Book review

Tomb Raider: Pieces Of Zero
Dan Jurgens, Andy Park
Jonathan Sibal, Jonathan D Smith

Titan Books / Top Cow Productions

SleepyheadThe main reason that the Tomb Raider stories have got so much scope for continuing with new ideas - be it the films, the games, or in this case the graphic novels - is that the basic premise is virtually a blank canvas. Other than the fact that the story's heroine Lara Croft is an experienced adventurer who travels the globe - generally to retrieve some ancient and much sought after artefact - there are very few restrictions on what the story can be about or where in the world - or universe - it can take place. This allows the imaginations of the writers to run wild, and that is certainly what they have done to date.

In a slight divergence from the usual Tomb Raider stories, Tomb Raider: Pieces of Zero is more to do with when it takes place than where. Lara is recruited by two television producers to travel with them to Africa to help find the missing cast and crew of a Survivor style television show who have mysteriously vanished whilst on location. The only clue found was a strange blade-like article made from an extremely unusual material, which was left at the scene. Meanwhile, while Lara is on her way to Africa, a shape-changer known as the Avatar is doing whatever it takes to track her down . . .
    Once in Africa, Lara is abducted by a mysterious alien being and, unbeknownst to her travelling companions, the shape-changing Avatar takes her place. With the Avatar's behaviour becoming more and more unusual, the group begin to believe that Lara is working against them. When the real Lara finally encounters the assumed one - much to the delight of two of the characters, one of whom is a lesbian, who had previously been fighting over just the one Lara - she finds herself propelled into the future where only her apparent enemy and a face from the past can help her escape.

The artwork in Tomb Raider: Pieces Of Zero, whilst not overly original, is nonetheless pretty good, and some of the imagery is really interesting. The story is quite good, though is let down in parts by the writing and could perhaps have been paced better than it is. On the whole, Pieces Of Zero is reasonably involving, and fits in well enough with the series of Tomb Raider stories . . .

:: Philip Goodfellow

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