Tomb Raider II #1
Written by Mariko Tamaki
Art by Phillip Sevy
Colors by Michael Atiyeh
Cover by Agustin Alessio
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: February 17, 2016
Cover Price: $3.99
My first memories of the Tomb Raider franchise are of an exaggeratedly buxom young woman in an outfit that was more bikini than khaki expedition wear. Several video games and a couple of films later, I was not any more impressed than I had been originally. The stories were good, the game play entertaining, but it always seemed a bit sexist. Yes, I know that was probably the point, but I prefer to have a story rest on its content rather than mammary glands. But it’s comics like this one, Tomb Raider II #1, that redeem the franchise for me.
This comic, and several before it, give some depth to the character of Lara Croft. What was once a ridiculously under-dressed sexpot is now an adventurer with skills and credentials. Of course, I might be reading too much into it.
This new story takes place right after the Rise Of The Tomb Raider game ended. As with any first issue, this one is all about the building up of the plot. We are introduced to new characters, who are not what you would call forthcoming with information. No sooner are we made aware of a rare mushroom that is rumored to bestow immortality than the action sequence begins and we see Lara and her newfound friends begin their quest for clues to the whereabouts of this supernatural fungus. The last page is a cliffhanger, of course. I think we all expect that each time a new story begins, right?
Additionally, there is a brief side story in the midst of this all; it revolves around Lara honing her martial skills and being taught to rely on all her senses. I have the distinct feeling it will play a bigger part in the story but, as of now, it was more of a snapshot of her actually working to acquire her skills and how she accomplishes it. More to come, I am sure.
The official synopsis of this comic is as follows:
“A perfect jumping-on point for new readers!
After Rise of the Tomb Raider, Lara Croft’s adventure continues in a new comic series by Eisner Award winning writer Mariko Tamaki (This One Summer)!
Lara Croft is pursuing a lost truth about the world that just might unlock the secret to defeating death! She becomes entangled in a search for a rare mushroom said to grant immortality and a lethal new enemy that just won’t die!”
I completely agree it’s an excellent starting point for new readers. With a great story provided by Mariko Tamaki and spectacularly clean art from Phillip Sevy, this comic has a lot going for it right off the bat. While I am more often than not someone who prefers detailed art, I found that this comic benefits from the simple color schemes and relies on heavy shading to convey the visuals. I felt this really drove the prose, making the tale the primary focus.
Fans old and new will enjoy Tomb Raider #1, as it has all the earmarks of a Tomb Raider story (evil bad guys, artifacts, and Lara Croft) but with a modern, almost feminist, twist. Lara has always been an empowering figure, though often portrayed as a sexual one to appeal to a certain demographic. Having said that, she’s also intelligent and cunning, more than an archaeologist but not quite a thief. I recommend this to pretty much anyone. It’s fun and has set up an adventure that will lead to more action and side plots, no doubt. Pick yours up today at better book and comic shops everywhere!