Advance Review: TOMB RAIDER #1


Written by Mariko Tamaki
Art by Phillip Sevy, Michael Atiyeh, Michael Heisler
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: February 17, 2016

I’m not looking to hide anything. I love Lara Croft. What’s not to love about her, especially since her recent design reboot a couple of years ago? She’s smart, loves adventure,is  compassionate towards others, and boasts athleticism to die for (and alas, many have). Since the release of the recent Tomb Raider video game, I’ve been trying to get my hands on my Lara Croft story, since her adventures on the treacherous island of Yamatai. This fresh start to Tomb Raider is no exception. Even though this may be a first issue, it continues the adventures I’ve recently cherished.

In this tale, Lara Croft is still reeling from the repercussions of her dangerous voyage overseas and trifle with the supernatural. Her friends have stuck by, but things are hardly normal. When Lara runs into trouble and crosses paths with a dying, diseased professor, her adventure begins.

This first issue jumps right into the supernatural, something I’ve always found wonderful in Lara’s world when done subtly and with something left to the imagination. Tomb Raider #1 broaches the topic with ambiguity, opening the mind to the mystical while allowing space for the scientific. Mariko Tamaki, new to the Tomb Raider franchise, has perfectly captured the whimsical and action-oriented style of the series. With it, she has brought her knack for fun dialogue and realism, something this series has always required to ground it. I quite enjoyed the dimension Tamaki adds to the character, by showing her in training and building upon her already vast skill set. The story begins with action, and is relatively quiet until the end, but the pacing is overall pleasing and interesting enough to keep me turning pages.

The art by Phillip Sevy in this issue is strong. I found Lara immediately identifiable, fully equipped to look like a bad ass while remaining gentle and kind looking. The action was easy to follow panel to panel, and the style of the inlaid circular panels really utilized the medium in an insightful way. The backgrounds were relatively plain, which made it easy to follow characters around the page, but it would be nice to see a little more variety in the settings. Overall, however, this is one well-polished book. The colors are warm and pleasing to the eye, giving off the appropriate depth and tone to each page. In fact, the Michael Atiyeh’s colors add to the mystical mood of this issue, bringing a touch of bright color to add to the aesthetic of each page.

Tomb Raider #1 is a strong start to what I hope will add another excellent chapter to Lara’s everlasting tale of adventure. I’m not entirely sure why this is starting in a new volume, and I don’t particularly think this is the best jumping on point for new readers. Fans of the current games will probably be fine in navigating the stories, but this first issue relies on knowledge of characters and events from both the comics and the games. I wish a little bit of time had been spent introducing Lara’s close knit group of friends who comprise the supporting cast of this book, as well as some overview for new readers.

If you’ve enjoyed what Tomb Raider has offered in previous issues, you’ll continue to enjoy this series. This first issue boasts the classic action that makes Lara Croft fun, and it’s beautifully packaged with fantastic and energetic art.

The Verdict: 8.5/10


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