Yamatai. The place where Lara Croft lost friends and her innocence. It’s the one place that she and the rest of the survivors of the Endurance would never want to visit again. Fate has conspired against them and in this issue, they have to return to that hellish island for the sake of one of their own.
Note: Spoilers below so beware.
Now that Lara knows that Sam has been kidnapped and taken to Yamatai, she has no choice but to go back. She knows she can’t do it alone and she enlists her friends to come with her. She doesn’t directly ask them but they volunteer nonetheless. A good chunk of the issue deals with Lara and company preparing for their voyage.
Although this issue was slower paced than some of the recent ones, I felt that it had a good sense of foreboding to it. Dread hung over everything the characters did and said. What happened to them on Yamatai deeply affected the crew and even though they were going back to the island they never actually directly said it. Even Lara notices how they keep avoiding talking about their destination even while preparing to go there.
There is a short scene with a captured Sam that I really liked. While the Solari worshipper tells her about how she is to be sacrificed for a greater purpose, Sam just laughs. She knows that Lara is coming to save her. She feared the Solari and Lara killed them all. What can these worshippers do to stop her? This scene shows how much confidence Sam has in Lara who she knows is now a woman to be feared.
As fearless as Sam believes Lara to be, Lara herself is internally struggling to remain brave. Throughout the issue she thinks about the fear she has of returning to Yamatai and how she lost who she was on the island. There is a short scene where Lara dreams of being visited by a ghost of Sam who is afraid that she will die trying to rescue her. This is of course Lara’s subconscious speaking. Her friend has every bit of confidence in her but Lara doesn’t seem to. Her dreams reflect her doubts of surviving this trip.
The entire issue wasn’t without action though. The ship that the former Endurance crew are on gets attacked by a group of unknown assailants who set fire to it. Lara has to kill in order to save herself; an act which she still isn’t comfortable with. The action here was drawn better than in previous issues but I did have a bit of a hard time following it at points.
It ends with Lara finding herself back on Yamatai. She was separated from her friends so now she is in the same position she was in the video game; alone and having to fend for herself. She’s prepared this time though. She has her trusted bow and arrow ready for what is sure to be a brutal fight to save Sam and find her friends.
This issue was a good build up issue but I do have my worries about the future. Mainly, I’m afraid of the series now treading familiar ground since it is back on Yamatai. Although I’m sure that Gail Simone will do something interesting with this, I am still wary nonetheless. I will admit however that I am curious to see how the island has changed since we last saw it in the Tomb Raider game.
Issue #4 marks an important turning point for the series. It can either go in a very cool and riveting direction or it can feel like a direct sequel to the game. We’ll have to wait until next issue to find out how things pan out.