Tilde and Klinzu face a new impossible foe —the most dangerous threat they've faced so far. When the smoke clears, not everyone will make it out alive.
As Tilde and Klinzu touch down on Tartarus, Johnnie Christmas continues to write an excellent story, now far less exposition-heavy, and Tartarus finally feels like it has room to breathe. Tartarus is still wordy, and pages are sometimes saturated with speech bubbles, but consistently balanced by Jack T. Cole’s art. As Tilde and Klinzu split up, readers get more time to get to know Klinzu as a character – specifically his romantic naïveté. Tilde, meanwhile, uncovers another family secret tugging her simultaneously into an unknown past and unknown future. As a reader, I found the issue’s largest plot twists somewhat predictable, but was nonetheless happy to roll along with them.
Cole’s art remains an ornate, almost claustrophobic, vision of science fiction dramatically at odds with the often clinical and chrome environments stereotypical of the genre.
The only moment his art falls flat – quite literally – in this issue is in regards to how he draws faces. Sometimes when drawing extreme angles or even profiles, perspective can feel off or faces sit shallowly on the skull. Similarly, foreshortening during fight scenes can feel “off” but are usually forgivable given the sense of motion they help create. All of this is a small caveat in relation to the depth of his environments and maximalist approach to character design. Cole’s colors continue to be a mix of acidic and pastel tones that, when combined with his intricate line work, create an almost jewel-box feeling, even when exploring this new gritty science fiction universe. All of this makes many pages of Tartarus worth a second (even third) look.
The front cover is excellent, featuring a portrait of clueless Klinzu and a masked stranger only truly revealed at the issue’s close. That said, Tartarus remains the only title that I can currently say makes me look forward to seeing the back covers of its issues. Each features a tarot card offering Tartarus’ singles a satisfying sense of unity while continuing to amplify the story’s themes. This issue’s card, the Fool (or Jester), represents (among other ideas) inexperience, leaps of faith, and the beginning of a new journey – all ideas that correspond to Tilde’s arc in this issue. That said, the Fool reversed – which can represent not recognizing the dangerous position you are in and how easily others might take advantage of you – shares far more thematically with Klinzu’s doomed date.
Tartarus #3 is an action-packed, vibrant continuation full of twists and revelations, plunging readers further into Tilde’s world.
Tartarus #3: A Fool’s Paradise
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 10/1010/10
Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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