Picking up where issue 7 left off, Tomb Raider #8 sees Lara continue on her quest to find Kaz, Alex’s sister, who is hiding out in the derelict (and radioactive) city of Pripyat, Ukraine. But it soon becomes clear that Lara is not alone in her quest and that there’s a mad killer closing in on her. Featuring some gorgeous artwork from Derlis Santacruz, this is the second comic to be co-written by Gail Simone and Rhianna Pratchett and it sets out to answer some of the questions raised in #7 as well as raise a couple of new ones. Who is Lucya? Who are Trinity? And where, oh where, are the tombs?
If you haven’t read #8 yet and would like to avoid spoilers, you may want to look away now. You have been warned… 😉
The comic opens with a flashback to one of the happier moments aboard the Endurance, where the crew’s biggest dangers were incurring the wrath of Grim and catching a cold from a sunset swim (hey, that rhymes). As she reminisces about the socially awkward but ultimately heroic Alex, Lara remembers why she’s come to Pripyat and continues her search for Kaz.
After some friendly banter with a deer and a now-obligatory Jaffa cake reference, the scene cuts to a group of men in Hazmat suits who are keeping a close eye on Ms Croft and wondering whether “they” (presumably Trinity) sent Lara and whether they (the Hazmat suit guys) should kill her. Cut back to Lara, who is now being stalked by aforementioned deer and making her way to the abandoned amusement park. Three huge dogs appear out of nowhere and surround her while the mysterious Kaz makes an entrance.
The two women exchange some heated words, whereby Kaz lays the blame for her brother’s death squarely on Lara. To appease an obviously angry and upset Kaz, Lara returns a family heirloom – their father’s watch – to her to prove she’s not her enemy. And just as she gains Kaz’s trust, the Hazmat guys come back into the picture, believing Lara to be an assassin sent by Trinity and responsible for the deaths of Lucya and Femon. Lara goes into self-defense mode and after beating up one of the guys, Kaz reveals that the men are actually her brother-in-law and his friends, who have taken it upon themselves to act as her bodyguards. Lucya, it turns out, was Kaz’s wife and Femon, the man who was killed in the bar in Reykjavik in #7, had helped turn Kaz’s life around when he found her living on the streets.
Lara proceeds to question Kaz about Trinity but her interrogation is cut short when a mystery package is thrown their way. Kaz opens it to find the prosthetic hand of the now-deceased Femon. One of the Hazmat guys coughs and falls dead with stab wounds in his shoulder…and, lo and behold, the assassin is none other than that creepy dude from #7. To be continued.
Things I Liked:
- The artwork – The artwork is still top notch, Lara is still a million times more expressive in this comic than she was in issues 1 through 6…. and, boy, do I love that outfit Kaz is wearing. Any chance of selling that via your online store, Crystal Dynamics?
- Lara’s scenes with the deer – They may not have added much to the actual story but I thought the scenes with the overly friendly deer were pretty cute. They also brought out Lara’s fun side, which was sorely missing in Tomb Raider 2013 and the comic’s first story arc.
- Attack, Lara, Attack! – The way Lara reacts to potential (and actual) threats in this comic reminded me a lot of Classic Lara. It’s hard to put my finger on it but she seems a lot more confident than she did in earlier issues and even a little cocky at times. Is our old Lara slowly coming back? I sincerely hope so.
Things I Disliked:
- Dude, where’s my tomb? – Seriously, where are the tombs and ancient relics in this story arc? While I’m beginning to enjoy the comics and the way they’re slowly bringing Trinity to the fore, I feel that Lara is acting like not so much a raider of tombs than a soldier of fortune. A one-woman A-Team, if you will. But I guess there’s still plenty of time to rectify this, so let’s see how the rest of the story arc unfolds.
- Jaffa cakes – OK, I’ve had my fill of Jaffa cake references. Can we please just dump the Jaffa cakes? They’re not even that tasty.
I must admit that this was probably the first comic I’ve actually enjoyed, despite its lack of tombs and ancient MacGuffins. The writers are doing a good job of building up the suspense and making us eager to find out who Trinity are and what their role in the rebooted Tomb Raider universe might be. Lara also seems to be becoming more self-assured and confident with each issue. Her no-nonsense attitude and stubborn determination – which will become even more apparent in the next issue – are very “classic Lara”, even if her Jaffa cake addiction and deep devotion to her friends and fellow crewmates are not.
My only major complaint about this story arc (and the comics in general) is the lack of actual tomb raiding. But the comics are beginning to pick up gather momentum so I’m confident we will be seeing Lara back to her old treasure-hunting self before this arc is over. Gail and Rhianna, please don’t let me down.
What are your thoughts on Tomb Raider #8 and the current story arc? Is it a hit or a miss? Feel free to leave your comments below!