Review: Savage #1
Teenage heartthrob. Feral social icon. Dinosaur hunter? Raised on an uncharted island full of prehistoric dangers, Kevin Sauvage has a taste of home when a mutant dino threat invades England! He’s back in Savage #1.
One of the first things I noticed about Savage #1, and it’s an easily overlooked detail honestly, was the layout of the opening page by Travis Escarfullery, the Director of Design & Production for Valiant. The recap/introduction page is designed to look like a social media feed but it was the legal jargon included as a part of the page design rather than as a lined-off segment underneath the comic’s introduction. It was subtle, and probably not something that a lot of people will notice, but it’s an immersive touch right from the get go that shows how Kevin Sauvage’s life has changed since we saw him land in London four years ago. As you’d expect, less time has passed for Kevin than for us, but in the intervening weeks and months, he’s become a media darling because of his experiences.
Savage #1, written by Max Bemis, has a different feel to it than the original miniseries – which is to be expected given the character is no longer on the time-displaced island he grew up on – as we see Kevin attempt to adjust to his new situation. Although there’s the obvious fish-out-of-water scenario here, Bemis avoids the initial introduction by skipping ahead which I think works in the story’s favour as the character’s first steps on the adjustment from Savage to Kevin Sauvage isn’t the specific focus of the comic, allowing Bemis to instead focus on the character’s new sense of isolation and discomfort as he navigates the civilized world. It’s a lot like the Tarzan books after he returns from the jungle rather than as he returns; never comfortable with civilization, but somewhat used to it.
Nathan Stockman‘s art is a far cry from the style of Lewis Larosa and Clayton Henry, the artists who worked on the original miniseries, but no less enjoyable. While his inks are heavier, his style is well suited to the confines of London rather than the freedom of the island – whether intentional or not. The violence and energy in the opening pages is stunted as we switch to London, but Stockman keeps it interesting by playing with his layouts until the island is seen again (this may sound like a bad thing given my choice of words, but I’m actually impressed how mundane the city scenes feel after the opening pages without ever feeling boring). Savage #1 is a book that’s grown on me from my first reading in black and white several months ago, and part of that is how Trionna Farrell brings the book to life with the colouring.
The first time I read Savage #1, while I enjoyed it, it was far from a comic I was looking forward to going back to – but having done so (twice now), Bemis’ story is growing on me and I have a genuine appreciation for how Stockman and Farrell are working together – over the course of three readings, I’ve found myself upping the final score by a solid point and change. Savage #1 may not be the best comic you’ll read, but there’s something glorious about a man fighting dinosaurs with a little knife that just has me grinning from ear to ear. It’s a bloody comic at times, and I love it.
Story: Max Bemis Art: Nathan Stockman
Colours: Trionna Farrell Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.4 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review