Friday, January 29, 2016

Tomb Raider Issue #2: The Four Guardians: Over the Edge! Comic Review

by The World Weary

Authors: Gail Simone
Illustrators:Nicholas Daniel Selma
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
Genre: Video Game Comic
Series: Tomb Raider Season of the Witch

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Jumping the Shark

This article features spoilers for Tomb Raider: Season of the Witch.

After the first issue of this new Tomb Raider comic series, I felt pretty apprehensive about Lara’s future adventures. For the most part the comic was pretty uneven and featured some horribly weak characterization, as well as the dreaded “Horror Mouth”. The conclusion of the issue gave me quite a shock though, and for that reason alone, I held out hope that this new issue would really kick off the series. However, like the children say, “You can’t always get what you want.”

Following the seemingly supernatural flood that nearly killed Lara, the young adventurer manages to make it to safety. Haunted by the idea of losing another one of her friends from The Endurance, Lara desperately tries to swim to the bottom of the newly formed lake to rescue Jonah from his watery grave. She succeeds, but the pair have less than a second to catch their breath before Ray holds them both at gunpoint and demands that they give him their gold pieces from Yamatai. Lara dispatches Ray in the blink of an eye and helps Jonah to safety. Later, back in the UK, Lara visits an old friend of hers who might be able to help her identify the significance of the gold pieces, but what she uncovers only raises more questions, and the appearance of a shadowy organization with ties to the Solarii only complicates matters further.

Honestly, I was hoping Jonah would be dead. There is really no way someone could survive being dragged below a huge body of water inside a mobile home. Having everyone survive the cataclysmic flood was a poor choice in my opinion, and it spoiled what could have been a really dark and interesting opening to the series. The confrontation with Ray also felt really weak, and the only discernible reason for it to exist in this issue was to add some tension in an otherwise exposition packed issue. We are given a few hints of clues of answers about the power behind the four gold pieces, but again most of these answers just raise more questions.

Simone has not improved her secondary characters at all. Jonah still seems to be able to flick a switch in his head to make his attitudes and motivations fit the scene, and Lara’s professor friend is akin to South Park’s Morgan Freeman, who appears only to explain the plot to the viewer. Introducing Reyes was a good choice, as she was one of the stronger characters from the game, but it’s still too little. The agents of this new shadow organization are fairly interesting, but their motivations are still unclear, making them simply blank faced “bad guys”.

The art is better. Nothing big has changed, but there was only one instance of the dreaded “Horror Mouth”, which, by default, makes the art better than the last issue. If there’s one thing that really spoils a scene, it’s Horror Mouth. Having your art not match up with your writing is a cardinal sin in a mixed media like comics. I hope Simone and Selma can refine their work in the future.
Is this comic worth your time? In a way, yes. If you’re a fan of Tomb Raider and you already have Issue #1 I don’t see why you should stop now. There’s tons of room for improvement, so hopefully the series will begin to capitalize on that, but otherwise this is another weak issue, making this series 0-2.

 Score: 6.0

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