Friday, 24 February 2017

Savage Review (B. Clay Moore, Clayton Henry)


A world-famous footballer, his supermodel wife and their infant son crash-land near a tropical island – this is Savage aka Valiant Does Lost! Our plucky young hero must navigate the strange island’s dangers, like dinosaurs and bloodthirsty bikers, to survive and figure out how to get back home.

I had zero expectations for this one, knew nothing about it, and it turned out to be fantastic! I love that Valiant are going from being the alternative to Marvel/DC for superheroes to also slowly morphing into the alternative Image Comics for quality non-superhero stories. They started with Peter Milligan’s awesome Britannia series and continue with B. Clay Moore’s Savage. 

Moore utilises flashbacks brilliantly, grabbing the reader’s attention with exciting action in the present, like the kid vs a velociraptor, before jumping back to show us how things got to that point. This duality is further accentuated by having Clayton Henry draw the scenes from the past with Lewis Larosa drawing the present. Henry’s style is unflashy, straightforward and competent while Larosa’s painted art is simply incredible, especially with the dinosaurs – absolutely eye-catching and wonderful. 

It helps that Moore is the best kind of comics writer, one with an instinctive understanding of the art form, who knows when to step back and allow the artists to tell the story and when to step in with dialogue. There’s a great balance between words and pictures and the story flows very smoothly as a result. 

The story is set-up well and the mystery and tension develop nicely – what seems to be an ordinary plane crash turns into something very different with each new plot element introduced. It draws you in more and more and makes for a very pacey and exciting read. 

There are a couple of minor criticisms though. There’s too much mystery - let’s call this the Lost/Morning Glories problem. The creators get carried away with teasing the audience and forget to reveal anything at all. It would’ve been more satisfying to have one or two answers – not asking them to spoil everything, just give the reader something - at the end of the book instead of nothing but questions. That and the kid surviving on his own with very little skills with all the island’s threats, as well as not getting spotted, especially as his hut was placed so prominently on the beach, felt unconvincing and contrived. 

Overall though, the positives easily outweigh the negatives and I really enjoyed Savage. It’s an original and compelling new series that’s definitely worth checking out for anyone looking for an entertaining action/mystery comic – can’t wait for Volume 2!

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