Artema #3 The Lover – Review

A staunchly indie comic book, Artema continues a story with themes like PTSD and confronting pain being continuously present.

Artema #3 Review

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About Artema #3

Today is a special review as the comic in question, Artema, was created and written by a contributor to this very website! As such, after my review, I decided to spend a little time asking her questions about the comic itself to discover its influences as well as what drove her to write the piece in the first place.

When asked about the Primary Inspiration behind Artema, creator Rachel Cholst had the following to add:

“It sounds cheesy but it all came to me at once. I had just started a new career that left me with a lot more free time than teaching high school. I didn’t want to only go to work and come home and watch TV for the rest of my life, so I decided to pursue a project that followed my childhood interests, like making a comic book.

“A lot of my colleagues also pursue arts careers on the side, so this inspired me as well. I knew I wanted to tell a story, and I fell asleep reading Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider, which has several essays about both the pleasure, importance, and power of creating art. (As well as resisting forms of oppression.)”

I was also dealing with PTSD of my own and coming to terms with both the event that caused it and how I hurt others while I was still in the process of reacting to my pain, rather than confronting it. The question for Artema — and for me — is how do you move forward knowing you’ve been hurt and caused hurt?

When asked about what readers can expect, Cholst went on to say:

“I tend to use the fall and winter to write because — usually — I’m not going places and cool weather is just better for writing. Obviously, lately we’ve all been at home but it’s been hard to find the energy to write. I like to write during the Jewish New Year (which starts in about two weeks this year ) — both because I have time off and because it’s a natural time to reflect.

“I’ve been trying to approach the storytelling by using it to explain how I feel about What Happened To Me to my girlfriend, so that takes a lot of emotional energy, even though the book itself is intentionally not explicit. I want someone who has experienced trauma to be able to read this story and relate to it without being triggered. I’ve received feedback that this has been the case, so I’ll keep doing what I’m doing.”

With all that said, onto the review itself!

Artema #3 Review

Before I can discuss the issue in question, there is a bit of catch up that is necessary to bring everyone up to speed. The main character, Artema, is a young woman from a tribe of people referred to as the Komai’i. As a nation they are the “crossroads of the world”, where all kinds of cultures wander through on a regular basis. They also, established very early in the series, have a pact with the land they live upon. Undergoing a ritual bath in their pre-teens, the individual is given both a name and a purpose as dictated by the land. In return, the land also provides them with mystical powers, from a protective shield over their bodies to increase strength and stamina.

Artema #3 The Lover - Review 1

These gifts are helpful to keeping the tribe safe as they are under constant assault by a warrior empire called the Chengol. While the village is content with their method of defensive warfare, Artema is different. She wishes to take the fight to Chengol, to strike them before they could inflict more harm upon the village. The elders disagree with this, but by the end of the first issue it is a moot issue. Artema takes matters into her own hands which, as a result, leads her to be exiled by her tribe.

Its here that leads to the second issue where, now an exile, Artema continues upon her crusade to defeat Chengol within the wilds of her homeland. The entirety of the issue has her playing a cat and mouse game with a legion of troops escorting their royal prince upon some unknown errand. Along the way she runs into a band of fellow outlanders to whom she hooks up with by the issue’s end. Though only after she, nearly on her own, kicks the living tar out of this legion of soldiers. With all that done, she heads with her newly found brethren/gang as they travel to the captial city of Chengol which is where Issue #3 opens.

The Present Reflects the Past

Now within the capital city, Artema is finding herself to be out of her depth when it comes to city life. Fortunately for her a female member of the band, Katre, is helpful in showing her around. Though things take a turn for the romantic as it is revealed that the two of them share feelings for the other and are very quick to express it in this issue.

Soon enough though, business is at hand. Given Artema’s abilities, the leader of the band decides that now is the time to engage in more “high paying” clientele. As I’m sure the reader has guessed at this point, this venture goes very poorly. While I won’t spoil exactly how this is done, I will say it is a roller coaster from start to finish.

Final Thoughts

While it isn’t the normal fare I am accustomed to reading, I will say that the comic has a lot of spirit put into it. You can tell that both members of this comic are very passionate about the project which reflects itself through its themes and writing. Overall it is safe to say that this is a comic to look out for when the next issue’s kickstart goes live!

Engage with the Creators

Rachel Cholst – Twitter

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