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Review: Savage #4

Savage #4

Mad geniuses Max Bemis and Nate Stockman bring their first Savage adventure to a mayhem-filled finale in Savage #4.

It’s an all-out brawl to save our dimension from Project Bizaree’s evil quest to become one with the Faraway. And only Savage can save us. Or he’ll die trying.

After my uncertainty on how to take Savage #3, Savage #4 didn’t do anything to sway me. Max Bemis packs a lot of story into the comic and has done for the series as a whole, but in this issue, it’s more a quantity over quality. A lot happens in the comic, and consequently, there’s a frantic pace to the storytelling, and perhaps because of that things start to fray a little. As the series has progressed Bemis has leaned further into the absurdist comedy that was speckled into the first issue so that by the end of the fourth I’m not entirely sure what I’ve read.

The things I was excited about in the first issue, such as how Bemis was using Savage to talk about how humanity is still brutal to each other but in a more refined way, have given way to a B-movie about dinosaur snipers attacking London for reasons that seem to boil down to a mad scientist wanting to get to another dimension and needs Savage’s blood… I don’t honestly know. The lack of response from either G.A.T.E. or the government I assume is because of the speed of the attack, but it’s never really explained or brought up why London expects a teenager with a penchant for using bones as weapons to save the day. It was somewhere around this point that I realized I had gone from really enjoying the series to quietly waiting for it to be over.

That said, despite the story stumbling, Nathan Stockman, Triona Farrel and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou give you something very exciting to look at (and ultimately gave me a reason to keep reading). The artist, colourist and letterer come together to give life to Bemis words in the most unapologetically energetic way, embracing the chaos of the story admirably. Their work is worth the price of admission if you’ve already picked up the first three issues, as the trio continue to deliver.

Once again, I’m going to quote myself from the review of Savage #2, because it’s still true.

Nathan Stockman, Triona Farrell, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou round out the creative team for Savage #2 as artist, colorist, and letterer respectively. Otsmane-Elhaou’s work is noticeably good in this issue, which is a rare feat for a comics’ lettering to stand out in a positive way, with his liberal use of colored fonts and upper and lower case becoming more than just a method to convey Bemis’ words. This book is an example of lettering as its own art form, a comic to show those who claim that anybody can throw words onto a page, which although that is a true statement, the same is also true; anybody can write a story or draw a picture – but there’s a difference between my pictures and Nathan Stockman’s pictures). Stockman’s art is great; there’s a very punky feeling to the comic, at times evoking Pushead’s art style, but almost consistently embodying the rebellious nature of the title character.

Review: Savage #2

Savage #4 has some fantastic visual elements, but the story has shrugged off its early promise and leaves us with a whimper. A shame, because I was hoping we’d see more depth from the series after the first issue, but that never happened. If you haven’t read the series yet and are trade waiting, then go into it knowing that you’ll be reading a popcorn sci-fi B-movie story and you’ll probably find something to enjoy; if nothing else, the comic’s visuals are very consistent throughout and add a lot to the insanity of the story’s events.

This isn’t a terrible series, but it was one of Valliant’s rare misfires.

Story: Max Bemis Art: Nathan Stockman
Colours: Trionna Farrell Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Story: 5.8 Art: 8.4 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read (for the art)

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology – Kindle – TFAW

Preview: Savage #4

SAVAGE #4

Written by MAX BEMIS
Art by NATHAN STOCKMAN
Colors by TRIONA FARRELL
Letters by HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU
Cover A by MARCUS TO
Cover B by PAULINA GANUCHEAU
Preorder Variant Cover by PEACH MOMOKO
On sale MAY 12th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

Mad geniuses Max Bemis (Worst X-Man Ever) and Nate Stockman (Spidey) bring their first Savage adventure to a mayhem-filled finale.

It’s an all-out brawl to save our dimension from Project Bizaree’s evil quest to become one with the Faraway. And only Savage can save us. Or he’ll die trying.

SAVAGE #4

Review: Savage #3

Savage #3

Mad geniuses Max Bemis and Nate Stockman take you to a magical place in Savage #3. It’s filled with sun, fun, and… monsters trying to eat you?!

Project Bizarre’s quest to unleash the creatures from the odd dimension known as the Faraway beyond the British Isles is ON — the Giant Dinos have gone GLOBAL! Can Savage save the tropics or will the dinos rule Earth again?

Full disclosure: I’m not entirely sure what to make of this comic. I’ve never really pegged Savage as being a comedy series, though Bemis’ writing has had comedic moments peppered throughout his run with the character, Savage #3 reads more like an actual comedy book that at times borders on the silly. And honestly, I’m not sure how well it works for me overall as the comic moves from a story with humorous elements closer to an actual comedy comic. As I said, it’s not what I expected from this iteration of Savage – even though I did enjoy the way Bemis played into the absurdity of the evil corporation in Savage #2 – but it wouldn’t seem as out of place in a Quantum and Woody or Archer and Armstrong story.

Perhaps because of the ratio of comedy to not that had me notice a few things that bugged me just a little (mostly dialogue choices) that I doubt I’d have picked up on at all had I been enjoying the story a bit more. The comic’s plot is also somewhat nonsensical; a month after the second issue, Savage has given up on humanity and now lives on a private island that artificially mimics the island he grew up on to get away from the hangers-on, meanwhile the planet is attacked by giant monsters and Savage’s brother rages at the news in a way that either indicates somebody is controlling the events or that it’s purely coincidental (and because of the comic’s tone to this point, I’m genuinely not sure which it is).

I’m going to quote myself from the previous review, because it’s still true.

Nathan Stockman, Triona Farrell, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou round out the creative team for Savage #2 as artist, colorist, and letterer respectively. Otsmane-Elhaou’s work is noticeably good in this issue, which is a rare feat for a comics’ lettering to stand out in a positive way, with his liberal use of colored fonts and upper and lower case becoming more than just a method to convey Bemis’ words. This book is an example of lettering as its own art form, a comic to show those who claim that anybody can throw words onto a page, which although that is a true statement, the same is also true; anybody can write a story or draw a picture – but there’s a difference between my pictures and Nathan Stockman’s pictures). Stockman’s art is great; there’s a very punky feeling to the comic, at times evoking Pushead’s art style, but almost consistently embodying the rebellious nature of the title character.

Review: Savage #2

Although the comic is still really interesting to look at, the humor strayed just a touch too far into the comedy and away from what I was hoping would be more of an exploration about the nature of fame and how easy it can be to lose yourself when people are pulling you a hundred different ways. Instead, we got a comic that had a lot of story (I’m genuinely surprised at how much story Bemis fits into the pages of the comic) with some comedic elements that just fell a little flat for me. Savage #3 is significantly elevated by the art and lettering, which goes a long way to balance the drawbacks of the comic. It might be that I’m a little tired, but I missed the balance of humor and social discourse from earlier comics

Ultimately your mileage will vary, but based on this issue, I really want to see Max Bemis take a crack at writing either an Archer and Armstrong or a Quantum & Woody series in the near future because although the level of humor may not have sat quite right with me in Savage #3, I think it’d be perfect for one of the duos.

Story: Max Bemis Art: Nathan Stockman
Colours: Trionna Farrell Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Story: 6.9 Art: 8.4 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology – Kindle – Zeus Comics – TFAW

Preview: Savage #3

SAVAGE #3

Written by MAX BEMIS
Art by NATHAN STOCKMAN
Colors by TRIONA FARRELL
Letters by HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU
Cover A by MARCUS TO
Cover B by JOE QUINONES
Preorder Variant Cover by PACO DIAZ
On sale APRIL 14th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

Mad geniuses Max Bemis (Worst X-Man Ever) and Nate Stockman (Spidey) take you to a magical place filled with sun, fun, and… monsters trying to eat you?!

Project Bizarre’s quest to unleash the creatures from the odd dimension known as the Faraway beyond the British Isles is ON — the Giant Dinos have gone GLOBAL! Can Savage save the tropics or will the dinos rule Earth again?

Savage #3

Review: Savage #2

Savage #2

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 only to wind up captured! He’s back in Savage #2.

There’s nothing that takes me out of a comic, or really any prose story, then the word bloke being used in a way that doesn’t feel right. Whether it’s because writers from this side of the Atlantic use British slang as often as they can to prove a character is really British, or whether it’s an excuse to show that they simply know the slang, more often than not the words are crammed into the dialogue in unnatural ways that seem to make sense. Unless the person reading the comic is a Brit, in which case there’s usually more eye-rolling than enjoyment. In most cases, less is more with British slang – the word mate and ending a sentence with “yeah?” instead of “eh?” will do the job if you’re not sure how to use the words in the context we’d typically use them.

Max Bemis is one of the few writers who uses a lot of slang for Savage (the character) and doesn’t miss a beat. Which in some ways also took me out of the book because I was waiting for a misstep that never happened, which caused me to read the comic twice before I realized it.

That Bemis’ take on Savage is different than B. Clay Moore’s first miniseries should surprise nobody – the setting alone is going to have that effect on the story. The series move from a survival comic (almost survival horror) to one bordering on the science fantasy isn’t an illogical step with story in the comic has Savage as an unwilling guest of a mad scientist/visionary intent on using him for experimentation and research (as an aside, the reading of this book coincided with me and Bemis plays into to absurdity of the mad scientist trop with his tongue firmly in is cheek (either that or he’s so brilliantly earnest about the Project Bizarre angle that you can’t help but love it).

Nathan Stockman, Triona Farrell, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou round out the creative team for Savage #2 as artist, colorist, and letterer respectively. Otsmane-Elhaou’s work is noticeably good in this issue, which is a rare feat for a comics’ lettering to stand out in a positive way, with his liberal use of colored fonts and upper and lower case becoming more than just a method to convey Bemis’ words. This book is an example of lettering as its own art form, a comic to show those who claim that anybody can throw words onto a page, which although that is a true statement, the same is also true; anybody can write a story or draw a picture – but there’s a difference between my pictures and Nathan Stockman’s pictures). Stockman’s art is great; there’s a very punky feeling to the comic, at times evoking Pushead’s art style, but almost consistently embodying the rebellious nature of the title character.

The comic looks great, from top to bottom. I wasn’t expecting to laugh during this comic, but there’s an undeniable streak of humor throughout Savage #2 that never quite stays in its lane, swerving between slapstick, dark, and often the downright silly. It doesn’t overpower the story, which is fantastic, but rather adds another layer of fun to an already enjoyable book. 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


Purchase: comiXology – Kindle – Zeus Comics – TFAW

Preview: Savage #2

SAVAGE #2

Written by MAX BEMIS
Art by NATHAN STOCKMAN
Colors by TRIONA FARRELL
Letters by HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU
Cover A by MARCUS TO
Cover B by MICHAEL WALSH
Preorder Variant Cover by DAVID LOPEZ
On sale MARCH 17th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

Mad geniuses Max Bemis (Worst X-Man Ever) and Nathan Stockman (Spidey) deliver over-the-top mayhem in this second thrilling chapter!

NEW VILLAINS have captured our teen heartthrob hero. What’s their master plan and what do these monsters trying to eat Savage have to do with it?

SAVAGE #2

Review: Savage #1

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


Purchase: comiXology – Kindle – Zeus Comics – TFAW

Review: Savage #1

Savage #1

For those not keeping up on Valiant Entertainment’s books, seeing a character like Savage might be a bit of a confusing thing. Many readers of the 90s were familiar with when then-Valiant had the Turok license and paired him with some of their big guns and even gave him his own ongoing. Those days are gone and Turok is doing just about nothing of note but Savage #1 is picking right up as Valiant’s newest dinosaur hunter series.

If you didn’t read the mini-series that spawned Savage, a bit of a recap: a world-famous soccer player and his pregnant wife disappear while in flight. They land on a strange island populated with dinosaurs. The wife gives birth but the child is more-or-less raised in a wild, violent environment known as the Faraway, where time bends back on itself and all manner of creature roam. After a big throwdown with the human scum of the island, Savage is portaled to current day England.

Savage #1 is the newest mini-series and sees what’s happened to Savage since he just showed up. He’s a teen sensation thrust into the limelight – limelight he may not necessarily want. In short time, dinosaurs and other creatures are let loose and Savage does what he does best – he goes to war with them, only to be captured by those that set them free in the first place.

I was really skeptical of this first issue. I think the first Savage series was pretty good and it honed something that a lot of us fans of Valiant thought was missing. I was a huge Turok fan and while he’s not Turok, he’s an awesome equivalent to what we once had. But when the writer of that previous mini, B. Clay Moore, was not returning, nor were the art team of Lewis Larosa and Clayton Henry, it just felt like nothing about a new Savage series would be anywhere near entertaining. I can say that I’m a bit wrong in that regard.

I’m only familiar with Max Bemis from when he was writing Moon Knight for Marvel, which I enjoyed. Here, he takes a fish out of water story and puts him back into something primordial. I don’t want to give away too much but this was a bloodbath of a book, action-packed and overall, really awesome. It reminds me that Valiant can have a character like this again, one that’s got a familiar presence while at the same time, being a newer character free of years of continuity.

Nathan Stockman, Triona Farrell, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou aren’t going to stack up to Larosa and Henry but that’s okay. Really, any book with dinos should be done by Larosa. It’s a rule. But on a serious note, the art team opens with a rad fight scene and closes with some rather creative fighting. From a visual standpoint, this issue is as action-packed as any previous issue of Savage. While I would prefer a bit more detail, I really can’t complain about the art. The visuals are wild.

Savage #1 ends up as the blood-and-guts battle royale book that I desperately needed. I’m glad that this is finally seeing the light of day, as I am sure this was probably supposed to have been released last year and should have finished by now. And for older Valiant fans, it’s okay to like this. Turok will never return to Valiant and with a character as wild as Savage, they’d never need him back in the first place.

Story: Max Bemis Art: Nathan Stockman
Colorist: Triona Farrell Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Story: 9.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Preview: Savage #1

SAVAGE #1

Written by MAX BEMIS
Art by NATHAN STOCKMAN
Colors by TRIONA FARRELL
Letters by HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU
Cover A by MARCUS TO
Cover B by CHRISTIAN WARD
1:20 Cover by STACEY LEE
Preorder Variant Cover by GIUSEPPE CAMUNCOLI 
Blank Variant Also Available
On Sale February 17th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

From the mad minds of international superstar Max Bemis and powerhouse artist Nathan Stockman comes the craziest action book of 2021.

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!

SAVAGE #1

Exclusive: Get Savage with “Creature Feature” Variants from Valiant. Get a First Look at the Covers for Issues 3 and 4!

Savage #1 debuts on February 17 from writer Max Bemis, artist Nathan Stockman, colorist Triona Farrell, and letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. Published by Valiant, it’s one of the anticipated debuts for 2021. The first issue features covers by Marcus To, Christian Ward, and Stacey Lee.

Teenage heartthrob. Feral social icon. Dinosaur hunter? Born and raised on an uncharted island full of prehistoric dangers, Kevin Sauvage has a taste of home when a mutant dino threat invades England!

What’s that about mutant dinos!? To celebrate the carnage, Valiant is releasing “Creature Feature” variants.

  • Savage #1: Giuseppe Camuncoli
  • Savage #2: David Lopez
  • Savage #3: Paco Diaz
  • Savage #4: Peach Momoko

Series Editor Heather Antos had this to say:

“Man vs. Beast” is a tale as old as humanity itself – and it’s time to celebrate the beasts of the Faraway in the “Creature Feature” pre-order variant bundle for SAVAGE. Debuting four exclusive and brand-new creature designs by series artist Nate Stockman, artists Giuseppe Camuncoli, Paco Diaz, Peach Momoko, and David Lopez each face-off their skills to tackle these ferocious beasts. As for an added bonus: each of these covers will feature bonus insert bestiary guides that will only be available here!

You can see all for “Creature Feature” variants below with the exclusive debut of issues #3 and #4 by Paco Diaz and Peach Momoko!

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