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SYFY WIRE Image Comics

Star Wars meets Breaking Bad in Image Comics' new sci-fi epic, Tartarus

By Jeff Spry
Tartarus Hero

There's always ample room for sprawling space-based sagas in the limitless realm of science fiction comics. To add to the imaginative legacy, Image Comics is offering up Tartarus, a fresh new ongoing series best described as Breaking Bad meets Star Wars launching in February 2020 — and SYFY WIRE has a special preview of the first issue.

Tartarus Cover

New York Times bestselling writer Johnnie Christmas (Alien 3, Angel Catbird) unites with rising star artist Jack T. Cole (The Unsound) to provide fans with a breathtaking otherworldly destination concocted and crafted from some of their most cherished pop culture worlds, like Blade Runner, Star Wars, Breaking BadThe Odyssey, and maybe even a dash of Dune.

Tartarus' plot is centered around a promising young cadet named Tilde who is wrongly framed for deliberate crimes against the empire. While the mystery of her involvement and accusations of wrongdoing unfolds, Tilde discovers that her mother was actually the intimidating warlord of the notorious colony of Tartarus and an instrumental player in the brutal galactic war. With limited options available to her, Tilde’s only way back home could be to reclaim her family's dark crown.

Tartarus Slice 1

With Tartarus, Christmas hoped to write an epic where cutting-edge sci-fi and mythological themes go hand in hand.

"Our character (Tilde) starts at a point of innocence and is thrown into a dangerous world where she has to make tough choices, and fast," Christmas tells SYFY WIRE. "Her mother, Surka, was once a warlord. Head of a monastic order turned smuggling cartel that controlled the colony of Tartarus through force. Discovering who she’s meant to be, Tilde must decide who she wants to be and doesn’t like everything she finds.

"We wanted character exploration reminiscent of Breaking Bad and exciting space adventure reminiscent of the first Star Wars trilogy," he adds. "Using the Greek mythological underworld as a framework to tell this story. But we also want to make it fun, funny, and relatable. Some of our characters find love on intergalactic dating apps, some have tyrannical bosses (literally)."

Tartarus Cover 2

"Jack and I have a constant conversation about visual style," Christmas explains. "From the fashion of Alexander McQueen, to Classical architecture, to the lived-in sci-fi you find in Blade Runner or Star Wars. Bringing together the futuristic and the familiar. Then Jack goes off and does whole other level of visual research before approaching the page. It’s really beautiful stuff."

Tartarus Slice 2

Now immerse yourself in the wild worldbuilding of Image Comics' Tartarus #1 in the gallery below, with its brash blend of iconic sci-fi storytelling and imagery, then make a note to check out the premiere issue when it lands in comic shops Feb. 12, 2020.