I’ve never played a single Tomb Raider game before in my life, not even the newest one that came out last year (I lack the system to play it and my computer is not updated enough to run a game like that). However, I do know the story of the recent game, which this comic series is a sequel to (thank you, Let’s Play and summaries online), so I am ready to read it anyways. What does it have in store? Is it good?
Tomb Raider #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
It’s been a while since the events that happened on Yamatai Island that killed most of the crew of Endurance. A still young Lara Croft is still suffering nightmares about what happened and is trying to move on with her life despite this. However, she gets a call from one of the survivors of the events, Jonah, and goes to meet him about somewhere in the desert. What could it be about?
Ah, the memories of the last game. Good times.
This initial first issue was ultimately okay. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it doesn’t really excite you or get you very invested, although the amount of investment you would have in this would most likely depend on how much you liked the characters from the game to begin with. If you didn’t care about them or you didn’t like Lara’s characterization in the game, then this will not change your mind. Speaking of which, this is really a direct continuation of that last game, so playing it first is very essential for getting the most out of the comic. After all, there’s not much in the way of characterization, introduction into the characters, or an explanation of the backstory within the actual comic. Writer Gail Simone just assumes you have played the game already and know all about that information, making little attempt at explaining or going into detail about those elements.
Otherwise, besides the dependence on the game, the comic is entertaining. It comes to us in three parts: the dream sequence, the slow bit between Lara and Sam, and Lara meeting with Jonah. The scenes are fine and there’s nothing wrong with them, each having purpose and importance to the story; but they are not very exciting (the last scene picks up towards the end, but that’s it) or engaging. The dialogue and narration is alright, but it gets odd and stilted in the final act and comes off as a bit unnatural. It’s paced decently, but decompressed in other areas (like the dream sequence for the most part is that). It gets an interesting mystery and plotline going towards the end that has potential for the arc on the plus side. It’s just not the most exciting start for a Tomb Raider comic.
Nicolas Daniel Selma’s artwork is kind of like the writing: perfectly alright, but that’s about it. Characters look like the characters from the game (facial expressions are a mixed bag though) and there’s some decent imagery to it, especially towards the end. However; the layouts, backgrounds, and some of the locations are very boring with the lack of detail or how they feel so empty. The coloring is also okay, but some of the colors are rather flat and dull looking. This book is really not going to stand out much based on its artwork alone.
Is It Good?
Tomb Raider #1 is merely okay. It’s competent and gets the job done, but nothing really jumps out about it or is all that memorable (at least until the end somewhat). Also, the comic is also rather dependent on the fact that you have play the recent game and know most of the backstory. Perhaps it’ll get better as time goes on, but at the moment, it’s rather lackluster and forgettable.