Tomb Raider #8 (Comics Review)

After handily wrapping up the first arc on Tomb Raider, Gail Simone teamed up with Rhianna Pratchett for the second arc that, last issue, took her to Chernobyl to help Alex’s sister Kaz with whatever trouble she is having. It was a slightly confusing issue to be true, but it was also quite fun since the creative team was intent on keeping things fresh and presenting Lara with new challenges and new direction. The art also seemed to improve, so that isn’t something that I’m going to complain about. Yeah, I liked the previous art as well, but the new style is definitely cooler.

In Tomb Raider #8, we see more of Kaz’s backstory and learn a lot of things about her that we didn’t know before. In the previous issue, it was all about getting Lara to witness Alex’s ghost rise up and warn her about Kaz and then Lara getting all the way up to Chernobyl before things really went south for her. Now, we see the beginnings of some real meat of the story, and that was most welcome. The action overall is rather static, in that everything takes place in a very narrow location and that was a slight shock but still, I liked the story here well enough and the art was great as before.

After handily wrapping up the first arc on Tomb Raider, Gail Simone teamed up with Rhianna Pratchett for the second arc that, last issue, took her to Chernobyl to help Alex’s sister Kaz with whatever trouble she is having. It was a slightly confusing issue to be true, but it was also quite fun since the creative team was intent on keeping things fresh and presenting Lara with new challenges and new direction. The art also seemed to improve, so that isn’t something that I’m going to complain about. Yeah, I liked the previous art as well, but the new style is definitely cooler.

In Tomb Raider #8, we see more of Kaz’s backstory and learn a lot of things about her that we didn’t know before. In the previous issue, it was all about getting Lara to witness Alex’s ghost rise up and warn her about Kaz and then Lara getting all the way up to Chernobyl before things really went south for her. Now, we see the beginnings of some real meat of the story, and that was most welcome. The action overall is rather static, in that everything takes place in a very narrow location and that was a slight shock but still, I liked the story here well enough and the art was great as before.

First and foremost, we get a lot of backstory in this issue, which is one of the things that I wanted to see in this arc when it got underway. Some things don’t quite make sense timeline wise, such as how Kaz is aware of Alex’s fate and in reverse how Alex’s ghost is “aware” of Kaz going missing and what the man looking for Kaz in northern Europe is doing there when it seems that Kaz already knows about him being there or something. Confusing, like I said.

But you look past that and focus on the characters as they are, that’s when the strength of the issue really comes through. We learn a lot about both Kaz and Lara in this issue, particularly the former who was the unknown quantity for me when I started on the new arc. We learn of her relationship with her brother, his relationship with her, and their relationship with Lara in turn. Kaz hates Lara because Alex died on a mission with her and that deep-seated resentment really comes through with the characters here.

It all forms part of the character tension that can be found in this issue. Since there aren’t any psychopathic killers or cultists around, it means that the story can focus on the characters good and proper. I liked Kaz. Her relationship with Lara is really screwed up right now, but there are some signs of it easing up as the issue progresses, so there is some general progression of the story and that was more valuable than anything else.

Derliz Santacruz is the penciller here, with Andy Owens on inks, Michael Atiyeh on colours and Michael Heisler on the letters with Stephanie Hans turning in another beautiful cover. No real negatives here. The book is divided into two sections, the first dealing with flashbacks involving Lara, Sam and Alex and the second deals with the present as Lara goes to Kaz’s help. The stylistic differences between the two sections underscores the differences in the setting, that is, the story and the artists capture the moments just right.

This is a good follow-up to last month’s issue and I’m looking forward to learning the identity and purpose of the villain who is hunting both Sarah and Kaz.

Rating; 8.5/10

More Tomb Raider: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7.

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