Comic Review – Tomb Raider Survivor’s Crusade #1


Lady Lara Croft is on the move again! Tracking the sinister organization known as Trinity – an ancient society that seeks to find and destroy ancient artifacts of great power, lest they be used to corrupt modern society or challenge the official history laid down by the rich and powerful – Lara has come to the Italian village of Cornigila. The city hosts a small chapel to Saint Christopher – the patron saint of travelers – but Trinity believes the church hides a greater secret than that.

As much as it pains her to see historical artifacts destroyed, stopping Trinity’s destruction of the chapel is not Lara’s first priority. She seeks the name of the Trinity agent who killed her father, whose work as a scholar threatened to expose Trinity’s existence to the world. Lara may have to settle for thwarting their plans, however… assuming she survives!


Tomb Raider Survivor's Crusade Page 1
Tomb Raider Survivor's Crusade Page 2 Tomb Raider Survivor's Crusade Page 3 Tomb Raider Survivor's Crusade Page 4

(Click To View The Full Image In Another Window.)

Those who are unfamiliar with the current state of the Tomb Raider franchise – either having missed out on the series’ reboot in 2013 or only being vaguely familiar with the character from the classic video games or the Angelina Jolie films – need not worry heading into Tomb Raider: Survivor’s Crusade. The story by Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly (JoyrideHacktivist, Gotham City Garage) is written to be easily accessible to new readers. Everything you need to know about Lara’s motivations is explained in the opening pages.

Everything you need to know about Lara as a character is shown in the following pages, as we see Lara take on several Trinity soldiers in close-combat. This action sequence does a great job of replicating the experience of playing the game. More, it shows Lara’s skills and ferocity in battle far better than any exposited internal monologue ever could.

Unfortunately, this action sequence is also simultaneously the weakest aspect of the book. While the artwork for this issue isn’t bad, the art team involved might not have been the best choice for delivering Lara Croft to the comic page. Artist Ashley A. Woods can draw great action sequences with strong female leads, as the series Ladycastle proved. However, with thin inks and limited shading coupled with the light colors of Michael Atiyeh, the aesthetic here seems entirely too bright for the world of Tomb Raider.

This light touch results in some pages that look just plain goofy, such as when Lara shoots several Trinity soldiers in the head with arrows. The red on the arrow heads looks like red tempera paint and there’s no blood around the entry wounds. Lara herself is shot at one point and the bullet wound looks like a black dot with some light cross-hatching around it!

While Lara herself is well-drawn and the character designs and poses look amazing, one expects more realism in terms of how damage is depicted in something bearing the Tomb Raider name. Fans of the games will probably love this comic despite the issues with the art, but this Survivor’s Crusade is unlikely to develop many new fans for the franchise.

5/10.

Tomb Raider Survivor’s Crusade #1 is due out November 22, 2017.


Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.

Comic Review – Wonder Woman/Conan #1

It all began in 1940 in All-Star Comics #3, when All-Star Publishing joined their most popular superheroes together as The Justice Society of America. The logic was that kids would be more likely to spend their shiny dimes on a story featuring all their favorite characters working together than a book focused on a single hero or an anthology with multiple, unrelated stories. Logic won out in this case and thus was born both the first superhero team and a long tradition of comic book team-ups.

Hither now comes Wonder Woman/Conan #1, which on the surface might seem the most unlikely pairing in comics’ long history. The popular wisdom is that these two characters could not be more different. Most imagine Conan as an illiterate berserker – a man of few words and swift action. Wonder Woman, comics’ most famous feminist icon, is seen as a calmer presence, given to long thoughts and preaching peace. The truth is quite different in the case of both characters.

While frequently portrayed as dumb muscle in the wake of the Arnold Schwarzenegger Conan movies, the original character was quite different. Described as “strong and supple” in the original pulp fictions by Robert E. Howard, Conan was frequent compared to a panther or a wolf in battle. While he found little use in “the arguments of theologians and scholars”, Conan did understand them, having “squatted for hours in the courtyards of the philosophers.” Conan was also a surprisingly egalitarian character, respecting any who could prove their worth in war, man or woman. And everyone who has seen this summer’s Wonder Woman movie can vouch that The Amazing Amazon is hardly some hippie harridan who shies away from a fight!

Wonder Woman/Conan #1 Page 1 Wonder Woman/Conan #1 Page 2 Wonder Woman/Conan #1 Page 3 Wonder Woman/Conan #1 Page 4

(Click To View The Full Image In Another Window.)

 

Gail Simone proves the perfect writer to pen this tale. Simone has extensive experience crafting sword-and-sorcery tales, having written a 12-issue arc on Red Sonja that fan-demand expanded to 18 issues. Her Conan/Red Sonja mini-series with Jim Zub – the first team-up between the characters since Marvel Comics held the license for both – was loved by Conan purists as well as fans of The She-Devil With A Sword. Simone is also one of the most respected Wonder Woman writers in the business, having co-written the 2009 animated Wonder Woman movie and a beloved run on the monthly Wonder Woman comic.

Simone’s former partner on the comic, Aaron Lopresti, provides the pencils for this issue. The entirety of this book showcases why Simone and Lopresti’s partnership drew frequent comparison to that of Marv Wolfman and George Perez in terms of the writing and the artwork being of equal eloquence.

10/10


Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.