Advance Review – These Savage Shores #5 (Vault Comics)

Publisher: Vault Comics
Writer: Ram V
Illustrator: Sumit Kumar
Colours: Vittorio Astone
Letters: Aditya Bidikar
Release Date: 9th October 2019

After the tragic and devastating events of the last issue, Bishan and Kori leave Calicut and journey to London to confront Count Grano and exact their vengeance; but at what cost?

This has to be my most eagerly awaited finale of the year, and is way up at the top of my list of the Best Comics of 2019. As the culmination of a series that I have found beautiful and horrific and heart-warming and heart-breaking, this final issue continues to deliver all these things in a final issue that has been well worth the wait.

I have often said that this is a series that could easily have been an epic period novel, and it’s a real testament to the skill with which writer Ram V has woven this tale that he can deliver this epic scope in what is, comparatively, very few pages. This final chapter does an impressive job of drawing all the plot lines together and to a close. The Anglo-Mysore war ends in a stalemate that sees the British suing for peace. Vikram is restored by Tipu Sultan and peace, for a time, is restored to Mysore.

Elsewhere, Bishan and Kori seek their vengeance for Grano’s cruel act and we see the truth of Bishan, the monster he has been and the monster he is forced to become. We see the masks he has worn in vanity, and contempt and we finally see him stripped of all of these; only a man on a path of healing and redemption.

Throughout the series Ram V has delivered characters that are beautiful, horrific, vibrant and alive.  What’s more, he has done this in a setting that is fantastical while at the same time steeped in an intricately delivered history that is far better than anything you’d expect from a five-part comic series.

Supporting the story is some of the most beautiful artwork I’ve seen in decades. Summit Kumar and Vittorio Astone deliver panel after panel of rich, stunning, beautiful, horrifying and heart-breaking art. The very first panel of the very first issue hooked me completely, and they haven’t disappointed for a second since. The level of detail in these intricately wrought watercolour panels is just superb, and there are more than a few panels that I would dearly love to have hanging on my wall.

One of the things that has really added to the period feel to this series has been the design and lettering work. To that end, Aditya Bidikar has done an outstanding job throughout. The detail that has gone into everything from simple dialogue to journal entries and historical documents is an object lesson for those looking to break into lettering comics.

I’m sad to see the end of These Savage Shores, but the ending of this series is everything I’d hoped for and more, and I’m happy that we’re ultimately left with an denouement which is all about new beginnings and hope.

Rating: 5/5.

The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek ‏

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