Tomb Raider #3 (Comics Review)

Dark Horse’s latest video game tie-in has gotten off to a fairly good start under the pen of Gail Simone and the pencils of Nicolás Daniel Selma. The first two issues, though not without their drawbacks, have told a really involved and interesting story set after the events of last year’s award-winning and best-selling Tomb Raider reboot. All of a sudden, Tomb Raider and Lara Croft are back on people’s geek maps, and it is a good thing. Lara has long been a popular character and as far as I’m concerned, Gail and Nicolas have done nothing to take away from that, they have only added to it with the work they’ve done so far.

In Tomb Raider #3, we continue to see more about the revelations from the last issue and the cult of the Solarii that is rearing its ugly head again after the climax of the game. What Gail does best is add in a lot of backstory to these characters, which works extremely well for me since I haven’t really played the game (just for an hour or so in the beginning!), and so I’m not really familiar with either of them. And Selma’s art remains consistent, if nothing else, so that’s a plus as well.

Tomb Raider 03The issue starts off with some backstory about Reyes and her partner Roth, who were with Lara when their ship sank and they were forced to survive for a long time on a hostile island, as the game showed. We see how these two first met and then later we see how Reyes’ relationship with Lara even in those days was… cool, to the point that Reyes didn’t really care about Lara but was more concerned with her beau. Which is fine really. It means that Reyes is not someone who follows Lara around blindly and makes her own decision. And that literally happens in this issue, which was pretty great.

Mostly this issue deals with Lara and Reyes’ current predicament, what with the cultists threatening them and their family and friends. It is a pretty intense issue, all things told, and that’s one of the best things about it. There are lots of character moments here and that’s for the best because Gail deals with each in a different manner and she mixes up things really nicely with some small bits of action. One thing I found odd was that she keeps getting ambushed, but then I thought about it from another angle and realised that it could also be a reference to how closely the cult is following her every move and how many bodies they have on the ground.

Basically, Lara is caught in a very big web and it is a struggle for her to get out of it.

As I said, there is a lot of character development in this issue. We start off by seeing how the relationship between Reyes and Roth developed. Then we see how Reyes interacted with Lara aboard the Endurance before it sank in a storm. And through it all, we get to see more of the character who appeared to be inordinately hostile last issue. It was pretty damn good. And then we continue to see how Lara deals with these situations, her flashes of brilliance and more, her improvising on the spot. It all adds to who she is and what she is. But at the same time, I’m ready for a significant shift in the story since her selective amnesia is getting a bit old now. That is what I would love to see next issue, and hopefully Gail will deliver on that. I’ve got my fingers crossed for that.

Nicolás Daniel Selma’s art, as I’ve said, still suffers from the same problems as the previous issues. While his characters are very expressive, the expressions themselves are not conveyed very well, and mostly it just looks like their faces warp. There are few examples of proper expression-work in the issue. His character work is much better but even there, some problems exist and his character’s don’t seem to fall into natural poses as much as they should. Still, I liked the art. Juan Gedeon’s inks are a bit thin here and there but the real champion is Michael Atiyeh with his colours, which were excellent. He really makes the art look special despite any deficiencies.

Overall, while there are still a few things that I don’t like about this title, it still has far more positives than negatives and I remain hopeful as ever that these are ironed out soon.

Rating; 8.5/10

More Tomb Raider: #1, #2.

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Posted on April 25, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

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