Savage Things #1 Review

comic books:
Christian Bone

Reviewed by:
On March 1, 2017
Last modified:March 1, 2017


Savage Things #1 serves as a strong first installment of what promises to be a brilliantly disturbing new miniseries from DC's Vertigo.

Savage Things #1 Review

This review contains minor spoilers. 

No, this isn’t a spinoff of Netflix’s Stranger Things. Rather, it’s a new spy horror/thriller comic book from DC’s Vertigo imprint. Vertigo is known for its dark, mature material that couldn’t be published under DC’s usually family-friendly banner, and Savage Things definitely fits that bill.

The premise goes that twenty five years ago, an ultra-clandestine government organization rounded up adolescents who showed signs of becoming serials killers. But instead of trying to help them, they encourage these savage tendencies, as the dangerous kids make perfect, ruthless secret agents for the Black Forest project. As Dr. Koenig, their “teacher” says, “you’re monsters. That is fine. We simply want you to be our monsters.” However, for as-yet unknown reasons, the project goes horribly wrong and these “monsters” are let loose on the world.

It’s a terrific, terrifying central concept and writer Justin Jordan looks to be telling it in an interesting way to keep up the intrigue. This first issue is split between two time zones, concurrently showing us the original project and its terrible fallout in the present day. Savage Things is a story without a clear protagonist – after all, who is there to root for between the serial killers and the people that trained them – but the closest is Abel, the most dangerous of the Black Forest operatives who is now unleashed. The opening scene is particularly strong, as Abel returns home to find his parents brutally murdered. Usually, this would help us sympathize with the protagonist, but Abel’s strangely muted reaction effectively gets across his chilling, sociopathic tendencies.

Ibrahim Moustafa is Jordan’s co-creator on the book and his artwork ably matches the quality of the writing. His clean, cut lines give the story a cinematic feel and his character designs are strong, particularly as he has to draw them at different ages but retain a certain likeness. The climactic action scene of the issue, which sees Abel turning the tables on a covert ops team who are tailing him, is a thrilling Jason Bourne-esque sequence.

The most memorable piece of Moustafa’s artwork, though, is the horrifying scene where it’s revealed that Cain has mutilated the guests in a swanky Manhattan hotel. Without any dialogue, those pages belong to Moustafa and he makes the most of it by packing them full of gory, ultra-violent imagery.

Jordan Boyd on colourist duties also deserves a commendation. His paints the book full of greys and washed-out aqua blues, which perfectly fits a story that operates in shades of grey rather than the blacks and whites of heroes vs. villains. Together, the art team make this a gorgeous comic to look at.

Savage Things #1 serves as a strong first installment of what looks to be a brilliantly disturbed new book from Vertigo. In many ways, it’s just a taster for what’s to come, as it lays on the mystique and intrigue rather than answers. With sturdy plotting from Jordan and some exquisite artwork from Moustafa, we look forward to seeing where this promising miniseries goes next.

Savage Things #1 Review

Savage Things #1 serves as a strong first installment of what promises to be a brilliantly disturbing new miniseries from DC's Vertigo.