Copyright 2004

[ August 2nd 2004 ]

Arabian Nights proves that if given a writer rather than a hack and if given an artist rather than a doodler fond of blow-up dolls, Tomb Raider could not only be a good comic book but a great comic book. Fiona Avery writes Lara Croft as supremely confident and as an effective non-powered super-hero. Despite the lack of physical resemblance, Avery's Lara often recalls Angelina's Lara from the big-screen.

Avery and Billy Tan bestows a much needed sense of poise and class to the character missing from her regular adventures. She looks like any old clod-hopper in her series, but here she looks distinctive and moves distinctively. She behaves in a fashion that figures with her history, and when she speaks, she commands attention.

Ms. Avery places Lara in an original setting that has old roots, and the plot grows in complexity when the reader meets the populace of the story. The interaction of the cast keeps the reader involved, and when Lara must contend with the big bad, Ms. Avery takes another twist to make the battle memorable. Lara's victory depends upon brain not brawn. Mr. Tan's painting simply makes this adventure stand out. He creates an evocative setting filled with period detail, and fans of female super-heroes will be ecstatic that Billy Tan's Lara does not appear to be a hyper-tanned escapee from a silicone factory.

Tan's more delicate medium gives Lara natural flesh tones and a lighter look. Needless to say, her proportion gives her a natural look, and while on occasion painted stories appear static, Tan's work instills Lara with fluid motion. In summary, beautiful and thoughtful.

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