Review: Lara Croft and the Frozen Omen #1

I’m completely okay with this series as an idea. I’ve never had a problem with the old Lara Croft and I think the evolution of the character has been great over the years. From big boob’d gun toting archeologist to an actual character, her journey has been a long one, but a good one. With the new game reboot came a comic series filling in the time between the next game which is due out this year. That series was terrible. Because of the connection to the game and because the reboot was too fresh, the creators didn’t have anything to work with. They couldn’t spoil the new game and there wasn’t anything for new Lara to do in the meantime other than continue a watered-down connection to the first game. So what do you do when you want to do a Tomb Raider comic, but you can’t technically do one because you don’t want people to be confused? The same thing that Edios did, make a spin off starring Lara Croft and have it be the old design. If you’re unfamiliar there’s a series of platformer games starring old Lara that are also being released. There is essentially two Lara’s and one of them can be thrust into any storyline because her storyline is fucked up to begin with. Ah the glory days of video games when stories were created for a single game and if they actually got the chance to make a sequel they would just figure out some new crap with barely a mention of the previous game. That brings us to Lara Croft and the Frozen Omen. A new comic, starring old Lara and not shackled to any continuity.

Lara-Croft-and-the-Frozen-Omen-#1I like the idea of this series. I’m putting a lot of emphasis on that.

The story finds Lara retrieving a falcon for a fellow archeologist. This goes on for eight pages and has maybe two bits of useful information. It also takes place in Turkey for some reason, but then in the next scene Lara is back at the British Museum. At the BM, there’s a closed door robbery, meaning no one broken in, but something was stolen. Lara follows a hunch and trails the oldest dude ever as he leaves and suddenly becomes very youthful as he jumps fences and loses the incredibly fit Lara Croft. Then on a hunch she follows him to Belize and walks out of the airport wearing her pistols strapped to her legs…

The story takes too many liberties with our suspension of disbelief. Why Lara waits to point the finger at the very obviously guilty coworker only serves to move the location of the story. The old man getting away and yet Lara figuring out what plane he boarded is just ridiculous. She half-ass explains it, but frankly I didn’t buy it.

The story also seems confused on what type of world it’s in. There’s a mix of fantasy and realism, unlike the games the fantasy element is a bit extreme. When the fantasy part hits you’re left scratching your head wondering if science is going to kick in and explain something. It’s clearly trying to be like Indiana Jones, but it misses the mark.

The dialogue is all terrible and generic. I figured out who wrote it instantly because everyone talked exactly like the characters from Aliens/Vampirella which is another series written by Corinna Bechko. The characters barely have personality and nothing they say is realistic sounding. At times it’s an info-dump, but you’re left wondering how useful the info is. Bechko really struggles with giving any character a unique voice and Lara isn’t really Lara. She could be any character because her character that’s been established over the decades is nowhere to be found.

Randy Green is on the art and I can’t even remember the last time I saw Randy Green’s name on a cover. I like Green’s style. Sure it’s almost always considered to be trapped in the 90s, but so is David Finch’s and everyone loves his stuff. I liked Green’s art, but it wasn’t prefect. Little things like leaving an airport with guns strapped on and other little details here and there. Green also struggles with every side profile of Lara. There’s at least seven that I counted and all of them look different and none of them are that good. The backgrounds are thankfully detailed and never left bare which is a nice change of pace from a lot of comics on the market currently.

Again, I like the concept of this series, but I don’t particularly like this series. It’s way below average and it gives you the impression that no one really cared about the story. They just piecemealed a story together and got an artist that could make Lara look hot and hoped that that was enough. The problem is this isn’t a video game and having a mediocre story with good art isn’t worth the effort or time. With a video game you get to at least move the character around and shoot shit, but here… Lara doesn’t even shoot shit. If you like really safe and watered-down stories then you may like this one, but if you’re here for some old Lara kicking butt and going on adventures... then lower that expectation and broaden your definition of ”adventure.”

Score: 2/5

Lara Croft and the Frozen Omen #1 Writer: Corinna Bechko Artist: Randy Green Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 10/7/15 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital