Coming out of the gate hot, Savage #1 was my favorite comic of the week; well-paced and structured in a way to peak your interest, I wanted the second issue as soon as possible, and this week we get that call answered. Question is, is it good?
Savage #2 (Valiant Entertainment)
So what’s it about? The summary reads:
Marooned in an unforgiving prehistoric landscape, high society’s most privileged celebrity family is fighting tooth and claw – literally – for survival. With no shelter, no weapons and no escape, the Savage family is about to come face to face with the cruelest laws of nature – in the form of the lethal dinosaurs that somehow stalk the impossibly ancient island that has become their home. Once they lose everything – and each other – what part of them will endure? Where will the man inside each of them end…and the animal begin?
Why does this book matter?
Writer B. Clay Moore (Hawaiian Dick) knows how to get out of the way of the artists (yes more than one!) with the excellent visual storytelling of Clayton Henry (Harbinger Wars) and the painterly Lewis LaRosa (Bloodshot Reborn) on board. Add in the fact that this is an origin story and you have an exciting story anyone can enjoy.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Check out his dino. He’s pointing at it after all.
Eight or so pages showcase the “now” of this story which are painted by LaRosa and continue to bring jaw dropping art. It seems our young Savage can’t get enough of bloody violence, this time cutting throats in gloriously gory fashion. LaRosa continues to do excellent work (with a fantastic commentary at the end which shows the detail he goes into to craft a page) that’s incredibly cinematic. This section of the story – which cuts back and forth between the “then” when Savage was just a baby – begins to connect with the past in subtle ways that’s quite clever. You might need to be an eagle-eyed reader to catch the connection, but it’s there.
Henry continues to do solid work as well, with more conventional thin lined pencil work that’s more akin to comics across the publishers. His work continues to pace the story out well and make the intense moments feel even more dangerous. These scenes help convey the bond Savage had with his mother and how they’ve adapted to living on a dinosaur infested island.
Moore is writing an intriguing series here showing more than telling why the boy who will become a savage. Clearly living among dinosaurs, and attempting to survive day by day, is turning him a bit wild even with the care of his mother. That’s clear in a later scene where he reacts to baby dinosaurs with a pointed spear rather than think his actions through. The sad thing is, this will probably keep him alive in this new world. Add in some short, but information heavy scenes, and the story continues to build well. While the pace of the general plot is slow in some sense, there’s enough character development to key into to keep your interest all the way through.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The parental figures of our young protagonist aren’t quite as well written as the rest of the story. The father character in particular makes some bone headed decisions; given he had to think on his feet (and a soccer player no less, zing!) it might make sense what comes to pass, but it seems foolish and possibly driven to push the plot forward quickly. The mother meanwhile, hasn’t seemed to change even though she’s lived in on this island for what must be years now. Even her clothes look unchanged, though five years must have passed, which threw me off a bit. Of course, the focus is on the boy, he is the protagonist after all, but everything else is so strong the parents stories seem half baked.
Time to become food.
Is It Good?
Savage is turning into my addictive guilty comic book pleasure. The story is great at delivering realistic and cinematic storytelling with (possibly) even greater art. The parents aren’t quite as strongly written as everything else, but hell, they aren’t the focus anyway.