Lara was born on February 14, 1968, and is the only child of Lord Henshingly and Lady Elizabeth Croft. She was born in Wimbledon, London. Lara had a fairly privileged upbringing, even so far as to attend finishing school to refine her manners. Home-schooled until the age of eleven, she would attend Wimbledon Private School until the age of sixteen when her parents decided she should be enrolled in Gordonstoun, one of the highest caliber boarding schools in Europe. While she was there she gained an interest in both rock climbing and in archaeology, the latter after a lecture from famed archaeologist Werner Von Croy. Inspired by both this experience and seeing as written account of his exploits she demanded to her parents that she be allowed to accompany him to Asia on an expedition. He agreed that she could go, but the experience ended poorly as he accidentally triggered a trap inside of a tomb, from which she was forced to abandon him in order that she does not perish as well (though it is later revealed that he lived.) After turning eighteen, she was sent to another school in Switzerland and an arranged marriage had her betrothed to the Earl of Farrington so that her place in English high society be set. This marriage was not meant to be, however, as at the age of twenty-one and after graduating her class arranged a trip to Asia, but their airplane crashed in the Himalayas. Lara was the sole survivor of the plane crash and was forced to fend for herself through the harsh environment, eventually walking into the village of Tokakeriby two weeks later. This brought about a change in her as she discovered she possessed more ability and tenacity that she knew during this ordeal and cast off her role in British high society, choosing instead to travel the world in search of adventure, artifacts, and knowledge. Although disowned by her family, she made her own name for herself as one of the world’s most famous archaeologists.
Her archaeological discoveries are extensive, including the Ark of the Covenant, the Scion (a mysterious object from Atlantis), Excalibur, and the Dagger of Xian (a magical blade from China that gives the bearer the power of a dragon).
The comic book character is based on the same character from the video game Tomb Raider. Her first comic book appearance was in Tomb Raider/Witchblade in 1997. In 1999, she received her first self-titled series.
Lara Croft has a relatively uncommon characteristic of being popular in three separate forms of media – comics, movies and video games. Her development as a character is different in each, and while she is not best known for her role in comics, it is here that she has had perhaps the most actual character development. Although the character is fairly similar across all media, in comics she has been able to show her personal characteristics including tenacity and loyalty to her friends unlike elsewhere. Although she has some recurring allies and associates she is generally portrayed as a loner that prefers to work by herself. This is partially due to her experience of being double-crossed or betrayed by her relationships in the past. The character that best exemplifies this is Chase Carver, with whom she had an often antagonistic relationship even though she harbored feelings for him.
Major Story Arcs
Lara’s first stories were published by Top Cow. The first in this series (outside of the crossover with Witchblade) found her Iran. As is often the case with Lara, she was caught by the Iranian military, who was aware that a Caucasian woman was in possession of a specific necklace of archaeological significance and after being discovered she was forced to fight her way out. She is eventually forced to drive her vehicle off of a cliff, but she was rescued by Compton who arrived in a helicopter. Although not of any long-standing importance to the character or series this set the tone for both.
She is soon after contacted by Paris D’Arsene for a job involving a sunken galleon. This perpetuated another common characteristic of her stories that she is often forced or convinced in some manner to work for those with less than good intentions. She is to retrieve the Medusa’s Mask. Though she agrees and eventually discovers the galleon, her yacht is destroyed and she finds a clue that her ex-boyfriend Chase Carver is somehow involved. She discovers that he is in Nepal and journeys there to find him. The search for a man named Taj who might have information for them, but she discovers him antagonistic towards her over a past grievance. He is eventually killed by an arrow shot by an unknown assailant as is Compton, though he lives. She eventually discovers that Chase has been tracking her as he helps to save her life. Though he soon after tried to rekindle their romantic affair, she is uninterested. He reveals they must retrieve a key from a secluded mountain area. While they are there looking for the mask, they actually discover that the Medusa’s Mask is there (after unexpectedly falling into a hole.) Compton reappears and reveals that he was double-crossing her all along. He reveals that he has held a grudge against her family for a long time and puts on the mask which possesses him. Lara soon shoots him though. She retrieves the mask and eventually trades it to D’Arsene who gives her a music box with sculpture in return. The sculpture is of her mother and D’Arsene admits he always admired her from afar. As he leaves through his plane explodes.
This would lead her to begin a sequence of adventures with Chase. This begins as she is contacted by her college roommate Vanessa Fenyway, herself a successful archaeologist. While on their way to rendezvous with her they are attacked by a Pteranodon. After eventually finding her they discover that Vanessa has discovered a relatively fresh fossil of a triceratops. A subterranean passageway indicates that man and dinosaurs may have at one point co-existed. Venturing further into the underground area, they discover themselves transported seemingly to another world. They are separated from Chase and attacked by a tyrannosaurus rex, which is nearly successful in killing Vanessa before Lara manages to kill it. After being attacked by a possessed Chase it is revealed that Morgan Le Fey, the sorceress of myth is actually responsible for all of these occurrences. After a battle, Lara is able to destroy Merlin’s Stone which opens a portal and they are able to return to their own time.
Their next adventure is the result of an offer by Madeline Hovan. A dead man in Lara’s room left a green orb on her bed. It is revealed that he was a Midnight Squire. A group of men burst into her room and reveal that the orb is the Eye of Shaharrettin. There is a brief gun battle, but she and Madeline manage to escape. They next steal a plane from a group of drug smugglers and head for Washington D.C. where Lara meets with her old professor, Mister Rivers. Shortly after meeting him and asking for his help with the artifact she realizes she is being chased, and is almost caught before Chase arrives to save them all. Chase tells them they must find a man named Quill, who might have the information to stop the Midnight Squires. On their journey to find him, they are stuck in a swampy area and as a whirlpool captures all of them Lara loses the Eye. When she awakens she discovers she is being held captive in a harem. They are soon attacked once again by the Midnight Squires but Lara manages to soon thereafter retrieve the Eye. Quill abandons them, but they are saved at the last moment.
Chase and Lara would go on another adventure, to find the lost city of Shangri-La. They journey to the Himalayas where they believe they should start to look for the city. To get there more quickly Lara decided to steal a military helicopter. They are soon forced to abandon this plan as Lara jumps out of the helicopter and skis down a mountain. Soon after she discovers a secret passageway, the interior of which is guarded by traps set for intruders. She is eventually caught by one trap, but this coincidentally leads her to the lost city. She is knocked unconscious after a fall but when she awakens she is greeted by Mu’Tin, who informs her that she is welcome to stay but that she cannot leave as they cannot take the risk that the location is revealed to the outside world. She does try to escape but is stopped, however, Chase soon arrives and she is allowed to leave as she leaves a friend (Mrs. Baker) behind to heal there.
Outside of the usual environments, her next adventure is in a city as she wants to retrieve a Jade statue from the yakuza. Although caught in the act, she manages to escape and makes it to her rendezvous with Madeline. She then asks Chase to accompany her to Central America to search for Columbus’ lost treasure. She is still conflicted over her feelings for Chase, as he has betrayed her before, but she also feels that the two are growing close once again. They are soon attacked by a man in armor but are able to kill him. They eventually discover the cave where the treasure is kept, but as Chase retrieves the treasure he discovers he has released a lever which has released some toxic gas. He subsequently discovers some skeletons were are about to attack Lara. As they head for the exit, Chase is killed before he can escape. Lara is deeply upset with this, as she had been developing feelings for him.
Lara and Madeline then go to Boston, to find out what Chase left Lara in his will. In the process, they discover that Lucifer’s Text is being excavated, something which Lara had hoped to stop. Lara is able to stop the excavation and she uses a spell to put the dead back, but although the head archaeologist agrees to put the text back it is soon stolen. The contents of Chase’s letter reveals that he wants Lara to return his mother’s engagement ring to his long-lost sister. It is soon deduced that his sister Kerri has stolen the text and is traveling to Central America to resurrect him. Kerri is eventually stopped and Lara tells her more about her brother.
With Lara absent in New Mexico, an old woman visits Madeline at Lara’s estate. Lara is soon approached by two film producers, who informs her that they have lost some crew members in Africa. Her friend Sammy, who had introduced her to them, then shows her something which he had found at the site of their disappearance – a piece of fabric that had turned into metal. The old woman at Lara’s mansion is subsequently revealed to be a shape-shifting enemy of Lara’s. After Lara arrives to the site with Sammy and the producers, she sets up camp but is attacked by a tentacle during the evening hours and replaced by the shapeshifter. Quill heads to Africa to confront Lara and finds her after she escapes. He thought she had tried to attack him, but she reveals it was not her as she was trapped. She is soon subdued by her doppelganger, though she wakes up in time to find her escaping on a ship which Lara had discovered. The shapeshifter reveals herself to be Caronne. The two fight knocking the ship off course. The two are subsequently taken prisoner, and Caronne reveals they have traveled to the future. The two work together and manage to escape. Quill eventually rescues them, though not the same Quill as he reveals he has discovered a way to slow aging. This ties back to him owning the Eye, as he knew what time she would arrive in. She eventually is able to return to her own time.
Lara’s next adventure involves her being offered a job by Lord Vymes to steal artifacts from the British Museum. Lara declines the offer as she feels that she is an adventurer and not a thief. Vymes is not happy with this and sends an employee to interrogate her. The tables are turned as they themselves are caught, and reveal that Vymes suspects her of having stolen some artifacts from him after turning down his offer. She instead offers to find the stolen items. She discovers that a thief had stolen some artifacts known as the Four Mandalas. To lure the thief, Lara goes to look for the other Mandalas and after finding them falls into a trap. There she finds a marking of LB on the floor and determines that it refers to Lydia Blake, another adventurer. A man named Tsang Do Khyi arrives on the scene and drugs Lara. She then finds herself in astral form with Tsang. He tells her about Samsara and how he trapped evil sentient beings. He also tells her about the bad terton and how they wanted to unleash evil upon the world. Lara then realizes the bad terton is Vymes. As the two exit the temple they encounter Lydia, who has become a terton herself and Lara gives her the Mandalas as she does not trust Vymes.
Lara and Tsang continue their friendship, as the two relax on her yacht and she informs him of something they should dive and retrieve. Vymes attempts to contact Lara but she refuses to talk to him. He then attacks her. Tsang sacrifices himself so that she lives.
Powers and Abilities
Lara is a regular human, in peak physical conditioning. She is a skilled marksman trained with many forms of firearms as well as with traditional bows. She is also an excellent hand-to-hand combatant and skilled in piloting many different forms of vehicles. Despite her excellent physical attributes, it is more often her mind which allows her to escape from dangerous situations.
Lara is one of the most popular characters to come from the realm of video games. Ironically early in the development of Tomb Raider, the design team thought to place a male in the main role. Nonetheless, she has attained a certain degree of recognition. She is likely least famous in comics as her role in video games is quite popular, as were the movie versions of the video game starring Angelina Jolie.