When your first issue is a damn masterpiece, it’s hard to follow up with the same quality, yet Image Comics Tartarus #2 proves that the team knows what they’re doing when showcasing it’s one of the best series out there.
If you haven’t had the chance to check out the first issue – what I called “the best of 2020 contender” – then make sure you click the link and check it out. Plus, make sure you pick up the first (if you haven’t) and the second at your LCS, as you don’t want to miss out on Tartarus.
THE WORLD OF TARTARUS
First and foremost; Tartarus #2 may not be for everyone. Yes, that can be said for a lot of comics, yet it rings true here. That’s due to how different the series is from others being published. This can be seen in the heavy dosage of politics and a huge roster of characters. Those and the fact it feels much like Frank Herbert’s Dune (and 1980’s European Comics) with its vast history and rich mythology. In its first double-sized issue, Johnnie Christmas spent about half the page count fleshing out some of the past. Although Tartarus #2 doesn’t contain that huge page count, Christmas sprinkles in important history throughout.
Whereas Tartarus #1 is slow-paced throughout, its second issue detours a bit. For example, more action takes place, yet Christmas still allows breathing room. During these moments, characters and the world are fleshed out, giving you a better understanding of the characters and the world they inhabit. Each moment this transpires, you are sucked into their world, making you want the next issue even more. Pretty soon Tartarus will become the next craving you seek. Words aren’t enough to talk about how great this series is, even in its second issue you can tell it’ll become the next epic.
EACH PAGE A WORK OF ART
Jack T. Cole’s art continues to be nothing short of drop-dead gorgeous. Nearly every page could be a work of art you’d find at a Museum. Cole’s lines are a beautiful blend between Frank Quitely and Moebius. Throughout Tartarus #2’s panels contain fascinating amounts of details in every aspect that you’ll be inspecting each panel for hours to come. Yet there are two aspects he excels at. The first being one that wasn’t delved into much in my first issue review.
Above all, designs are everything, especially when crafting a world from the bottom up, more so a sci-fi tale. Cole’s designs for every aspect of Tartarus is gorgeous in its execution between the busy, cluttered skyscrapers, ships, costumes, and weapons. Each page you’ll be enamored by the elegant designs of ever aspect. The other element Cole excels at is the colors.
Much like the first, Cole keeps the 80’s science fiction palette with a bright retro feeling. There’s nothing ever “too” bright, as the colors are more of a flat bright. Specifically, they keep the pop bright colors will have, but tones it down to not overpower the art. Yet, some of the most excellent examples of Tartarus # 2’s fantastic art can be seen in the action when the crew’s ship is crashing with chaos surrounding. Cole portrays a chaotic crash with his art. Yet it’s the clashing of colors all around the sell the brutality of the crash.
AN EPIC NEEDS LETTERS
Letterer, Jim Campbell’s work continues to mirror some of Tom Frame’s work on Judge Dredd. Like the previous issue, and the work in Tartarus #2, it matches the European Comic vibe. Except, to just focus on that would be a disservice to Campbell, as the lettering isn’t just about the font choice. Throughout the issue, Campbell continues to make each of Cole’s panels stand out, never covering up pieces and adding great sound effects. In addition to adding varying font sizes and opacity to some word bubbles, helping make a point.
WHEN CAN I GET THE NEXT ISSUE? (CONCLUSION)
While writing this review, I had to step away from my computer for a few moments, because everything about Tartarus #2 spoke to me. Likewise, reading you’ll feel all giddy and realize you are taking part in what may be one of the next huge comics released in America. Every element in the book works perfectly in conjunction with the other, while constantly complimenting each other. If Tartarus sounds like your type of comic, its second issue will continue that feeling. Yet, if you didn’t give it a chance, as it may not be your type of book, I’d recommend going to your LCS and picking up a copy.
Memorable Quote: “Everything you just said. Was profoundly stupid.” – Tilda
Each new issue I fall in love with Tilda’s character even more.