David Wohl et al’s Tomb Raider Compendium

51MbGVLYGyL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_My, that was a great deal of truly fun reading! All fifty issues of the series, (1,248 pages!) including the covers for each individual issue, have been collected in a trade paper edition. Oh, did I mention the superb color? Or the fact that it is one of the sturdiest trade papers of this size I’ve encountered? Or that for a mere sixty dollars you will get hours and hours of really entertaining reading? What more can I say?

Quite a bit, actually. I am not a video game fan whatsoever, so I initially experienced Lara Croft and her universe with the first Tomb Raider film … Yes, I can say that Angeline Jolie is, after having read all of Tomb Raider Compendium, a perfect match for Lara Croft. But the movieas a whole  is not terribly close to the back story as detailed in the graphic series. Here’s our reviewer describing Lara and her living situation:

Lady Lara Croft is the orphaned daughter of Master Croft, played by real-life father, Jon Voight, who has trained her from girlhood to continue his own work of trying to find the Triangle of Light, and who eventually disappears in the field. Lara lives in a castle-like mansion all alone, save for her butler and her gadget master–who have such miniscule parts that they aren’t worth mentioning.

Well, she is orphaned, but the Top Cow series does a better job of explaining what happened to her parents; the butler’s not at all like he is in the two Tomb Raider films and deserves the fate he suffers here; and there is no gadget master, as Lady Croft gets her quite impressive weaponry from a rather exclusive source. The character here is a much more complex and interesting being. She is very tough, quite cool, and fully female. And yes, the impressive boobs are here, as is the tight ass and swinging braid in a minimalist outfit consisting of little more than tight shorts and mainly a halter top. Works for me.

(It was quite surprising how little nudity there is here — one mildly revealing shower scene and some incidents of strategically ripped clothing were all there was. Far less than in, say, the Gen 13 series that Wildstorm currently has running. Nary a nipple to be seen, either. Mind you, some of the illustrators were attempting to defy any logical expression of what tits could be, but DC and Marvel have been doing that for decades now.)

I was also pleasantly surprised by just how good the story line is — I mean, really good. I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy, and the Tomb Raider Compendium has well-done elements of both – from ancient Egyptian gods to high-tech weaponry that would indeed be in place in the Tomb Raider video game series. And the level of violence — but not the sex or nudity, as there’s virtually none — would get Tomb Raider Compendium a definite PG-13 if it was either a film or a video game. All in all, a wonderful reading experience — it even has extra material worth checking out. .

Oh, and do look for another character in the Top Cow metaverse to show up here. It was, at least to me, a unexpected bonus. Bottomline — great story, superb artwork, and a decent price for what you get. Bravo, Top Cow!

(Top Cow, 2006)


I'm the publisher of Green Man Review and Sleeping Hedgehog. My current reading is the Wylding Hall novella by Elizabeth Hand, Simon R. Green’s Night Fall, and listening to Rita Mae Brown’s Crazy As A Fox. I'm listening to a whole bunch of new Celtic and Nordic new releases but I'll dip in my music collection for such artists as Blowzabella, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, and Frifot as the weather stays nasty.

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