Tartarus #2 Review

by Jay Hill on March 21, 2020

Created by: Johnnie Christmas and Jack T. Cole
Written by: Johnnie Christmas
Art by: Jack T. Cole
Lettered by: Jim Campbell
Published by: Image Comics

After a sensational #1 that caught me by surprise, Tartarus is back to reveal more of its offerings. Tilde’s journey has started, and it has started with a bang. With so much out of her control, and growing more serious by the second, she will have to find a way to safety by any means necessary.

So far, Tilde is an intriguing character to watch. The way her story was introduced, a flash-forward after a prologue, we aren’t that aware of the intricacies of her personality. The opening of this issue is great to begin filling in the unknowns by showing part of where she was formed. But, the uncertainty of her character, especially with the events of what went down between General Kabe and her remaining secret, makes every action a revelation. There’s no narration or inner monologue that makes us privy to her thoughts, we just have to watch as the content of her character manifests. Throughout this issue is more of the unbridled creativity that made the debut so spectacular. Johnnie Christmas' writing and Jack T. Cole’s art blends together to form a seemingly never-ending flow of creativity that is fun to read, fun to look at, and fun to think about. This comic creates an experience that is worth 10x the cover price.

The beginning scene on Baxna showed sentimentality that informed us of some of the roots of Tilde. We are also shown her ties to the planet and what she’ll be hoping to return to. Ilzn acts as an obstacle for Tilde in this issue but his role is more complex than a simple antagonist. He has a legitimate reason to suspect that Tilde is his enemy and his sympathies towards her further complicate things. And the fact that the reader isn’t fully aware of Tilde’s personality adds to the tension of their conflict. I enjoyed the depth given to Khars. The Tartaran funeral rites weren’t just a great addition to the atmosphere of the world but also worked as an ingenious device for the story. One of my favorite segments was Tilde’s series of nightmares. It captured the subliminal symbolism of unconscious visions perfectly. And, the last sequence of the issue set the story on track to take off, now on the dreaded Tartarus, and closed the issue with a hectic, “out of the frying pan, into the fire” energy.

Jack T. Cole’s art is still as uniquely striking as the first time I saw it. The art is so entrancing that I could spend hours on a single page. But it also has a coherence to its execution that keeps it from being overwhelming. It’s almost unfair the amount of levels Cole excels at. The art is gorgeously detailed in an amazing style, the colors are vibrant, the layouts and composition are terrific to read, and the creativity is boundless. The visuals in this comic aren’t just dreamy at points, they’re a dream come true. Some standout moments are the reveal of the Ferry, Tilde’s nightmare, and the great visuals that make up the opening Baxna and closing Tartarus scenes. I like how the book's art opens with a light, innocent, almost virginal aura and ends with a dark, chaotic, cataclysmic one.

In conclusion, Tartarus #2 is more of that dope -ish I love. It’s a voyage to a brilliant realm of art. It fills you with that feeling of being somewhere, somehow (to quote Nabokov). Tilde’s journey is interesting, and she's taking it in a world just as engaging. In more ways than one, this comic can simply be described as epic.

Our Score:


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