REVIEW: Savage #2

Savage has all the elements that I love. It has a mysterious island. It has dinosaurs. It has strange native tribes. It has jungle adventure. So why does the story line leave me so cold?

Maybe because the story is the present is interesting, but we spend so much of this book in the past. We learn how Kevin’s father died. We also learn that he was raised by his mother for several years after that. Also, the island is a strange place, where not everything is as it seems. Really I needed a second issue to tell me this?

It almost is a waste of an entire issue. This is almost a crime when this is the second issue in a four book series. Much of the elements of the story are clearly borrowed from better more well-known sources and I’m not sure how much B. Clay Moore (Hawaiian Dick, Bloodshot) can improve on Tarzan, King Kong, and The Lost World. The only mystery that I come back to is why does it look like the other people in his past seem to be from the iron age, while the people he fights in the present are from a more primitive stone age culture? Or how the neolithic tribesmen got their hands on a Mercedes hood ornament?

What has really captured me in this series is not the story but the art. Especially the art set in the present day. The art set in the past is the usual high quality art that we’ve come to expect from Valiant and is almost their house style. But when they move the story to the present day where it depends primarily on action because it has so few words, the art goes ballistic.

Clayton Henry (Archer & Armstrong, New X-Men: Hellions)  and Lewis Larosa (Harbinger: Bleeding Monk, Immortal Iron Fist) make those jungle scenes really come alive. No small amount of the praise also goes to Brian Reber (X-O Manowar, X-Men Legacy) for his excellent colors. The greens are vibrant and the light and shadow work really make the scenes luscious. You almost feel the tropical heat come right off the page.

Their action work is amazing, putting the reader in the thick of it. It is what the series title promises: fast, and brutal. These also dialogue free scenes are worth the price of the book.

Valiant has also included another artist commentary at the book of this issue. I’d recommend it to anyone who thinks that inkers are only tracers. The layout and commentary show the different skills of pencillers, inkers and colorists.

Two more issues left and I’ll be getting them for the art, but I hope the story starts to pull through as well.

Writer: B. Clay Moore
Artists: Clayton Henry & Lewis Larosa
Color: Brian Reber
Publisher: Valiant

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