By Dustin Cabeal
I’m not one to use simple explanations of what a comic is or isn’t. Sometimes it’s unavoidable as is the case with Savage Things because sidestepping it would likely make for a review that was uninteresting and off-putting for people that were perhaps interested in actually reading the comic afterward.
Savage Things is about a government program that took children identified as sociopaths and pointed them in the direction that best served the United States. Think Jason Bourne, but all the recruits are from Dexter. I hate to present it that way, but otherwise, I have to recap fourteen pages at least for you to get an idea about the comic. I’m sure Vertigo/DC has a better description if you’re interested.
The story is divided into two timelines. The first part is set in the past in which a character designated “Abel” is recruited for the program, and then later we see the start of said program. The other part is in the present as another former government sociopath has gone on a rampage to reveal the program. Which is a story device that can be very effective as we learn what happened to the program and why someone would want to reveal its existence and of course it gives an excuse to put Abel back to work.
The writing is some of Justin Jordan’s best since the Luthor Strode series. His dialogue is sharp, and none of it feels wasted. Having followed his work, I can see how he’s worked out the kinks in previous work, and it’s made for a smoother story. The characters feel more believable and play to his strengths. If there’s one thing Jordan writes better than any other writer, it’s murdering sociopaths.
The real star of the book is Ibrahim Moustafa, whose work on High Crime is worth checking out if you like his art here. Not only are his characters extremely realistic looking, but they also come in every shape and size. It wasn’t a comic book world, but rather a look into our world. His action sequences were easy to follow and look fantastic. While there are only three scenes of gore in this issue, they’re very disturbing which adds to the tone of the story. While Jordan manages to fill Savage Things with killer lines of dialogue, Moustafa keeps it grounded in realism which is why his artwork is more disturbing of the two. Abel’s smirk isn’t cool, but rather very revealing of his character and what he’s capable of in the story.
Jordan seems to click with artists, and this is a clear sign of that as he and Mostafa are firing on all cylinders. They make wonderful collaborators and have delivered a damn near flawless first issue. I’ll be looking forward to more from this series and hope that the tone and pacing established here is maintained with a steady hand from the creators.
Savage Things #1