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