows to be a delightfully macabre and unnerving horror experience. There’s the existential terror of the students’ struggles and the unnerving slum the dormitories become. The characters are fleshed out and relatable, too, and this makes the fear more palpable. If you can feel for the people in danger, that makes it easier to imagine yourself in a similar position. The thought that all these people are young and may never make it out alive due to a biological catastrophe is disconcerting, and that makes the read far more visceral.
Charles and Tamara are characters that feel so innocent, and you want them to make it. The fact that they haven’t yet given up and the generally well-known tropes of stories like this makes the proceedings all the more tragic.
The rapist warlord RA adds a frightening element all to real to the college experience, Perhaps they’re not all Immortan Joe-esque tribal leaders, of course. But the idea of testosterone-crazed bastards who think they’re owed sex is something that feels too similar to the real college experience.
There are some cleverly subtle ways in which some characters are shown to deteriorate, from small coughs to tiny bloody tears. Artist Jey Levang mixes anime-inspired work with heavy texturing and gradient coloring to create a world that feels so filthy and decaying. It’s an environment that in itself feels sick.
Lazaretto is an unnerving and heart-breaking experience that plays upon the tropes of the quarantine stories and its endearing characters to craft a truly absorbing tale. It’s existentially terrifying, and I highly recommend it to anyone who can stomach it. It’s a masterfully crafted social horror story.
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