Tomb Raider #5 (Comics Review)

It really shouldn’t have been a surprise to me last year when Dark Horse announced last year that it was going to be publishing a sequel comic series to the year’s top game, Tomb Raider, considering how strong their tie-in comics are and how varied as well. And true to expectations both Gail Simone and Nicolás Daniel Selma delivered wonderfully and made the new comics series a must-read for any given month since debut. While Gail’s writing has been as great as ever, Nicolás’ art has been a bit rocky but still very enjoyable.

Last month’s Tomb Raider #4 saw Lara return to Yamatai Island, setting in motion the events that happened in this past week’s Tomb Raider #5, where we really got to peek into Lara’s past and saw how her friendship with Sam Nishimura began. This might be the best issue of the series for precisely this reason, that we get to see Lara before she was Lara Croft the Tomb Raider and that we have on hand the basis for a solid friendship between two women in comics. Gail definitely excelled herself with this issue and Nicolás’ art too was impressive.

Often when you read talk of women in comics you read that there aren’t all that many good examples of friendships between two and more women. This is particularly true of superhero comics, which are largely a male-dominated genre. But at the same time, we have some great examples of this very thing: Dinah Lance and Barbara Gordon, Natasha Romanoff and Jessica Drew, Jessica Drew and Carol Danvers, Kara Zor-El and Barbara Gordon and so on. In the two years that I’ve been back into comics, these relationships have really drawn me in and given me a lot of food for thought. And I’m quite pleased to say that after all that Gail Simone writes in Tomb Raider #5, Lara Croft and Sam Nishimura are on the same pedestal for great examples of two women being solid friends in comics.

Since I am not one of those readers of this series who have played the video game, an issue like this proved to be most illuminating. After all, just being told that Lara and Sam are great friends doesn’t work if there’s no evidence to back that up, and that is exactly what Gail Simone did in this issue. She gave the reader a reason to buy into this friendship and showed how and why it is like it is. Two different women, one a shy introvert and the other a vivacious in-the-moment creative. Perfect mix for great narrative opportunities.

Everything runs in concert with each other in this issue and it is very much Gail Simone becoming fully comfortable with the characters. Where Lara flailed around a bit in the earlier issues, now she is much more confident and more decisive and more action-oriented. She doesn’t have all the pieces of the puzzle and she’s not so worried about that angle anymore. She cares about her friends and that’s that. That’s what it all comes down to, making the sacrifice play for someone you care about.

We also finally learn more about the men who have been hunting Lara and her surviving friends from Yamatai and that proved to be most illuminating as well, in addition to being helluva creepy there towards the end. It is as if whatever Gail has been building up to is about to be revealed and I really can’t wait to find out just what it all is.

If there’s any negative to the story is that there was a slight confusion in the middle of the comic, with respect to the antagonist tells his followers and what they end up doing. That just didn’t make sense since they do exactly what he tells them to NOT do, and his orders are confusing as well.

Nicolás is the penciller here with Juan Gedeon on inks, Michael Atiyeh on colours, Michael Heisler on the letters and Brian Horton on the cover art. As I’ve mentioned before Nicolás’ art can sometimes lack detail and that’s certainly true here, but a lot of his panels in this issue are just stunning. My favourite is the collage page which has polaroids from Lara and Sam’s trips all over the world after they met at sometime in college. Nicely captured. And Nicolás’ action scenes are impressive as well. Of course, Juan and Michael A. also get a lot of credit here for the inking and colours, their work being very complimentary to Nicolás’. Plus, that cover by Brian is just stunning. The best cover in the series so far, I dare say!

A great continuation of a great series!

Rating; 9.5/10

More Tomb Raider: #1, #2, #3, #4.

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Posted on July 1, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

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