"Tart #6" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Kechal Comics
Written by Kevin Joseph
Illustrated by Karl Moline
2017, 20 Pages
When we last left Tart Acid, she was trapped underwater, stuck between a rock and a hard place. On one side, three murderous merpeople out for blood and on the other, a hungry shark. With time running out and her air supply non-existent, things have been better for our time-traveling supernatural detective.
Tart #6 has a different look than the series to date, as the artists have changed. Co-creator and original series artist Ludovic Salle had a change in careers that didn't allow him to draw this issue. He'll be back for future issues, but for this chapter, we've got the amazing Karl Moline, whom you might know from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Fray. Although Moline's style is very different than Salle's, it's a nice match for this chapter with all the action and excitement held within.
One change that I'm not sure about is the appearance of the title character. She appears much older and more adult than in previous issues. I don't know if that's always been the case and she was just depicted as younger-looking. It does work and Moline makes her look great. I'm just unclear as to how old she's supposed to be in the arc.
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Moline's talents extend to the panel layouts themselves. The borders get wavy and looser in the scenes with more danger. This really drives home the idea that Tart is facing death in every direction, at the hands of the merpeople, in the teeth of a shark, or by drowning.
The action in Tart is incredible. This is some next level fight choreography. If this were a movie, you'd heard the soundtrack booming, perhaps pumping in time to Tart's frenetic heartbeat as she flees for her life in an abandoned submarine. With how fast-paced the fight scenes are, it could be easy to breeze through this issue. Instead, I found myself taking time to examine the artwork and really take in every detail.
The merpeople are presented as terrifying monsters. They may be under the sea, but this is so not The Little Mermaid. They're like an unnatural cross between a person and a shark with human torsos, but powerful tail fins. Razor sharp teeth line their mouths. Their bodies are built for speed in the water, which makes them deadly predators.
The link between Tart and the merpeople is interesting. Due to the nature of Tart's life, she bounces between time for different missions she's on. The merpeople are angry at her and want her dead for something she has not yet done. Something happens in her future to turn these creatures into enemies. On the one hand, this could take some of the danger away from the present day as we know she makes it out alive, but on the other, it opens up all these possibilities as to what her future holds. Tart is inherently good, working to help people in her travels, but what could she have done to cause an entire race to turn against her?
Tart is back with a bang, delivering a complete package of pulse-pounding action, intriguing plot, and incredible artwork. Writer Kevin Joseph has crafted an exciting blockbuster of a comic, driven by a strong female lead. This is a comic you'll read with clenched fists as you wonder how the hero will make it out alive.
At the time of this writing, Kevin Joseph is running a Kickstarter campaign to publish Tart #6. It has already met its funding goal and is currently plowing through stretch goals.