Review: Tomb Raider #1 – Survivor’s Guilt
The Tomb Raider franchise’s reboot wasn’t just limited to the video game realm. The modernized version of Lara Croft is also making her way to comic books thanks to Dark Horse Comics. This new Tomb Raider comic book series takes place after the events of 2013’s Tomb Raider and this first issue deals with the remaining survivors.
The name of this story arc is called “Season Of The Witch” and this first issue is aptly named “Survivor’s Guilt.” Lara feels guilty about what transpired on the island of Yamatai. It was her idea to venture into “The Devil’s Triangle” and therefore she feels responsible for what happened to her friends while in that hellish place. We briefly get reintroduced to Sam and Jonah and see that each has been fundamentally changed by their experiences. Sam doesn’t want to talk about what happened and Jonah doesn’t even act like the same person.
Being that this is just the beginning of the story, this issue doesn’t exactly give a lot away. I won’t divulge much myself to spare you guys from spoilers but as a set-up type issue, I felt it did a good job of introducing us to the characters. The ending to the issue came as a bit of a surprise and definitely left me wanting to see what happens next. At this point, the big climax could either be supernatural or man made.
Writer Gail Simone does a good job of keeping the tone from the video game. Lara has been toughened by her ordeal on Yamatai but she isn’t a super hero and is still very much full of doubt and guilt. When reading this issue, I could hear the voices of the characters from the game in my head. There was no disconnect between the people in the video game and the comic book which is a credit to Simone’s understanding of this franchise.
Artist Nicolas Daniel Selma’s art is fantastic. The characters look like their video game counterparts but he draws them with his own unique twist. His action scenes flowed nicely and it was easy to follow the story. Some of the character’s actions looked a bit stiff, however, which was a kind of a turn off. That’s just a small gripe and didn’t affect the art that much. Inker Juan Gedeon does a good job of rounding out Selma’s pencils but his inks could have used a bit more balance between thick and thin lines.
I’m ambivalent about Michael Atiyeh’s use of colors. Normally, I like books that have bright and vibrant colors. However, the color palette used in this issue was in stark contrast to that of the video game. Tomb Raider was a visually dark game and its use of colors oftentimes felt oppressive. This helped to make the players feel as uneasy as Lara did while she struggled to survive. I didn’t get that feeling at all while reading this book. It’s not a detriment but it didn’t fit with the dark tone that I expected.
Tomb Raider #1 is a nice start to a comic book franchise. It drops readers straight into the action and gives them just enough to keep wanting more. The new Tomb Raider series is definitely worthy of having stories set in other media and I’m glad that this comic book series exists. I’ve invested some emotional capital on these characters and I’m looking forward to seeing where this creative team will take them.