Review: Tomb Raider #12
In the process of their craft, writers have a tendency to come up with a number of tricks to get the creative juices flowing. In recent years, one of these tricks has become almost mainstream in popular culture, and that is the combination of two genres which normally would stand alone and have nothing to with each other. Thus one might find a combination of Jane Austen romances with zombie horror (for instance in the book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.) So far in this new Tomb Raider series it has seemed that the writers have struggled with an idea about how to make the character fresh and relevant, having changed her sexual orientation and basing her stories in exotic and dangerous places (Chernobyl!) while at the same time failing to write a gripping story about the character which is true to her roots. In this last two part mini-story arc focusing on Lara’s involvement in a stage version of Pride and Prejudice, the core of the character is finally gotten a little bit closer to, but still rests a long way off. It is not so much that the character would be betrayed by a change in her sexual identity or by going to areas that don’t really deal with much archaeology (Chernobyl!), but it does when the change is more like putting a sticker on her for identification instead of a fundamental change in the approach to the character.
Incidentally though, this issue is strangely entertaining, but perhaps in a way which is not intended. Going back to the mixing of dissimilar genres, what happens here is a strange mix, with Elizabeth Bennet thrown into a superhero role through the body of Lara Croft. When one lets go from the distractions that come from the flaws in this series, this in itself is a fun enough idea, though one that is equally wasting Lara Croft’s place in this series (as a similar scenario could have been created with any number of superheroines.)
In the end, this trick of genre-mixing is all that this series has had going for it. Each time another one of the amazing covers comes out, it leads the reader to think that the series is finally getting on track, but each time it leads to Lara being depicted in a manner which is far from what has come before. It is all the more surprising that the creative team behind this series is really talented and has been known for some really groundbreaking work in the medium. For the time being fans of the character are left with glimpses like there are here and left waiting for the return of the character that they love.
Story: Rhianna Pratchett and Gail Simone Art: Nicolas Daniel Selma
Story: 7.6 Art: 7.6 Overall: 7.6 Recommendation: Read
Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review