Tartarus is a book that makes you feel like there is more to it than one read-through can give you. And then after re-reading it, maybe three times at least, you start to discover the rewards beyond a first read. Johnnie Christmas (still one of the best names for a writer) eloquently divulges his exposition whilst keeping us intrigued with the character. There is a strong ability to control the reading experience by switching the different plots within this book.
As decisive as the storytelling is, the art and colors by Jack T. Cole offer his own definitive style that not only makes these books their own on the stand, but also displays how stellar his art is. The blend of manga and European line art really provides distinct visuals within this book. There are clear nods to Eastern culture that pairs beautifully with the futuristic sci-fi aesthetics cultivated within the West. There are really beautiful designs that surpass throughout the entirety of this issue. Each scene manages to be chock-full of details that offer fantastical imagery.
More spectacular is the level of variation that is brought in a simple aspect like the lettering by Jim Campbell. My favorite was his ability to give dialogue to a mute that really makes for a unique means of employing word balloons. These small details really give great depth to a book.
Even more interesting is the involvement of writer Stephanie Cooke and artist/letterer Megan Huang for Tartarus‘ back-up features. They really manage to offer an awesome, unique perspective in their Life piece that displays the natural aspects of creatures, safely-assumed, in this world. Really brilliant way to decompress from the story of Tartarus and give readers the joy of the smaller things in life. Huang’s art brilliantly captures the grace of nature, despite it being otherworldly.
Overall this is a wonderful issue that is a lot of fun. Definitely worth the buy!