I usually write of comics-based movies and tv series only, and I’m pretty strict about it. But if there’s an ecception I can make, it’s her: Lara Croft, better known as Tomb Raider. This is not only because Lara has become one of the most relevant figures in pop culture since her first appearance in 1996, but mainly because she’s become the following year a prominent character in the Top Cow universe, and one of its main heroines for a while. In this case, a videogame character obtained in the comics even more personality and backstory than she had in the original medium, and became a prominent figure at the side of Top Cow’s most known and popular superheroes, officially entering the roster (much like Conan the Barbarian did with Marvel Comics). So, just for this once, trying to ignore Angelina Jolie‘s awful version seen in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and in the slightly better sequel The Craddle of Life, and focusing on the first promo pic from the upcoming reboot starring Alicia Vikander, let’s take a look at a heroine who didn’t debut in comicbooks, but became an integral part of them nonetheless.
Lara Croft was born in London, England, the only daughter of wealthy nobleman Lord Henshingly Croft and his wife, Lady Andrea. She lived most of her childhood in the Croft manor in Wimbledon, and she never attended school until she was eleven years old, having private teachers at home; she then attended Wimbledon Private School and, later, Gordonstoun, and incredibly expensive and prestigious boarding school. It was during one of her classes here that Lara found her purpose in life: by attending the lecture of a famous archaeologist, Werner Von Croy, she simply fell in love with the discipline, and she started studying to become just like him. In the meanwhile, she also became a very active and capable gymnast, showing quite a natural talent for rock climbing. Von Croy became quite intrigued by this student of his, and albeit she was only seventeen, he invited her to accompany him in an expedition; with her parents’ permission, Lara left for her first adventure…that ended in tragedy, as Von Croy, upon entering a long-buried tomb, accidentally activated an ancient trap which (apparently) killed him and forced young Lara to abandon her mentor not to perish as well. The came back home, and her parents moved her to another school in Switzerland. As she grew up, Lara progressively abandoned her passion, as her parents paved for her a life in the English high society, even arranging a marriage with the young and wealthy Roger, heir of the Earldom of Farrington. Lara finished school when she was twenty-one, and she embarked on a plane to Asia with her parents and her husband-to-be to celebrate the wedding, but the plane crashed on the Himalayas, in an accident caused by the treacherous butler Hartford Compton that killed Lord Henshingly, Lady Andrea and the Earl of Farrington. Alone on the snowy mountains, Lara Croft had to exploit all her skills…and she found out she had many more than she realised. She survived two weeks in the frozen landscape, and when she reached the village of Tokakeriby, she was a person reborn.
The sole heir of her parents’ fortune, Lara Croft made her way back to England, where she officially gave up her life as a socialite and resumed her old passion for archaeology, bringing her cultural and physical preparation to a peak. Her family officially disowned her for entertaining herself in such vulgar activities such as climbing mountains, crossing deserts and digging up ancient tombs, but she had finally found her own dimension, a place in which she could truly be herself. In a few years, Lara Croft was one of the most famous and respected archaeologists in the world, and she earned the name “Tomb Raider” for all the long-lost treasures she had retrieved and the remote locations she had explored. This kind of activity, far from being safe, brought her into contact with forces beyond human comprehension, as many of the artifacts and treasures she found possessed untold mystical powers, and introduced her to a world of magic far wider than what she believed possible: the biblical Ark of the Covenant, the lost continent of Atlantis, the mythical Excalibur, the Tomb Raider faced all these mysteries and even more, always coming out alive of impossible situations and donating to museums some finds that were believed to be stuff of legends before she discovered them; some of them she was forced to destroy since they were still incredibly dangerous after millennia, such as the Chinese Dagger of Xian, which gave its bearer the powers of a dragon, some others she kept in her own private collection, either to guard them or as tokens from her adventures. This meddling with the supernatural brought Lara to cross paths with other individuals who walked those paths, in particular with Sara Pezzini, a detective from New York City who was the current wielder of the Witchblade, an ancient artifact that gave her incredible powers: the two women became the best of friends, and shared many adventures. During one of these, the Witchblade attached itself to Lara, and used her to defeat the time-traveler Weave and destroy one of his machines, making the bond between the two friends even stronger, albeit Lara had to die and be resurrected to tell the story. And this wasn’t even the wierdest thing that ever happened to Lara Croft in her many adventures…
Lara Croft is a brilliant and brave woman, a tenacious adventurer who always pushes herself to her limits. A loyal friend, she’s however quite a loner, having learnt from past treasons that it’s better to work alone. As the Tomb Raider, she’s an extremely cultured archaeologist, and a formidable athlete and gymnast, a master in several martial arts, an excellent marksman and a skilled pilot for a variety of vehicles. Extremely resourceful and incredibly determined, Lara Croft lives for the adventure and for the thrill of the discovery, and presents as gifts to the world the hidden treasures lost in time…always trying her best to enjoy her journey.