"Savage Things #1" 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 March 1st, 2017
Twenty five years ago, the government recruited a bunch of child sociopaths. They were given extensive training to become chaos agents, executing enemies of the state. Things didn't work out, so the plan was scrapped and the agents were exterminated...only that didn't work out the way they planned. Fast forward to today after several bloody victims are found murdered in horrific ways. It's a message to the powers that be. The status quo is about to get shaken up and these monsters are not staying swept under the rug.
Savage Things has a great hook, even though a big chunk of that first paragraph came from the solicitation information for the first issue and not the comic itself. You learn enough about it in the book, but not the whole thing. We're introduced to Abel, the sociopath that got away, leaving the program voluntarily as he shows off a supreme level of badassery. This is Jason Bourne if he was a sociopath.
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There are a handful of flashbacks to Abel's initiation to the program that are downright chilling. Colorist Jordan Boyd gives these a light blue shade to differentiate them from the other pages. It's a nice effect that also serves to wash out some of the emotion, as the folks heading up the program are rather heartless. Much is implied in these pages, allowing you to fill in the blanks regarding what happened and what these kids were put through. Granted, they're all monsters so you don't have to feel all that sorry for them.
This also extends to the murders. You don't actually see them being committed. Instead, you see the aftermath. It's bloody carnage in a number of hotel rooms. Bodies practically torn apart. Rib cages are ripped open. One guy is sitting up, holding his own severed head. There are only four shots, each more gore-filled than the last, however they speak volumes. That entire sequence is presented without a single word of dialogue too. The creative team lets these horrifying images speak for themselves.
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Artist Ibrahim Moustafa continues this excellent artwork with the action scenes. There are a great set of pages towards the end with Abel that look like something right out of a fast-paced spy movie. The fights are excellently choreographed and bring a high level of tension. Unlike an action movie, there aren't a bunch of quick cuts. You can take your time and soak in each shot.
Savage Things takes spy thrillers like The Bourne Identity or Mission Impossible and adds brutal murder. It's like if James Bond went rogue and started using his considerable training to murder innocent civilians. Think about how terrifying that would be. That's what this book is about and it's riveting.