New Adventures and Interesting Directions – Tomb Raider #7 Review

GameStop, Inc.
Cover by Stephanie Hans

Cover by Stephanie Hans

Scrolling to the first page of my advanced digital copy of Tomb Raider #7 I was immediately satisfied to see that the art team ( Nicolás Daniel Selma, Juan Gedeon, and Michael Atiyeh) had stepped up and improved on the series! Look, nothing against their previous work, but the new (and to some extent, the old) Tomb Raider has such an emphasis on the harshness of the environment that their art style for backgrounds and detail made the entire book look bland. It’s one thing to be bland when you have two characters in a dim lit room talking to one another, but how can you make the iconic setting of the first game, Yamatai, look boring?

Time and time again I encountered interviews with the developers talking about how that island was supposed to be a character in itself; a lush environment that brings the players into danger and beauty. I played the game on XBox One and it was absolutely gorgeous, so to see it so badly represented was very oft-putting. The bad news is that the Island of Yamatai will likely not factor into the world of Tomb Raider anymore; the story has been tied up for now and I foresee the new Tomb Raider series to follow the old in the sense that Lara is a globetrotting adventurer not prone to have the same adventure twice. I have to accept that Yamatai is there for me to do another play through of the game and unpleasantly represented in an otherwise worthy comic book series.

Tomb Raider #7 is the start of a brand new adventure, and like I’ve hinted at in the previous paragraph the art team is fantastic. The detail to the background should have been featured in the first six issues of the series, but it’s honestly better late than never. Gail Simeone is now joined by Rhianna Pratchett and we have Lara Croft trying to get back to her normal life with a nice hike; unfortunately the hike is interrupted by a vision of someone long dead from her past. Is it all in her head? We’ll find out. It’s weird to see this story take place AFTER the return to Yamatai because Lara kind of went through a journey with her character that makes the whole ‘losing your grip on reality’ thing feel kind of out of place. She went back to Hell and came out stronger than ever, so why is she now a mental mess? That’s my only gripe with an otherwise solid issue of the series.

I look forward to Lara exploring more mysteries and actually raiding some tombs because the art team has finally gained a grasp on making the settings detailed and immersive.  The story is going in an interesting direction with Lara’s mental state, but I feel this would have been better placed had it happened immediately after the traumatic events at Yamatai. I’m still liking this series as a whole, and it’s excellent to see some improvement in areas I’ve in the past had issues with. I’m really looking forward to seeing where issue #8 will take Lara, and whether or not these visions of dead people are just in her head (I suspect they’re not).

Writer: Gail Simeone & Rhianna Pratchett
Penciller:  Nicolás Daniel Selma
Inker: Juan Gedeon
Colorist: Michael Atiyeh
Cover Artist: Stephanie Hans

 

 

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