Story: Corinna Bechko
Art: Carmen Carnero, Andy Owens
What They Say:
Ancient artifacts are being collected by cultists planning to cause a natural disaster of world-ending scale! Lara must call on former rival Carter Bell’s expertise to stop them, and together they’ll face danger, action, and adventure like never before!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The opening installment of this miniseries wasn’t a bad thing all told with what it did in establishing the events going on. I liked that it certainly felt like it connected to the ongoing series we had for awhile as there was a solid feel for Lara within it and this that felt right. The story didn’t grab me strongly from the get go, but it has a few installments to work things through. With this one, the art team shifts a bit as we get Carmen Carnero on board while still having Owens on inks and Atiyeh on colors, so there’s some consistency to it all in that sense. The downside is that while Carnero’s artwork is solid, the story feels like it’s not altogether there.
Part of this just comes from the normal fact that with adventure stories like this you always feel a bit behind with what it’s up to, just along for the ride and not sure how it will progress. With action movies of a similar nature you can ride out the two hours it runs and see how it all comes together. But in comic form, one weak installment can turn you off from continuing on, especially as it often feels like you never sync up with it again after that. The opening installment put Lara in a decent place in trying to figure out what’s going on with the cultists and the ivory connection that she had and it lead to the start of her world travels. Travels that now has her trying to get out of a plant-trap and save Jon along the way. It turns deadly quickly and we get to see the extent of the plants and what their capable of in how it takes control of someone that’s come to check on them in order to gain back the ivory. Suffice to say, where Lara goes a trail of bodies tends to flow behind her.
The book shifts gears from there, having lost the ivory, to trying to unearth more clues about what’s going on. That has Lara heading to Istanbul to talk with Carter Bell, a rival of hers (or so we’re told) that dishes a bit on what happened back at the museum that caused her life to go off the rails. It’s pretty exposition heavy – even when on the run – but it provides some of the foundation of what’s going on. But it just doesn’t click well and feels forced with what it’s doing. Carnero certainly keeps the action flowing and I like their take on the layouts for it in making it feel like it’s moving forward and with a sense of danger and fear to it. Carnero also gets to illustrate a couple of one-off pages involving the bigger background mystery with our horned villain lurking in the shadows and what’s being sought for him, but these story elements feel so out of place and disconnected that it’s hard to invest in them, causing it to slow the book down more than anything else.
At the end of the second book I find myself uncertain about what’s going on. It touches upon elements from the first, but the first made little enough impact with the story at hand that there doesn’t feel like there’s anything here to invest in either. And for an adventure book it really needs to have a sense of meaning to it so that it’s more than a series of set pieces. The exposition itself even feels disconnected in a way as I’m still not sure what exactly is going on here beyond mystical ivory that makes people kill. It’s certainly not demanding that new installments be read though. I’ll be curious to see if it can tie things together by the end of it and whether it makes more sense as a full work rather than as single installments.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: November 4th, 2015