Synopsis: In his few years of life, KJ has become a brutal survivor. Stranded on a strange and dangerous island as a child, KJ has learned a valuable lesson to survive: trust nothing. When strange men appear on the island, KJ must fend for himself, but what happened to his parents? Were they taken by the island where dinosaurs to reign supreme? Or were they taken by much worse?
Review: Savage is a very cryptic series. Page by page, you search for clues to unlock the mysteries of this strange world. Done poorly, a series like Savage becomes infuriating. However, the pacing and methodical storytelling negates any concern. I really appreciate Moore allowing the art speak for itself when it comes to KJ’s pages. Approaches like this have been done before, but they have not always been done well. Actions speak louder than words in this instance since most dialogue comes in flashbacks. It makes sense that KJ doesn’t speak much; he would have no one to speak to once his parents were no longer in the picture. Flashback pages with KJ’s parents are vital since the protagonist remains silent. This is where the really important character development takes place. Seeing KJ’s mother cope with illness, loss, and survival creates an emotional and psychological road map to our protagonist.
The art in Savage does great deal of the heavy lifting. Page after page, panel after panel, Henry and Larosa continue to astound me with such a rich and varied world. World building is personally one of my favorite aspects of reading stories. With a story like Savage, the jungle needs to feel dangerous, and it does. The page where KJ is confronted by a pack of dinosaurs seems full of potential peril. You can almost hear the sounds these creatures make along with the rustling from unseen threats in the thick vegetation around them.
There have been stories like Savage. Land of the Lost, Lost, Swiss Family Robinson, Journey to the Center of the Earth and etc have all done outstanding tales of survival in the face of adversity. What make stories like these interesting is not just the addition of a twist to the tale. What makes these stories work is an understanding of how these environments transforms these characters. How someone can go from civilized to savage (I don’t like those terms, but they were the only ones I could use to simply convey an idea.) left alone to survive nature’s power. Halfway through its run, Savage demonstrates that it can do these things and more, and I look forward to the final two issues.