Savage #1 begins a new series from Valiant Entertainment on February 17. Continuing the adventures of the titular character, writer Max Bemis throws him into modern London as an influencer. Only for the art by Nathan Stockman to showcase how Savage’s wild movements are a commodification. A bunch of frustrations and pent-up energy explode onto the scene in this grand opener.
Savage follows Kevin Sauvage Jr., son of wealthy British socialites, who crash land onto a mysterious island full of dinosaurs. After surviving the island and violent marauders, this modern-day Tarzan ends up in London under the care of his siblings.
Savage #1: Repurposing The Natural
Savage #1 wastes no time by making a fish-out-of-water scenario for the hero. Bemis takes a modern approach by making Kevin an influencer. With Kevin’s opportunistic brother, Henry, wasting no time in publicizing/monetizing him, Kevin is everywhere.
With real-life social media influencers being a topic of interest, this series goes into what makes them attention-worthy. Consumers always look for the most exotic and relatable mindsets because applying somebody’s out-of-box thinking to their everyday lives can be a welcome change. While nobody expects to face dinosaurs in their time, Savage’s thought process of keeping an active mind is universal with the right words. It is what makes Kevin aware of the wider implications of celebrity life in Savage #1. The phrases to say and the interactions with people like autographs are something Kevin understands; it just doesn’t satisfy him. Because by all accounts, Savage and the reader feel how inauthentic the ads are.
The Wild Instinct
Stockman brings this feeling out in the body language of Savage. Throughout the first half of Savage #1, Kevin mentally struggles with his celebrity life. The orderly way feels too constraining on him, unlike when he explains his way of thinking with extended limb movements. It’s a feeling of authenticity that people try to recreate for advertising, but for Kevin, the attempts are just as scripted as everything else. So with the reader sharing this feeling of not seeing the real thing when these wild and exaggerated movements come out during a dinosaur attack, it’s a strong liberating sensation.
The colors by Tríona Farrell serve as a good foil for Savage’s mindset and desires. In most panels where he’s up close, there is a red background that displays Kevin’s aggression. So when dinosaurs are attacking London’s people, this red lightens to an orange color. Unlike before, this signifies that despite being able to go “Savage,” Kevin’s mindset is to protect people instead of taking his anger out on the dinosaurs. It’s what makes me want to root for him.
Letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou emphasizes the difference between scripted dialogue and instinct in Savage #1. In many instances where people say things in a small font, it feels like a natural reaction. As one of the choreographers’ notes within a panel indirectly notes, there’s no emotion or boldness in what people are saying to the point of displaying that in bold words. When people speak in colored words, there is a real sense of emotion and passion that the reader will hook onto.
Follow/Subscribe To Savage #1
Savage #1 is only the beginning of Valiant’s newest character. The life of a feral social media influencer certainly looks enticing. But it’s how the reader can genuinely connect and relate to Kevin that makes him good as a character and influencer. Despite his frustrations with the modern world, he still has goodwill towards the people living in it. Because by all accounts, learning to live with these frustrations with an active mind is something people can use.