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Review: Tomb Raider #7

Tomb-Raider-7-Losing-Her-GripAfter a somewhat disappointing first story arc, Dark Horse Comics’ Tomb Raider comic series kicked off a brand new story arc in August 2014 with Tomb Raider #7.

Co-written by comic writer Gail Simone and acclaimed game writer and long-time Tomb Raider afficionada Rhianna Pratchett, “Losing Her Grip!” (or is it “In Memoriam”?) is the first part of a new story arc that promises a return to the globe-trotting adventures of yesteryear.

I’ll admit that I’m not a huge fan of the reboot game or of the new, more “human” Lara Croft so my opinion of the Dark Horse comic series is certainly tainted by personal bias. Aside from Roth, I didn’t particularly care for any of the Endurance crew or Lara’s friends (especially Sam) so my heart sank when I saw Reyes on the cover and the word “Yamatai” in the synopsis. The cynic in me wondered if the ones losing their grip were Crystal Dynamics and their writing team. Will Lara ever leave Yamatai behind? And will she ever stop falling off cliffs?

At this point, I’d like to warn readers that there are spoilers ahead. If you haven’t read Tomb Raider #7 yet, look away now. 😉


Summary:

Lara and Reyes are hiking in Snowdonia, Wales, to pay homage to the late Conrad Roth when Alex, one of the deceased members of the Endurance crew, appears to Lara in a vision, begging Lara to save “her” (who turns out to be Kaz, Alex’s sister) and generally creeping out Lara (and the reader). Lara, who is visibly freaked out by the whole incident, almost tumbles off the edge of a cliff and is saved from certain death by Reyes.

Meanwhile, we find out that Sinister Organization of the Month (in this case, Trinity) is looking for a woman, possibly Kaz, in Reykjavik, Iceland. Still struggling to come to terms with her crewmate’s death, Lara calls up Alex’s mother and finds out that Kaz might be in Ukraine. Spurred on by a need to respect her dead friend’s wishes, Lara heads to Ukraine, sneaks past a manned checkpoint, and makes her way to Pripyat, the abandoned and derelict city that once housed the workers of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and their families before the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. But she’s not alone and someone is out to stop her from finding Alex’s sister…

Things I Liked:

  • The artwork – The artwork in this comic is lightyears better than that of the first story arc. Derlis Santacruz has done an amazing job of illustrating the action scenes and infusing Lara with the sass and bad-ass attitude we’ve come to expect from Ms Croft. Some scenes wouldn’t have looked out of place in the old Top Cow series. More of this, please!
  • The nod to Core Design’s Lara – I know Crystal Dynamics is quite adamant about reinventing Lara for the 21st century but the outfit that Lara’s wearing in the flashback scenes looks remarkably similar to the outfit Young Lara wore in Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation and Chronicles, doesn’t it? I thought it was a nice touch, a reminder that our old Lara hasn’t been completely forgotten.
  • Breaking into Pripyat – This was by far my favourite part of the comic. The Lara we see is resourceful, deadly, and a little snarky. She seems far more sure of herself than she did in the game or in the comic’s first few issues and she’s left the bow and arrows at home. This is the closest thing I’ve seen to “classic” Tomb Raider in the reboot franchise so far. Well, bar the young Lara outfit mentioned above. 😉

Things I Disliked:

  • More sinister organizations – OK, I know Trinity were mentioned on a couple of occasions in Tomb Raider 2013 and it’s clear that they’re going to be playing a role in the next game…but a bit more background would have been nice. Are they looking for Kaz or for some other woman? And who the heck is “Lucya”? It could just be down to the nature of storytelling in comics (after all, the writers need to build up suspense and get us to buy the next issue) but  it’s all becoming a little repetitive at this point. Solarii, Solarii worshippers, and now Trinity. After the last story arc, I feel I’ve already had my share of sinister cults and secret organizations. And it seems I’m not the only one
  • The Endurance crew – Urgh. Just urgh. Can we please ditch Reyes and Sam before Rise of the Tomb Raider is out? Or is Lara condemned to spend the rest of her tomb-raiding career just rescuing her friends (or their estranged relatives) and dealing with survivor’s guilt? I don’t begrudge the girl a few friends and can understand that she needs time to deal with what happened on Yamatai but I do miss the old, confident lone wolf adventurer. At least the lone wolf makes an appearance in the latter half of the comic, breaking into restricted areas and sneaking about without Sam and the rest of the gang tagging along.
  • Tombs? What tombs? – For a series called “Tomb Raider”, there really is a distinct lack of tombs, or indeed anything ancient, in this issue. Judging from the synposes for upcoming comics, I’m guessing this won’t be a problem for much longer but I’m really beginning to pine for the old comics and games. I miss the MacGuffins and booby-trapped tombs. Sigh…

The Verdict:

To sum it all up, Tomb Raider #7’s an improvement on the previous story arc and am glad to see that we’re slowly moving on from Yamatai and Himiko but I do miss the light-hearted nature and beautiful artwork of the Top Cow comics. I’d also love to see an end to stories involving the Endurance crew, especially those which see Lara rescuing people from generic evil organizations. Lara is meant to be an adventurer and archaeologist, not a one-woman A-Team. If I could sum up this issue in one word, that word would probably be “meh”. Let’s see what issue #8 holds in store for us.

Do you prefer your reviews in haiku form? Stella’s got you covered…

 

Have you read Tomb Raider #7? What did you think of it? And am I being unnecessarily harsh? Leave your comments below!


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About Kelly M (397 Articles)
A Gibraltarian-born blogger, gamer, and archaeology enthusiast with a passion for languages and wildlife conservation. Tweets under the username @TombRaiderArch and runs the official fansite, The Archaeology of Tomb Raider.

7 Comments on Review: Tomb Raider #7

  1. A “somewhat disappointing” story arc? I think “sounding like something given away with a free newspaper as part of an advertising campaign” covers it better.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad I could assist. 😉 Just to be clear, I joke a lot about my dislike of the various NPCs (except maybe Jonah, for whom I have an inexplicable soft spot), and I agree with the rest of the fans who think Lara went from castaway to mass murderer MUCH too quickly. However, I think #7 is definitely the best of the new comic series so far. The Chernobyl business reminds me of some of the crazy adventures classic Lara used to have. It could easily be a chapter in Chronicles. I’m also interested to find out how this Chernobyl storyline will set up the upcoming “Rise” storyline. But yeah…tombs. How about some TOMBS for the tomb raider?

    Like

  3. In fairness, the addition of Sam and Reyes seemed to suggest that they will be saying farewell to the comics soon. They needed to be here, so the lone wolf side of Lara was more prominent when she left them at home. This issue was a little shaky, but I am hoping it was just racing through the exposition so Issue 8 could get to the good stuff sooner. Still holding out hope lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We can only hope, eh? The covers for issues 9-11 look very promising (loving the Andy Park cover art) and it sounds like Lara will be visiting a few new places in the coming months, so I won’t give up on the comics just yet. You may have a point about Sam and Reyes. Let’s just hope they don’t randomly turn up out of nowhere to save Lara from tumbling off yet another cliff. That woman is a klutz, I tell ya…**

      ** Actually, maybe someone’s just been watching the way I play Tomb Raider. Clumsiest gamer ever..

      Liked by 2 people

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