Review – Savage #1 (Valiant)

Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Writer: Max Bemis
Artwork: Nathan Stockman
Colours: Triona Farrell
Lettering: Hassan Ostmane-Elhaou
Release Date: 17th February 2021

Full disclosure before we get going: I had absolutely zero prior knowledge of Kevin “Savage” Sauvage before picking this one up, so I was relying on Max Bemis and Nathan Stockman to bring me up to speed quickly with the first issue of this brand new Valiant Entertainment series.

Interestingly, what became perfectly clear from the very first page of this issue is that this is not the book I thought I was going to be reading. Rather that some gritty, Turok-esque tale of a young boy on a mysterious island slaying dinosaurs, what  we have instead is a genuinely funny look at that same boy returning to modern day London and being nudged into the role of media darling and influencer by his opportunistic older brother.

From the opening sequence, which sees Savage recounting (in gory, profanity-laced detail) his philosophy of never getting too comfortable to a shellshocked reporter from Teen Zine magazine, it’s clear that both Bemis and Stockman are having an absolute blast with this concept.  That same sense of humour continues throughout, with several genuinely chuckle-worthy moments of dialogue and some fantastically over-the-top violence in the latter stages of the issue.

Stockman’s artwork is a real treat here, cartoony and bombastic throughout, with some cracking action moments and some wonderfully exaggerated facial expressions. He also proves to be every bit as adept as Bemis at nailing the comedic beats of the story, which really helps this book be as fun a read as it is.

Triona Farrell does a typically strong job with the colours, keeping things crackling in the early stages and really cutting loose in the second half as a parade of monstrosities inexplicably start appearing in central London.

Rounding out the visual package, Hassan Ostmane-Elhaou does some stellar work on the lettering as always, keeping things moving fluidly while using a ton of interesting font styles and word balloons to capture the different voices, text speak and musical interludes along the way.

The final page introduces a new, non-monstrous threat into the equation, and the sheer craziness that Stockman pours into this splash means that there’s absolutely zero chance I’m not going to pick up the second issue as soon as it goes on sale next month.

Despite going in with zero expectations or prior knowledge, I had an absolute blast reading this one.  Delivering a cool modern twist on the Tarzan/Turok trope, with a creative team clearly loving every second of their work, Savage is a new title I have absolutely no problems recommending.

Rating: 4/5.


The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
Article Archive: Ceej Says
You can follow Ceej on Twitter

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