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‘Tomb Raider Volume 1: Season of the Witch’ – Advance TPB Review

Lara Croft has been a personal hero. I remember playing the original Tomb Raider game on PC, guns blazing, bats dying, all for the sake of exploration.  She was the lady version of Indiana Jones, confident and cool, even when tombs were collapsing in on her.  So, when the latest game reviews said Lara was so drastically different both physically and mentally, I had some reservations.  I never got around to playing the new Tomb Raider title, but after reading Tomb Raider Volume 1: Season of the Witch, I will definitely give it a go.

Picking up where the game left off, Lara is trying to piece her life back together, but something from the island of Yamatai has followed her and the rest of the her crew back, endangering not only them but all of humanity. Having been a huge fan of Gail Simone’s work on Wonder Woman and Batgirl, I was excited to see her at the helm of another beloved character title, and she does not disappoint. Even without gameplay, the story isn’t hard to follow.  Flashbacks and narrative references fill in the blanks, and plot points filled with magic and mysticism remind readers that what happens in Yamatai doesn’t necessarily stay there.  Where Gail shines is with the ongoing evolution of Lara.  Although inherently strong, this Lara is still in the midst of her origin story, making terms with the things she does for the sake of survival.  Yes, she jet sets and seems to have a limitless income, but all those lavish luxuries take a backseat to Lara’s focus on family and friends.  Every high-stakes choice that Lara makes only endears her to you, something perfectly executed by Gail. 

Nicolás Daniel Selma complements Gail’s storytelling, delivering fast action and a few panels not for the faint of heart.  Page layouts really flow with the pace of the story.  What stands out is the detail and scope of the book.  In following with adventure titles, we are transported to multiple locations, and Selma does not miss a beat.  With varied palettes and iconic markers for each location, you can see the care brought into making this title accessible to avid readers and first-time comic book fans.  They are big shoes to fill when you’re picking up artistically where a visually stimulating video game has left off, but Selma takes it in full stride and succeeds.

Season of the Witch jumps out as a solid continuation of the Tomb Raider video game and makes a great read for fans.  But, the gift of Simone and Selma allows for this title to stand on its own.  As someone who picked up the book without prior knowledge of the story, I can honesty say it was a fun read with light and dark moments and a welcomed tone of a growing, but still no nonsense, Lara Croft.  While I don’t think the title deserves the same mature rating of the video game, there are some pretty gory moments that would not be appropriate for younger readers.  

Overall, Tomb Raider Volume 1: Season of the Witch is a welcomed return of Lara Croft, who proves ice pick axes and adventure are truly a girl’s best friend.




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