“Never can true reconcilement grow where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep…”
― John Milton, Paradise Lost
Valiant Entertainment’s mini-series Savage has consistently delivered. Like any great mystery, there is a level of suspense as to what exactly is going on behind the scenes that keeps readers interested in what is to come. Part Tarzan, part Jungle Book, part Lost, and 120% interesting, writer B. Clay Moore takes the best of this genre and adds new originality to create a compelling, unique story that started strong and has improved significantly with each subsequent issue.
The influence is evident; however, Savage feels fresh and organic. There is a savage violence with the concept of mercy being all but forgotten in this story. Death is everywhere, and can come from the razor-sharp talons of a dinosaur, the spear of an unknown island hunter, or at the hands of the protagonist, Kevin Sauvage, Jr. There is also a mystical element at play in this story that is yet to be fully understood. Make no mistake, the predatory dinosaurs are savage killing machines, but it is mankind that appears to have lost its way. This is a story of love, sacrifice, survival, hope, and despair. It is a story that focuses on Darwinism and survival of the fittest. So far, it is impossible to know who is good or evil in this book; only who survives and who does not.
The art team of artists Clayton Henry and Lewis LaRosa, with colors by Brian Reber and Andrew Dalhouse continues to impress. As has been the case with Savage #1 and Savage #2, LaRosa employs a photorealistic artistic approach using Copic markers to create layered and rich greytones. LaRosa masterfully uses his panels to virtually animate events on each page. The kill on page #3 is perhaps the best example of this, where the sequential panels perfectly show the movement and savagery of events as they occur seemingly in real time. With such a high level of detail and texture, Reber and Dalhouse are the perfect complement for LaRosa’s style. Reber routinely works with LaRosa and arguably knows what works best better than most.
Clayton Henry has a completely different art style, instead using a flawless traditional comic art style with perfect, clean lines from start to finish. To be honest, LaRosa and Henry’s styles should not work together as they are so vastly different in every possible way art styles can be different. Yet, by each artist tackling different periods of time, this pair works. LaRosa’s present story art is full of motion and blurred/furious savagery similar to what one might expect in combat with adrenaline pumping. Henry’s past story art is crisp, vibrant, and clean and tells a more mysterious tale of how events were shaped leading to the present. Henry’s work is surgical with incredible perspective. Reber and Dalhouse have no issue bringing these pages to life, as Henry’s artwork pretty much acts as a well crafted coloring book to them to enjoy end enhance.
Savage is simply the best mystical island infested with meat-eating dinosaurs and opposing factions of ruthless killer humans trying to survive while dealing with mysterious dimensional portals in the jungle stories in print today! There is absolutely zero reason not to be reading Valiant Entertainment’s Savage.