In one of the most fun conclusions to an arc in recent memory, Tartarus continues to challenge its own status quo. With the return of a character, this book goes out of its way to change its perception of characters and events. Issue #5 zooms past any waiting and pays off many plot points that were brought up in the previous issues. However, while it provides a lot of answers, it also makes readers question a lot more. Johnnie Christmas keeps a cool eye on his writing through simple technical flourishes that allow for a more adept narrative.
Jack T. Cole really adapts his own art in such great flourishes that always render unique takes on these scenes. Each piece visualized in the panels is thoughtfully and meticulously depicted to show a world beyond the panel. With every character, there is an informed thought in how they are depicted that not only feels lived in, but embodies the theme and people that inhabit this world.
Alongside this distinction of simple line drawings is the color palette that Cole utilizes throughout these pages. While it diverges from having a simple theme, there is always a wondrous splash of color for them that will always make the eyes pop. One of the finest pieces for this medium is how the book manages to utilize its color and designs — it really carves out a unique aesthetic for itself on the shelf.
Letterer Jim Campbell’s speech balloons and captions really offer some great depth of clarity in moments when the narrative breaks itself into being more dynamic. Even further is how the different balloons for people performing sign language, or offering voiceovers really can engage the reader onto the page.
With this being the end of the first arc, I’m excited to see more of Tartarus. But, can we get more Life shorts? Those were just really fun, and Meghan Huang’s artwork is simply magnificent, as is Stephanie Cooke’s direction for that comic. Overall, go buy this book, get the trade, and try to support these creators where possible. Excited to see more.