"Tart #5" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Kechal Comics
Written by Kevin Joseph
Illustrated by Ludovic Salle
2015, 28 Pages
Time-traveling demon hunter, Tart Acid, has been learning some new skills with her fellow Toxic Fruit soldiers. She's recently acquired the ability to use her uniform to capture oxygen, essentially creating a scuba suit. This has made exploring Truk Lagoon, the world's most haunted waterway, much easier...that is, until she meets some deadly mermaids.
Now, I know what you're thinking. Mermaids? Really? I've seen that Disney flick and those things just swim and sing. That's where you're wrong. The mer-people in Tart are horrifying. Artist Ludovic Salle designed these creatures to be more fish than man. They have the signature tale with the arms and head of a human, but that's where the similarities end. Webbing fills in the space between their fingers for easier swimming and some creepy hands. The most interesting addition is that of a fin atop their heads. It makes sense in a way, but it makes these things look so unsettling, like the unholy offspring of a man and a dolphin.
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These mermaids are pissed at Tart, but we don't know why. They hint at some pretty heinous things though. I guess that's the trouble with time travel. Tart is still relatively new, however that's what we're seeing now. Who's to say that years from now, when she's a seasoned soldier, she didn't come back to this lagoon and wreak havoc? Unfortunately, she doesn't get a chance to think this over, as she's spending most of her time figuring out how to survive. Tart keeps her cool under pressure and focuses on the task at hand. In this case, that's staying alive.
The tension is palpable throughout this issue. Writer Kevin Joseph hits the throttle and doesn't let up, even with the final page that amplifies the terror. In re-reading this, I noticed this subtle link to that last page earlier in the book. It's small and I missed it the first time around. This is smart and it really ties everything together nicely.
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Tart is a book with near limitless possibilities. The first volume introduced the concept of this time-traveling slayer of the supernatural and this arc has added to its mythology. At its heart is a strong, determined young woman that can throw down with the best of them. You're instantly on her side and you want her to succeed. If that means battling mermaids under water, then so be it.