Tomb Raider: Lost Horizons – Dan Jurgens

Tomb Raider Lost HorizonsOh dear god it’s awful! Please make it stop. These aren’t the things you should be saying when reading something you enjoy. Maybe it is time to stop.

There are two stories here and the first appears to confuse Lara Croft with James Bond. It is dire and the twist at the end is poor indeed.

The second tries a lot harder. Lara becomes a little more vulnerable and human and we see some competent storytelling daring to emerge.

The art is typical of the previous books and where there are lots attempts to inject motion and excitement onto the page many of these don’t work. The lettering also has spelling mistakes. Yes that’s plural.

The fact that Eidos and Core would put their names to something like this is also a travesty.

It could have been more, but no thumbs today.

Justice League International – Dan Jurgens

Justice League International 1Welcome to Batman in space. Yep he goes into space and fights aliens on their spaceship. ‘Cause that’s what Batman is famous for right? This is the kind of shallow nonsense that four year olds make up with their action figures. Actually no they don’t, they make Axe Cop which is way better.

A collection of second tier super heroes from around the world is formed into a team by the United Nations. They must then fight a threat from space the moment after they have just met each other. Cue petty squabbles and Jingoism. And Batman stows away on their plane too.

This could have tackled some real-world concerns. It makes no use of the United Nations, its remit, its history, or its failings whatsoever. There is a tiny mention of people mistrusting their governments, seeking change and crying out against corruption and profiteering but those people then plant bombs and are written off as terrorists. Clearly this is the Fox News of comics.

The art is garish, bombastic and gratuitous in the extreme. There are flashes of talent and potential but the whole thing is smothered in sickly dayglo. It is polished but it is still just going through the motions.

Just because you have a bunch of characters sitting around doing nothing doesn’t mean you should cram them into a book at the first opportunity. If you have to add Batman to make it work you really shouldn’t have bothered.

No Thumbs!

Tomb Raider: Pieces of Zero – Dan Jurgens

The Tomb Raider franchise has pushed the boundaries of the fantastic with myths and legends from around the world. But it always felt tangible with a Conan Doyle’s Lost World feel to things. Just like the fourth Indiana Jones film this book pushes things a little too far.

This is a shame as it is actually a nicely put together tale. The pace is frenetic without becoming ludicrous, there are genuine moments of tension, characters from previous stories appear and there is an intriguing mystery. It’s just not Lara.

The art is a little odd with some quite detailed backgrounds but with minimal detail on the characters. There is a lot of effort on the colourist’s part adding much of the depth and realism of the piece.

If this was an unknown female heroine this would be a passable tale and might scrape a thumbs up. Because it has an iconic pedigree to live up to it falls short. No Thumbs today!

202/163

Tomorrow: Empowered: Volume 1 – Adam Warren

Tomb Raider: The Merlin Stone – Dan Jurgens

This volume contains two complete stories. You don’t need to have read the previous volume in order to follow this but are assumed to know who Lara Croft is as there is very little explanation or character development.

The stories are quite fantastical and overpopulated with mixed mythology leaving them a little confused. Arthurian legend AND dinosaurs. Really? They aren’t particularly taxing or innovative but pass the time.

Despite being traditionally a loner Lara is constantly joined by old school teachers, long lost friends and the ubiquitous love interest. These characters never really get to develop or even make much of a contribution. The love interest is a double edged sword tempering her female independence but humanising her aloof persona.

The art is fine and other than the odd bath scene there is nothing to get excited about. There was one instance of a speech bubble going to the wrong character and the usual mangling of British characters by American writers.

It could certainly be better but it could also have been a lot worse. Only because I am a fan do I give it a Thumbs Up!

186/179.

Tomorrow: Ultra – The Luna Brothers

Tomb Raider: Saga of the Medusa Mask – Dan Jurgens

It’s an exciting prospect to see the highly successful Tomb Raider franchise in a different medium. It turns out adapting it to comics is harder than you would think.

Solitary exploration and beautiful ancient architecture are gone in favour of James Bond action sequences and a stereotypical English butler/ sidekick. There is a bit of swimming and a bit of running and shooting and a disappointingly incredulous treasure to drive the whole thing on.

Effort has gone into it as there is a backstory for Lara, a twist at the end and a troubled romantic entanglement. But Lara is an English girl (aristocracy actually) designed by an English computer games company. If you give her to an American publisher then you get the whole “submarine designed by someone who has never seen the sea” affair. There is no “U” in Falkland Islands and no Brit would use the word “sugah.” Yes that’s how they spelt it. It’s Union Jack all over again.

The art isn’t bad. It has that youthful Image/ Wildstorm look and some of the covers are very faithful depictions of Lara. She is well proportioned and decently clothed too. There are some nice underwater scenes and a flashback that uses green and grey as its primary colours that is distinctive and effective.

If you are an international reader then it won’t seem too bad but for the British audience it No Thumbs today.

185/180.

Tomorrow: Tomb Raider: The Merlin Stone – Dan Jurgens