The world has changed a lot since I played my first Tomb Raider game. I still remember how much fun I had steering Lara Croft away from falling boulders and racing a speedboat through Venice. While I really enjoyed Tomb Raider 2 on my PC I never really tried any of the other media. The films looked terrible (okay, I watched the first one), and what limited comic money I had I didn’t want to waste back then on a non-Spider-man/Batman book. Cut to (redacted) years later and I’m sat replaying the most recent Tomb Raider game, while I wait the release of Rise of the Tomb Raider.
The game is stunning and immersive. Changing the genre from action adventure, to survival horror and setting the game in a (slightly) more realistic world breathed new life into this series. When I took a break I decide to download the first issue of a new Lara Croft comic book from Dark Horse (what the hell, my comic tastes are broader now). Unfortunately while technology, the game series and my own tastes have changed a lot of the years, Lara’s comic book adventure seems to still have one foot in the past.
The issue begins with a very 1990’s Lara scaling a cliff to retrieve her colleague’s lost falcon. The little mini-adventure doesn’t really establish Lara, or introduce a sense of grand adventure, and her quarry is of little interest. She returns the bird to her friend, before returning to work. While it’s possible these scenes will become important in the story later they were by themselves uninteresting, and certainly has no hint they’re establishing characters or themes for later.
While at work Lara is contacted by another colleague, and informed their museum has been robbed. She, and two other employees are suspects, though not for long as he police seem to have no interest in the case and lets them all leave. The dialogue from Lara’s older colleague gives the game away early that this “locked room mystery” has an inside man. With no effort at all Lara follows her suspicions to Belize to confront the thief, though quickly caught in a mystical cliff hanger. It seems brief and too easy. Seems like the police investigation and the tailing of the suspect seemed to resolve themselves before they really had chance to start. Like I’d accidentally pressed a button during a cut scene.
It’s a shame that while the game series has taken such a radical turn to keep fresh, that sense of realism is completely missing from this series. There are a number of small problems that could easily have been fixed, such as Lara walking around the British Museum wearing her signature guns, then boarding an international flight with them. Lara being drawn as though she’s Bart Simpson, and dressed the same in every scene gives this issue a feel close to a Saturday morning cartoon. While he games have matured and taken the Tomb Raider series down a more mature path, this comic seems to be banking on the name recognition for a sale. While there is an interesting hook with a demonic villain, there is little to reel me in for a second issue.
While I don’t like to give a negative review, I think if you are a fan of the current direction of the Tomb Raider series, I’d save your money and put it towards the upcoming game, rather than revisit what this series used to be.