"Savage Things #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Vertigo Comics
Written by Justin Jordan
Illustrated by Ibrahim Moustafa
Colored by Jordan Boyd
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on April 5th, 2017
Abel went through Black Forest, the US government's top secret school for psychopaths. He's the only one to have escaped the program. Now he's needed to stop a number of his former classmates who have gone rogue as terrorists, as he's the only one who can stop them. If you somehow thought Savage Things started out tame, just wait until you see what this issue has in store.
In the movie Swordfish, John Travolta's character gives this monologue about how Dog Day Afternoon would have been so much different had Sonny just started killing hostages. How can you negotiate with someone willing to kill so quickly? Savage Things takes that concept and runs with it. The former Black Forest students take over a hospital. Instead of making demands, they just start killing people. When the police request a call to begin negotiating, they're answered with a severed head with the word “No” scrawled across its forehead in blood. That must go against any and all protocols they have. Where do they even start?
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That's where Abel comes in. He thinks like these monsters, but has something resembling a conscience. We get a bit more of his backstory with this chapter as well as another look into the Black Forest program. Abel is not a hero, but he's also not a complete psychopath. He's something in between, although he doesn't have much in the way of empathy. He just wants to be left alone.
Artist Ibrahim Moustafa brings Abel to life brilliantly. There are a number of panels that mirror one another in the flashback scenes and in present day, showing Abel in the same position, but having gone through years of this brutal training. The ones with him as a kid feature this innocent expression, like he's trying to figure out the world around him and why it can be so cruel. Flash forward to the present day and he's a hardened man who has been through Hell.
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Savage Things pulls no punches with its gore. The kills are impressive in the first issue and they keep that same level of insanity throughout this one. Moustafa really drives home how evil the Black Forest recruits are in a single page showing glimpses of their actions over time. Interestingly, only one or two of them show the action as it's happening. Most are either directly before or directly after, letting your mind fill in the gaps as to what heinous acts they're about to commit.
Jordan Boyd's colors set the tone for Savage Things. There's a hazy glow around the flashback scenes, then a cool darkness around the present day ones. When Abel enters the hospital, everything is bright and vibrant due to the incandescent lights of the building. If this was an action movie, that scene would have featured a ton of quick cuts. Instead, we get to see everything clearly.
Savage Things raises the stakes – and the body count – considerably with this issue. It works with the terrifying premise of a group of highly trained, emotionless soldiers going rogue on American soil. The only person capable of stopping them is another highly trained, emotionless soldier. Sure, this can end well.