Review – Savage Things #6 (Vertigo Comics)

Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Writer: Justin Jordan
Artist: Ibrahim Moustafa
Release Date: 2nd August 2017

The stakes have been gradually raising in Justin Jordan and Ibrahim Moustafa’s Savage Things over the course of the first five issues. And with Cain and the remaining members of ‘Black Forest’ finally tipping their hand and making a move on the Mayor of New York last time out, Abel and Kira are forced to move quickly, knowing full well that their manipulative adversary always seems to be one step ahead.

One thing I’ve noticed about Savage Things is the fact that, as the series has progressed, writer Justin Jordan has definitely leaned into the ‘unrelenting action movie’ style, to the point where you can practically hear the booming score as Abel and Kira rush from one frantic set-piece to the next.  It feels like a wonderful homage to cult classic ‘80s movies like Escape from New York, with the bad-ass trying to stop the villain and his gang of goons from carrying out their nefarious plans, and in a world where comic properties being rapidly snapped up for the big-screen treatment, I for one would definitely pay good money to see a Savage Things movie.

Jordan prevents things from becoming too straightforward or derivative though, particularly during the flashback scenes featuring the young Cain and Abel.  Once again, these scenes – which serve to highlight the shifting dynamic and personalities of the pair over the last twenty-five years – are still the strongest aspect of the series, although there are some pretty damn awesome moments in the present day here too, like the way Abel dispatches Black Forest member Elijah.  Seriously, it’s ridiculously cool.

Artist Ibraim Moustafa‘s work here is on par with his Eisner-nominated turn on Dark Horse’s High Crimes, which is definitely saying something. He underscores Jordan’s plot beautifully by framing everything in a distinctly cinematic fashion, with clean cuts and interesting, dynamic viewpoints aplenty.  There are some brilliantly executed single pages too, from the tense showdown between the younger Cain and Abel to one particularly  cool scene featuring Elijah, Zacariah and an apple.

The closing pages see Cain finally revealing his endgame, and it’s every bit as twisted and vengeance-fuelled as you might have expected. This is definitely a series that will read a lot better in a single sitting, with the pacing feeling a little broken up by the month-long delay between issues, but if Jordan and Moustafa’s intention was to create a thrilling, dynamic and unashamedly violent action movie in comic form, then they’ve succeeded in every possible way.

Rating: 4/5.

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ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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