A wonderful return of this character and this franchise to Dark Horse.
Lara Croft returns to Dark Horse with a vengeance to find her father’s killer and destroy Trinity once and for all in Tomb Raider: Survivor’s Crusade.
This first issue takes place after the events of Siberia in the popular video game Rise of the Tomb Raider. Lara has made her way alone to the beautiful frazione of Corniglia in Cinque Terre, Italy. There she finds a secret hidden cathedral of Saint Christopher whose entrance has been discovered and defiled by the members of Trinity in search of a Holy Relic. This Relic, called the Cross of Stars, was said to be carved by Saint Christopher himself and is believed to have the power to find the location of God. As Laura explores the cathedral, she encounters members of Trinity who are patrolling and waiting for her arrival. They are no match for her as she cuts them down one by one fighting her way to the main altar to confront the man that she suspects killed her father. There she discovers that it is not him but someone else much more powerful who is to blame. Now Lara knows what must be done and must trust that she will not lose herself in the process. This time it’s not about treasures or ancient artifacts. This time it is about vengeance and Lara will stop at nothing to destroy Trinity and avenge the death of her father.
The story of this comic is one that we know from previous incarnations. It is however told in a way that will be easy for people who may not be fans or know anything about Lara Croft to dive into. Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly have done a wonderful job tying this comic book in with the Tomb Raider canon from the video games and previous Dark Horse comic series. Interwoven amidst the pages of this entire issue are various voicemail messages that she is leaving, then deleting, for her good friend Jonah Maiava. This is a wonderful addition to the story as it sets the tone for her relationship to Jonah and her inner dialogue and feelings about what she has to do and how she feels about that. As we get closer to the end of the issue there is dialogue between her and the agent of Trinity that she encounters at the altar of Saint Christopher. This dialogue reveals that Trinity is preparing for something big and only further compels Lara to do what she has to do to stop them.
Ashley A. Woods’s artwork is very beautiful and fitting to the story. It’s a wonderful take on the look of Tomb Raider and the landscapes and architecture are scenic and beautiful to behold. The action and fight scenes are well drawn and choreographed and add excitement to the story as Lara makes her way through the cathedral cutting down enemy after enemy. The bright, vibrant colors that Michael Atiyeh adds to this artwork are refreshing and quite beautiful. Although recent Tomb Raider games and comic book titles tend to be darker and grittier looking, this made it feel fresh and enticing.
Overall this is a wonderful return of this character and this franchise to Dark Horse. It’s fresh and exciting but also familiar. It will be interesting to see where the story goes in further issues, especially with the new Tomb Raider film slated to be out in March of next year.
I would definitely recommend this title for fans of the franchise as well as people who are new to Tomb Raider and are interested in a story with action, adventure, and a strong female character like Lara Croft.