Dark Horse’s Tomb Raider has undoubtedly been a great series since its debut earlier this year. Under the pen of Gail Simone and the pencils of Nicolás Daniel Selma, the series has thrived as it went on, and recently, with Rhianna Pratchett joining Gail, we’ve seen some more fun stories come to the fore, though Lara has remained as she has always been, even as the world around her has gotten larger and larger. The recent arc, while a fairly good one, wasn’t without its drawbacks and as the series moves into a new arc, time to see whether the kinks are going to get worked out.
Tomb Raider #11 picks up a bit after the previous issue left off, and we see that Lara is back in London and working with her friend Jonah in a theatre production, Pride and Prejudice no less unless I’m mistaken, and things are not working so well for her since she’s a terrible actor. All of this sets in motion some new stuff for the character, which brings in another villain in her orbit, and it remains to be seen whether this new villain is going to be the all-out crazy variety or something else.
Going by the internal content, the story has absolutely nothing to do with the artwork or the proposed solicits. They just don’t match as they should, though the relation between the covers and the story as been tenuous at best, not that the covers haven’t been great. They have been pretty amazing actually and Dan Scott’s latest is just another in what I’d call a great tradition for the series.
As I said above, Lara is back in London and working as a lead actress in a play that Jonah is putting on. That’s some crazy fun right there since she is a terrible actor and her scenes while she acts out her lines and everything are just hilarious. Some great, fun dialogue too, keeping things fresh and easy. After all the high-handed things of late, the character could definitely do with some time-out for sure, and the opening of the new arc looks set to provide just that, which is fine with me. She has more than earned it and deserves every moment she gets.
This issue has Lara socializing with her friends, old and new, and it is so great to see all of that after all the horrible, murder and nuclear nightmare thingamajigs she has gone through. The scenes where she tries to bond with the other lead on the show, a girl named Andrea, really helps to set a strong tone for this issue, and indeed the whole arc as well. Dial down the serious, amp up the fun. Perfect in my book.
The only thing that I think that this new arc could improve upon, is showing what Lara Croft actually does. She’s not a globe-trotting fashionista or anything. She isn’t an actor. She isn’t someone who is at home in cities and bars and what not. She’s an archaeologist who goes into some of the most dangerous places in the world looking for treasure and myths and fables. If the series can start reminding readers of this core concept about the titular character, then I think that the series can really get on track and be something incredible.
I won’t deny that all this background stuff with Lara hasn’t been fun. It has. I’ve loved it since the start, even though I had to get over the fact that I’ve never played the game so I don’t have the same kind of background on the character. But then that’s the thing. That’s still how I identify Lara as, a Tomb Raider.
Daniel Selma is back in the artist’s saddle for this new arc it seems, with Juan Gedeon on inks, Michael Atiyeh on colours and Michael Heisler on the letters. Derlis Santacruz and Andy Owens proved to be a rather capable team with the last arc, but it great to have the original art team back for the new arc. And the refinements and improvements in their work are pretty clear now. The characters are more expressive for one, and the scenes are much more detailed as well. That’s solid progress right there!
Bring on the next issue!