Last month Gail Simone and Nicolás Daniel Selma wrapped up their first arc on Tomb Raider by going all-out with a story they’d spend six months developing and refining. The arc was a great introduction to the world of Tomb Raider and it followed on directly from last year’s video game of the same name, a game that lauded as one of the best games of 2013. Gail and Nico did a fantastic job following in those steps, and now that the first arc was done, I wondered where the duo would go, and whether they would return Lara to her roots as a tomb raider or not, because that’s what the character is about, at her core.
This week’s Tomb Raider #7 sees the beginning of a new arc on the series and also a change in the creative team as Rhianna Pratchett joins Gail on writing duties and Derlis Santacruz replaces Nico on the pencils Andy Owens replaces Juan Gedeon on the inks. The overall feel of the comic is very different as a result, but by no means does that reflect poorly, because this new arc looks set to kick ass as much as the previous one did, both in terms of the story and the art. I am certainly interested in finding out more how the new (and changed!) creative team is going to progress on with the title.
The new issue introduces some more flashbacks, these ones from Lara’s childhood, spent hiking with her Uncle Roth somewhere in Wales. Rhianna and Gail tell a very interesting story, tying together Lara’s deep past with the recent events of Yamatai, while at the same time an entirely new mystery rears its ugly head until is time for Lara to once more take out her preferred weapon of choice from Yamati and go dish out a little pain to people who are going after the family of one of her dead friends.
The sombre yet excitable opening sets up a tone for the rest of the issue and we find that this one is very much about connecting with the past and moving on with the present. What happens to Lara and Alisha in the first third of the comic ends up having consequences for the rest, and that’s pretty much the setup. Sure, the issue is a bit predictable and somewhat repetitive even of the previous arc, but I liked it. I would have loved for Lara to have gone all Tomb Raider for this new arc, but I’ll take what we get because this is still good, by a fair margin.
If there’s anything really confusing in this issue, it is why Lara is going after her dead friend Alex’s sister in Ukraine while some hard-case men are looking for her in Reykjavik at the same time. That really didn’t make sense to me, and if Lara and these men are going to intersect at some point, then that’s kind of convoluted?
Still, getting to see Lara act like a superspy (sort of, not quite) was still pretty damn fun. The skills she has learned over a (young) lifetime spent on, well, archaeology means that she has acquired some skills, and they are what she uses here. It kind of sucks that neither Sam nor Reyes are doing much in this issue, or look to be for the arc, so that kind of disappointed me, but I got over that fairly quickly. And that cliffhanger, well, it looks there is a bait-and-switch going on for Lara, and this might feed into my confusion as well, so I’m rather open to seeing how things progress from here.
As I said, lots of changes on the art team this month with the new arc, and it certainly is an interesting change. The entire look of the comic has changed now and if I’m honest, I love the new one as much as I did the previous one. Maybe more, since it is great right off the bat while Nico and Juan’s art took me a while to get used to. Much better looking characters this time with more expressiveness in general, and much stronger compositions as well. So that’s a good change in the end.
New characters, new mysteries, no psychopaths. Fun times. Business as usual for Lara Croft, Tomb Raider.