Group Review: Tomb Raider #1

Each of the participating writers/reviews of Comic Bastards will give the issue a score of: Buy, Borrow or Pass along with a short reason for the score. Here’s a blurb about the issue from Dark Horse Comics before we begin: Superstar writer Gail Simone picks up Lara Croft’s story where the smash hit Tomb Raider game left off—in a new ongoing comics series! Following the game acclaimed for its bold and sophisticated new vision, this series launches Lara Croft on the formative adventures that will change her life forever!

Adam: BUY

If it weren’t for The Last of Us, Tomb Raider would have been my favorite video game released last year, so I’m trying not to be biased in this review.  That said this is an ongoing series that is a continuation of the game so that makes it easier just to not base my review off the game.  The story itself was great, and I can’t wait to see where it takes us.  I was definitely drawn in by the fact that Lara sees the dead versions of Grim, Alex, and Roth in her dreams and that they want her to stay with them, forever.  Roth also mentions that they’re all coming back for her, so I’m interested to see if we get to see more of Lara’s nightmares and see who’s in them.  It definitely takes into Lara’s psyche and emotions about what happened on Yamatai.  Weird things are going on with a few of the Endurance crew survivors-in this issue we see Sam and mainly Jonah.  What happened at the end with Jonah was extremely bizarre and I can’t wait to read next month’s issue.  If I took anything away from the game it’s that nothing is always what it seems, so this series should definitely be worth checking out and I hope it will hold me over until the next game.

The first thing I noticed about the art is how beautiful the environments look.  The coloring is phenomenal; right off the bat we see Lara in a forest running away from some unnamed enemies who are shooting at her.  But that first panel we see some beams of light bleeding through the trees on a mostly overcast day.  The art just really caught my eye in the settings and surroundings more so than the characters, although the artist did a good job capturing all of their likenesses for the comic.  It should also be noted that throughout the book the art makes you feel like you’re right there with Lara, whether she’s using her trusty pickaxe to latch onto a plane suspended hundreds of feet in the air over certain death, or being swept up in a mysterious tsunami inside Jonah’s trailer park home.  I was glad to see some of the characters and similarities from the game, but even if you haven’t played it and enjoy action/adventure with a side of some supernatural happenings, this comic is for you.

Kimberly: BUY

Seeing that Tomb Raider was up to review made me feel all nostalgic. As a kid I wanted to be Lara Croft; I’d clumsily jump off the furniture trying to imitate her when she’s searching for the “triangle of light.” So, I guess you could say I had pretty high expectations for this issue

Usually, I expect first issues to be a little slow but I was totally engrossed by the fluidity of the action scenes. I was also expecting it to be a little more eerie but that’s alright I think we are headed in the right direction for that later in the series.  It was a solid first issue, it was entertaining, organized and overall pretty impressive but I can’t say I’m in love with it. Maybe, the characters weren’t quite compelling enough. I guess I didn’t feel that thrill either; usually, there’s something about Tomb Raider’s escapades that makes my pulse race but I didn’t get that this time. I do think that the issue was good but I think it’s missing something. I’d still give it a “buy” in hopes of improvement for the next issue.

Tomb Raider #1 Cover

James: BUY

I have never been a huge fan of the Tomb Raider world, but I have slowly begun to delve into it some as my son is pretty devout over everything Lara. Knowing that Gail Simone was involved, I thought, "what the Hell". I would check it out. I know very little of the world, but in reading this first issue of the Season of the Witch story arc, I found that someone like me could actually understand what was happening, not to mention, I believe that there may actually be a little bit of human qualities in Ms. Croft that look to make this title sensational down the road.

One of my big likes of Gail Simone's writing is that she is good at adding a human element to anything. She is not afraid to make legendary characters make mistakes, feel pain, and even experience fear as they go about their day-to-day lives of ass-kickory. In Croft, she does the same demonstrating her as a person who is loyal to friends, who experiences nightmares, and who even might just have some trepidation in her actions based on past events. Even so, Simone writes Croft as a woman of courage in spite of any fear she may have.

This storyline begins after a horrible expedition gone wrong in which people were killed and the survivors are racked with posttraumatic stress, to include Lara herself. She receives a contact from a member of the expedition and she ventures to the last place in the world that she thought she would find him. From there, things get a little freaky, but are done in a way to capture your attention and make you thirst for more.

I found Nicolas Daniel Selma's art to be strong and detailed, really doing a great job of capturing facial expressions and allowing for good detail. Using Michael Atiyeh for coloring was a smart move too as he makes the pages really pop here with tones of relaxation as well as intensity. The whole gambit is here and this story promises to be a very good one starting here with the first issue.

Dustin: BUY

I’m surprised I liked this issue for a couple of reasons. The first being that I’ve never been a huge fan of Gail Simone’s writing; it’s always been hit or miss with me when it comes to her DC stuff, but I’m thinking it’s just her DC stuff. It kind of makes you wonder if it’s editorial as I’ve now enjoyed her writing at Dark Horse and Dynamite. So there’s that.

The second reason I was surprised is that usually any story set right after a video game is shit. The reason being that the video game company obviously wants to be the one to tackle the next chapter of the story they created, which leaves the creative team nothing but filler to work with. Not here. I really felt as if this issue kicked off the next major story line for Lara and even if it doesn’t turn out to be as long as the game (which was probably my favorite of last year) then it still has this far-reaching feel to it. It does not come across as filler that’s for damn sure.

The art was also fantastic as Nicolas Selma brings each characters fears and anxieties to life through their body language and facial expressions. Selma does a fantastic job of making the action and danger very real and is sure to get your heart pounding.

Even if you’re like “what’s a Tomb Raider” this is still a hell of an action adventure story to check out so don’t just pass on it because you don’t play the games; you’re only cheating yourself out of a great issue.

Score: You Should Buy It!!!

Writer: Gail Simone Artist: Nicolas Daniel Selma Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 2/26/14