It’s a rare feat for a comic book to capture an ethos in the first issue; to really feel for someone by the end of the first book is a sign of a great story. Within science fiction, the outset job is to simply establish the world. Characters are usually sidelined, and the world following the plot is at the forefront of how readers must delve into the world. Johnnie Christmas consistently plays with the reader’s expectation and quickly subverts the reader into caring about the characters in Image’s new series, Tartarus.
In a masterful stroke, the first part of the story captures the nuances of morality in terms of who deserves to be captured. In earnest, it’s a masterstroke to burn through the story the way Christmas did in the first part, which offers a clear context for the next part of the story that unfolds. The way Christmas not only executes, but bobs and weaves through cliches with a nod and smile through the characters, makes me personally invested in purchasing an issue.
The artwork is phenomenal — Tartarus might just be our modern decade’s The Incal. Its beautiful panel layouts and wondrous grit shows this is a book that deserves the six bucks it costs. Jack T. Cole will become a household name for comics readers, as every piece he does shows the unique brilliance and design layout of his characters. The wonderful vibrancy of each character paired with their costume designs makes this book a visual feast with every panel having its own eye-catching designs. Jim Campbell holds a fun balance with his lettering word balloons that really balances them against Cole’s art.
I’d say is that this book is a mix of two of my favorite Ryan Gosling movies, The Place Beyond the Pines and Blade Runner 2049. What’s cool about this book is that it really goes through the motions by giving both contemplative and subtle characters, while still managing to maintain itself within the genre. A really fun book that managed to enthrall me into the sci-fi genre. I just wish I had the next issue!
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