Once again in search of some hidden treasure I turned to Tomb Raider in hopes of finding a pulpy Indiana Jones-esque adventure but with a badass female lead. Well, maybe this treasure is yet to be discovered and lies in subsequent issues. Lara Croft as a character has come a long way since the 90s, where her blocky strangely shaped body dashed across computer screens across the world. Through various reimaginings we have seen Lara Croft become many things, but always remaining the adventurer and the archaeologist. Dark Horse’s latest iteration is no different. The problem here is that despite the talented Mariko Tamaki penning this issue, it just isn’t that exciting. Debut issues can be difficult, sometimes they explode with action and hook readers immediately, other times they rely too much on creating exposition and set up. Neither route is necessarily bad, but I think that both need a little of the other, and despite an okay start Tomb Raider #1 falls victim to trying to pack too much in too little time.
The issue opens with Lara falling down a pit in a cavern and then showcasing her powerful sense of hearing, something that will certainly reappear later in the story. This particular adventure isn’t brought up again, but rather serves as a way to introduce Lara, but really she needs no introduction, she is a fairly large pop culture icon. Without this scene however the rest of the comic, Lara training with friends, Lara at a convention, etc would feel pretty mundane. There’s a lot going on here, the set up of some great mystery, the myth of a mushroom that can grant immortality. And once the comic gets a little into the adventure part it revs up a little. It’s just a shame that it had to happen three-fourths of the way in. The introduction of the villains at the end of the issue serve as a great cliffhanger to an otherwise bland issue.
Tomb Raider has great potential to fill the gap in Dark Horse roster, after the tragic departure of Star Wars a little ways back. Tomb Raider is a great franchise with a large following and if this comic picks up steam it could become a powerhouse. The artwork here is a little standard, nothing too outrageous, or bold which is a shame. I expected a little more from Dark Horse this time around, and was disappointed with the slow pacing of this issue. Though with Tamaki at the helm there is some real potential for this series to become a heavy hitter. Here’s hoping for some more adventures!
Tomb Raider #1 Writer: Mariko Tamaki Artist: Phillip Sevy Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: Print: $3.99 Release Date: 2/17/16 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital