Back in the early 90’s, Tomb Raider was one of the most popular of video games. Lara Croft, an english adventurer, became a pop-culture icon, not to mention she was certainly every adolescent boy’s fantasy. The hit series spawned a long running series, along with two movies starring the unequaled Angelina Jolie. Some time after Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life and a few games that no longer excited the fanbase that made the series so popular, Lara Croft faded somewhat into obscurity. Until Tomb Raider was resurrected for next-gen consoles in a more modern way, with a focus on basing Lara Croft in a quasi-reality, it seemed as if she was destined to become a soon fading memory such as the tombs she’d famously raid. During the release of the Tomb Raider reboot, Dark Horse Comics relaunched the adventures of Lara Croft by Gail Simone. The ongoing series took off and, as with many of the great comic book titles, we are finally at a place of renumbering and relaunch, with an emphasis on giving fans ” a perfect jumping-on point for new readers!”
With Tomb Raider #1, out February 17th, we have a new story arc and series by Mariko Tamaki (This One Summer).
I’ve always been a fan of the Tomb Raider games since playing them with my cousin on the PlayStation One. I enjoyed the reboot of Tomb Raider as it played more like Sony’s Uncharted series. While Lara Croft bordered more on 90’s caricature, with dimensions and polygons somewhat cartoonish, the modern-day Lara Croft comes off more as the kind of woman we’d see at CrossFit or a rock-climbing gym. She’s right in line with Star Wars hero, Rey, and Marvel’s Agent Carter, and her adventures are perfect for the comic-book medium. Lara Croft is in good hands with Mariko Tamaki and the good people at Dark Horse Comics, and Tomb Raider #1 might very well be our new must read monthly series! As Lara’s friend Joslin says about a friend, “that chick is my effin’ hero.”
Tomb Raider #1 begins with Lara Croft doing what she does best – tomb raiding. We see her, as she looks in the current games, traversing a cavernous environment while using all of her senses to her advantage. She takes a bit of a tumble and the story jumps to “one week earlier.” Lara is sitting in on the University of Minnesota’s 22nd Annual Archaeology Conference – Archaeology: New Frontiers and it’s evident her mind is elsewhere. Writer Mariko Tamaki wastes no time in giving readers the Lara Croft we’re all familiar with (and probably love) with a well staged combat training routine. Lara rings her friend Joslin and asks “we still on?” She’s told to hurry up because “Dana’s the shit” while it’s revealed that “she’s going blind” but that she could still “kick your ass.”
Mariko Tamaki writes Tomb Raider #1 in a very real way. Sure, we’re dealing with a comic book and characters based on a video game, but she doesn’t allow that as an excuse to write a one-dimensional story. Tamaki instead gives us a debut issue and new story-arc that should rightfully hook Tomb Raider fans and those that enjoy adventure stories and strong female leads. Tamaki’s dialogue for Lara, Joslin, and Dana feels real and reads naturally. Again, the kind of women being portrayed are decidedly more of the adventurous type and the ones we encounter at CrossFit and gyms like The Cliffs and Brooklyn Boulders. It works for the story and goes a long way in the re-presentation of one of the most popular and iconic of female action heroes.
The combat skills training and sparring occupy most of Tomb Raider issue one and tie-in nicely with the start of the comic. We see Dana help Lara grow more in tune with her senses and it plays out very much like Marvel’s Daredevil. However, it never feels like a rip-off or contrived. It’s interesting to see how Lara Croft became the Tomb Raider and Tamaki’s writing helps explore these themes in even greater detail.
Of course, this is Tomb Raider and the story does lead to Lara’s next big mission – searching for a rare mushroom said to grant immortality.
Tomb Raider #1 is an excellent start to what is certainly going to be one of Dark Horse Comics most popular of titles this year. Mariko Tamaki has done a solid job with Lara Croft’s next adventure, along with delivering a beautifully rendered comic book with line artist, Phillip Sevy, and colorist, Michael Atiyeh. Tamaki’s Lara Croft is “my effin’ hero.”
Tomb Raider #1 is out February 17th and gets five stars. To find a comic shop closest to you, please visit www.comicshoplocator.com
TOMB RAIDER #1
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!
* Continuing where the Rise of the Tomb Raider game left off!
Tomb Raider #1 – DEC150047
On sale February 17.