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Review – Lara Croft and the Frozen Omen #5 (of 5) (Dark Horse)

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Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Corinna Bechko
Artist(s): Randy Green (Pencils), Andy Owens (inks), Michael Atiyeh (Colourist)
Release Date: 3rd Feb 2016


Largely considered to be the first sex symbol in the video gaming world, the character of Lara Croft is often perceived within these simple terms. Her important influence on children, however – showing boys and girls that women are just as cool and capable as men – is frequently overlooked. As a girl growing up in the 1990s, Croft was a wonderful heroine to look up to – along with the likes of Buffy and Xena: Warrior Princess. Yes, Croft is beautiful, but she’s also fiercely intelligent, adept in any situation and an archaeological-adventurer: what’s not to love?

In addition to the extended gaming universe created around the character, there are several adaptations featuring Croft across film, comics and literature since she was first introduced by Eidos Interactive (now Square Enix Europe) in 1996. ‘Lara Croft: The Curse of the Frozen Omen’ is the latest incarnation of the character. In this five-part mini-series, we join Croft as she fights a supernatural and ancient opponent.

Writer Corinna Bechko’s writing is fun and full of lore; the story has an interesting mythology, conjuring a backstory around archaeological objects permeated with evil forces. In the final issue of the mini-series, the action is ramped up several notches and plays like an exciting cutscene from one of the many video games. Dual pistols in hand, Lara must put her agility and intellect to the test in order to vanquish the formidable foe; an army of demonic monsters, controlled by a politician consumed by the ancient power, must be defeated in order to save the world from destruction.

The version of Lara in this book is very much the one I took from the games as a child. Bechko’s dialogue is clever; her Lara is witty and, along with other characters, provides exposition as and when needed. The dialogue also works on dual levels for younger readers and adults – a comment about adultery, which provides character context for older fans, is delivered in such a way that it will easily slip past a younger audience without taking anything away from their understanding of the narrative.

Randy Green‘s pencilling is clean and sharp, and subtly enhanced by Andy Owens’ inking. Green’s visual rendering of Lara, as she is such a prominent feature in the book and appears in most panels, is easily the highlight of the artwork. As the comic is set in various European locations, colourist Michael Atiyeh captures both the atmosphere and environment for the reader through bright block colours. This style lends a wholesome look to the piece, particularly in the fiery action of this final issue, making the fantastical elements burst from the pages. Jean-Sebastien Rossbach’s covers are the icing on the cake: the beautiful prints wouldn’t be misplaced on any action-adventure novel, channelling the spirit and adventure instilled within the iconic character of Croft.

Lara’s latest adventure is a nostalgic feast for firm fans while simultaneously providing an introduction for new, especially younger, readers. I really hope that a younger audience, particularly girls, will find her an inspiration – just like this one did.

Rating: 3/5


PREVIEW ARTWORK
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The writer of this piece was: Rebecca Booth
Rebecca Tweets from @rebeccalbooth


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