What do you do when you find out your entire life is a lie? Teenage Tilde thought she was just a regular farm girl, but in the new Image series, Tartarus, she discovers that she’s actually the daughter of a notorious warlord who terrorized the titular mining colony. Written by Johnnie Christmas with art by Jack T. Cole, letters by Jim Campbell, and striking design work by Ben Didier, Tartarus is a rich, immersive sci-fi story with a strong personal angle, exploring a young woman’s identity crisis in an action-packed narrative.
The series debuted last week with an exceptional first issue, opening with a thrilling prison break showing off the formidable power of Tilde’s mother. From there, the story jumps 17 years into the future to introduce Tilde and her friends at a space station military academy, and the creative team settles into this environment and establishes an engaging cast of characters before hitting the action accelerator again for an explosive final scene. This exclusive preview of Tartarus #2, on sale March 18, offers a new glimpse into Tilde’s past before jumping back to the present to show her escaping the academy, which has just been bombed by terrorists.
Cole’s artwork highlights the contrast between Tilde’s lush farm home and the sterile setting of the academy, and Cole’s attention to detail in architecture, environment, and character design is a big reason why this series is so captivating. A lot of thought has gone into making this a sci-fi world that feels real, which draws the reader deep into Tilde’s experience. Christmas is an accomplished artist on his own, and he understands how valuable the visuals are for world-building, allowing him to ease off exposition and let the art do the talking. Cole and Christmas have a remarkable creative rapport, and the most exciting thing about this series is seeing how their sensibilities combine to deliver an unpredictable, utterly gorgeous tale about a young woman discovering who she really is and embracing a new life for herself.