After a slight bump here and there, Gail Simone and Nicolás Daniel Selma’s Tomb Raider has really gotten off to a great run in the last couple months. So much so that it is finally the kind of Tomb Raider comic I’ve been wanting to read from the two of them, ever since the announcement last year. Gail has done a great job thus far of shepherding the character through her post-game events, and she has turned Lara into a most interesting character, someone who is both strong and fragile in equal measure. Someone who feels complete because of that contradiction.
With her recent return to Yamatai, Lara ran into the bad guys real soon and started to discover just how twisted and demented the new villain is. But what all we saw in Tomb Raider #5 was just the tip of the iceberg, for Gail commits herself fully to the madness of her villain and to showcase the best of Lara and her friends as well. That’s where this issue really won me over, that it wasn’t just Lara being awesome, but her supporting cast as well. And Nicolás is finally comfortable with the characters, and has a much more consistent style, so that was most welcoming too.
This issue marks the end of the first arc of this comic series. It closes out the adventures on Yamatai island in a grand way that really couldn’t be better, and it also sets up a new beginning for Lara so that she can go on to many more similarly interesting adventures. As an issue on its own, Tomb Raider #6 would have been a great issue anyway. But it is also the end to a great story that wobbled a bit early on but then got really good, bit by bit. Whether Gail tackles Batgirl or Red Sonja, the Birds of Prey or The Movement, she has always been impressive to say the least and with Tomb Raider she has another feather in her cap.
In this issue we see that Lara’s friends Reyes and Jonah have followed her on to Yamatai and that they are intent on helping her out any way they can. And at the same time, we finally come full circle with the ending of the game itself and learn the mystery behind the artifacts that Lara is supposed to have had but didn’t, and which was the impetus behind the events in the first couple issues. There are a lot of twists in this story and I loved every moment of them.
Goes without saying that the best part about the comic is Lara herself, but more than that, this issue is also about her friends and about the concept of friendship. It is so great to see Reyes turned around from where she started off in this series, and that Jonah is as loyal as ever. Lara’s friends are one of her strengths, and Gail Simone employs that to the fullest in this issue. We also have Sam get tragically badass in this issue, and that was a source of a lot of excitement too. Makes me want to promise myself never to cross Sam Nishimura!
The villain Matsu is a complete nutcase, we have seen… teasers of that previously. But in this issue, he gets certified all the way, and I loved that Lara’s first major antagonist in this series is such a crazy guy. He is different from the cliched cold-and-calculating villain that such stories are usually filled with, and his dialogue and interactions with Lara were just good. No going wrong there.
With Nicolás doing the art as usual, we have Juan Gedeon on the inks, Michael Atiyeh on colours and Michael Heisler on the letters, also as usual. Apart from a few panels here and there were characterwork, especially faces, were a bit indistinct, the art in this issue is pretty great. There is a lot of action to be seen here, and all that really makes the issue come alive. The cover here is by Dan Scott, and while I liked the cover, I don’t see what it has to do with the internal story, since there is a complete mismatch there. Not sure what happened here.
Still, all in all, this was a great end to a great arc.