- Script by Rhianna Pratchett & Gail Simone
- Pencils by Derlis Santacruz
- Inks by Andy Owens
- Colours by Michael Atiyeh
- Letters by Michael Heisler
- Cover by Stephanie Hans
Having finally tied up lose ends on the island of Yamatai Lara Croft is feeling sentimental this month and paying tribute to friends lost during all her recent trouble. But of course this is ‘Tomb Raider‘ so where Lara goes trouble is not far behind culminating in a trip to the Ukraine.
Most of this issue is set on the hillside of Snowdonia in Wales, not looking Welsh enough for me having lived there and visited Snowdonia many a time, as Lara takes a hike haunted by the ghosts of her past. The scenery is beautiful but the scene itself it a little too forced to be British with references to Monty Python and the weather but still it works as a jumping off point for this little adventure.
The story quickly moves in to creepy territory as Alex, who you might remember died on Yamatai, appears out of the ground to spook Lara out. It remains to be seen if this is really a supernatural experience or whether Lara is suffering from PTSD from her experiences. It would make a great emotional arc for the series to show the emotional toll of her losses as this is rarely investigated deeply in either the games or comics until more recently.
Meanwhile in Iceland and the Ukraine there’s trouble a brewin’ for Alex’s sister and due to said guilt Lara is dragged in to trying to help her.
Amazingly for a more low key issue there’s still a fair amount of action in this issue, between falling off ledges and scrapping in the woods with soldiers and wolves Lara is having adventures even when she’s not raiding tombs. The pacing is a little different than the Yamatai arc and it’s a little all over the place in this issue but that seems more to the speed at which Lara has to be thrown in to her next adventure more than bad writing.
What is clear to read is that Gail Simone has a lot more empathy for Lara’s character than previous writers from past iterations of the comics. Where in the past the comics would focus solely on the adventures and the more fantastical elements of the franchise Simone has really grounded Lara in reality much as the games are trying to do with the current reboot. Lara is finally starting to feel like a real human being which makes it a lot easier to care for her.
In all my past reviews of this series I’ve discussed the minimalistic artwork and how it has set ‘Tomb Raider‘ apart from other series, well this month artistic duties have been taken over by Santacruz, Owens and Atiyeh and the series could not look more different for it.
Gone are the bare panels and sparse facial features, ‘Tomb Raider‘ is now bursting at the seams with detail and at times it’s a little hard to swallow. Faces are full and expressive and landscapes are sprawling and littered with eye catching details. There’s a real grime to the climb up Snowdonia as Lara gets dusty and Alex’s corpse rising from the ground is covered in earth. It’s a complete 180 degree change from the norm. It makes the book more generic but the artwork is still nice to look at and adds a great new dimension to the series.
This is only the first part of a new arc with little setup for villains or potential tombs and supernatural elements to be contended with so all-in-all it’s a quiet day at the office for Tomb Raider. Check it out but be prepared to be a little underwhelmed in the build up to the next big story.