Written by: Rhianna Pratchett & Gail Simone
Art by: Nicolas Daniel Selma
Publisher: Dark Horse
Lara was in trouble when we left her at the end of the last issue of Tomb Raider. Big trouble. “A missile being launched at the house she was in” trouble. As always, however, Lara is a survivor, and this issue sees her crawling from the rubble to fight her way out of what remains past the mercenaries that are looking to finish the job.
The bulk of this issue is action, but, interestingly, Pratchett and Simone continue to add small touches of humanization to the characters that they’re populating the book with. In the midst of the chaos, they repeatedly draw attention to the losses that these events have led to for the family of Lara’s friend, Kaz. The writing balances this very precariously with the risk of going overboard and distracting from the narrative. I appreciate the attempt to bring home the fact that this isn’t just meaningless carnage; there are people dying, and that has real emotional consequences. The only moment that actually feels like it is a bit obligatory is when we find out that two of the nameless mercenaries were engaged. The moment feels forced and isn’t worth the distraction that it causes. The book continues to be light on the actual raiding of tombs, and I’m a bit worried that the creative team risks making the character a bit too generic if they don’t start incorporating stories that are a bit more along the lines of what we traditionally expect from Lara. As with the psychological elements, the line between tradition and blazing new trails is one that’s going to continue to be essential for the team to walk carefully. As a whole, the storytelling continues to be successful, though. The current iteration of Lara works well in a reality that includes more emotional weight.
The art by Nicolas Daniel Selma gives the book a visual boost, but doesn’t really have any specific standout elements. He does demonstrate an ability to carefully keep the space that the action is taking place in well organized. We have characters moving from room to room, back again, into a basement, up again, and so on, and it would have been very easy to create a situation that was confusing for readers. The dynamics of the action are much improved over previous issues, and this is a welcome change. With a character that’s this action based the feeling of movement that Selma imparts here is going to prove essential.
As with the entire run, it’s obvious that the creative team has plans for Lara. It feels like there are aspects that they are purposefully holding back that need to enter the fray soon. It’s obvious that there are depths of Lara that the team wants to explore, and I think it’s time for them to put that all on the table and get Lara into some bigger adventures, so that we can see how those elements of old and new actually work together.