Never, ever, look to see what’s in the box. It’ll never be good.
Story: Gail Simone
Pencils: Nicolas Daniel Selma
Inks: Juan Gedeon
What They Say:
Lara Croft and her friends are experiencing horrific visions in the aftermath of their ordeal in the lost kingdom of Yamatai. But those visions herald a darker fate than they could have imagined!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With the tale of Tomb Raider picking up the pieces from the game itself, it definitely provides a fun opportunity for fans of the game to get more of the story and see the fallout from it. For those that didn’t, the series is a bit of an extra challenge as pieces of it are teased out to us in order to know what happened on the island, what it means and how it’s driving the story forward here. The opening issue did a decent job of overcoming some of this and made for a fun and solid read, though there were times where you had to reread just to make sure you had the context of when and where righ. But it also had its surreal moments that made you wonder just how far out of the normal world that the series was going to go. Having the desert flooded in a big biblical way was certainly one of those moments.
Lara’s life definitely is one full of adventure in the classic sense, and seeing her handle the wave of water and working her persistent nature to try and save Jonah definitely speaks well of her. But we also see through this part of the event that she’ll do what she can to survive. Having made it through the flood and actually managing to save Jonah, she’s nearly at the end when the guide ends up helping her to that final bit of safety. But we knew from the previous issue that this guy is not to be trusted – who is when you hear talk of gold like he did – and he makes his play. Unfortunately for him, rather than finding a better way to handle it, he just goes for the simplistic angle of threatening to kill them both for what’s in the box. Which is really what he should have just done, but how many men can really just shoot someone so easily? It doesn’t go well for him in the end, but it’s another moment where you get that sense that whatever it is that Jonah has will just lead to a lot of trouble and danger.
Thankfully, answers are a bit in the offing here as the book shifts away from the American southwest to Dublin, Ireland, where through a connection to her father’s friend, Professor Chalane, she’s able to get the box and its goods out of the country and into someone’s hands that can tell her what they are. And it’s not good at all as it’s some significant artifacts that go back quite a way, so much so that his first instinct is to tell her that they must be shared immediately. It isn’t so much that the items may be cursed, but that they’re simply not right to be kept hidden. There’s a lot of meaning to them, between the gold and the small statute object, where it revolves around revenge that must be taken. This definitely paints them as some bad things to have on hand, which fits with what we know so far with it being in Jonah’s hands and what happened there – even if they do amusingly explain away the flood this issue.
What really becomes interesting for me is that we get a bit more material on the island itself when Lara ends up meeting up with Reyes, who really doesn’t want to in a way but has to do it as a must moment. Revealing what happened there on the island when the Solarii put them in containment for a bit, that Lara was completely not like herself and insisted that they all steal something from there, makes it clear that they all have involvement in what was taken. But she doesn’t remember it at all after what had happened, whether through a mental block or some other means, and that just makes her feel even more disconnected from events. It’s an interesting approach and it lets the reader be just as uncertain as us, but the book continues to throw curves at us in general, including having some of the Solarii show up to insist that everything be returned. Like the first issue, it feels less like proper story flow and more like the kinds of twists and turns you get in a radio or drama or something just to keep you on your toes.
Tomb Raider moves along fairly well here, if a bit haphazard at times that is reminiscent of your usual adventure stories that shift locales easily, I do admit that I keep running into a recurring theme with these first two issues that’s reinforced here. With the reveal of what’s in the box, I keep getting that whole Brady Bunch in Hawaii thing stuck in my head, for better or worse. It’s a tried and true story idea and it can work, but I’m not sure it will here. As we get more of the back story of what happened on the island, as we do here, it can help to mitigate that feeling a bit with more detail and expansion that shifts the narrative in its own direction. Lara’s adventure here is one that moves well enough, but with my lack of grounding in the characters (if they actually are in the game) keeps me feeling like I’m a few steps behind. I do catch up and I do make sense of it, but I’m continually feeling off. This issue is no exception.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: March 26th, 2014