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SAVAGE #1: Teen Tarzan Meets London, But With Dinosaurs (Spoilery Comic Book Review)

What do you get when you try to have Tarzan return to civilization, but in the modern world? And with dinosaurs somehow? Apparently, you get SAVAGE #1 from Valiant Entertainment, coming to comic book stores on February 17, 2021.

Warning: spoilers for SAVAGE #1. If you have any desire to read this, hold here until you do. Otherwise, carry on.

SAVAGE #1 cover A.
Clearly, these things are not match for the might of the Union Jack.

Max Bemis (Moon Knight, Heavy) is the writer for SAVAGE, and yes, he’s the singer. As for the art, you can thank Nathan Stockman (SpideyDoctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme) for that. Triona Farrell brought us these wonderful colors, as the colorist, and we have Hassan Ostmane-Elhaou for the text design. This team, along with Valiant Entertainment, are responsible for bringing us this rather bizarre superhero tale of a modern day Tarzan. But with sort-of dinosaurs.

SAVAGE #1: Plot Summary

SAVAGE #1 cover B.
Tarzan dealing with the trials of social media.

The plot of SAVAGE #1 begins with something that sounds much like the aftermath of an epilogue for our main character: Kevin Sauvage. Basically: boy grows up on dinosaur-infested island after the death of his parents, and then sometime later, he’s rescued and taken back to modern day London. It sounds like the happy ending for an action-thriller survival story, right? Well, not exactly.

SAVAGE #1 cover with fabulous hair.
Being a celebrity is not as cracked up as it seems.

This part of SAVAGE #1 is actually pretty realistic. Thanks to Kevin’s exploits (plus getting caught scaling Big Ben on YouTube), he’s now a social media celebrity. And with his elder brother’s management, he’s now practically a global icon. Or at least, a British one. Except, the fame is not making Kevin happy. Not one bit. All it’s doing is making Kevin actually miss his island of giant, hungry dinosaurs. And then just like that, the dinosaurs come to him! Doesn’t that sound fun?

SAVAGE #1 preorder cover.
Ah, just like old times.

Ironically, Kevin Sauvage looks more happy carving up dinosaurs and kaiju than he did taking photo ops for whatever this world’s Facebook is. And then a bunch of weirdos in lab coats had to go and ruin things for him right when it was getting good. They also tie up and capture Kevin, which is a bit rude of them, don’t you think? Unfortunately, that concludes SAVAGE #1. We’ll just have to wait until the next issue to find out what happens next.

SAVAGE #1: The Good

The social media first page of SAVAGE #1.
It’s got a memorable first page, I’ll admit.

SAVAGE #1‘s premise was what hooked me. It’s basically Tarzan finally returning to the civilized world, and trying to adapt to all the changes from the life he has known. And in many ways, failing to do so. Kevin Sauvage’s wishes to return to his dinosaur-infested island, despite it being, you know, infested with dinosaurs, is proof of that. That island may have a big dinosaur problem (in every possible meaning), but it was his home for his entire life. And now that he’s in a brave new world he doesn’t understand, he just longs for what he knows as familiar. Basically, it’s Disney’s Tarzan in that stiff, stuffy suit; but if he was wearing it all the time and can’t take it off.

Tarzan looking sad in a suit.
Why do you think he looks so down in it?

I mean, the action scenes involving Kevin Sauvage ripping into dinosaurs were pretty cool, don’t get me wrong. There’s something viscerally pleasing in seeing Kevin jump into a giant dinosaur’s ear and killing it from the inside. It’s just that I feel they pale a bit in comparison to the human drama of a stranger in a strange land in the beginning of SAVAGE #1.

SAVAGE #1: The Bad

Honestly, there’s not much bad about SAVAGE #1, but there is one thing that bugs me. You mileage may vary on this part, but I personally think that the surprise appearance of those mad scientist wannabes at the very end detracted from the story a bit. I mean sure, they make a pretty distinctive group of villains. But, their sudden appearance with little foreshadowing beforehand threw me for a loop. I prefer villains that make their actions a bit more known throughout the story before their appearance, not villains that pop up out of nowhere like daisies.

Mushu: They popped out of the snow! Like daisies!
Daisy Hun: ...
Flowey? Is that your cousin?

Besides the lack of foreshadowing though, I do feel that those mad scientist-type weirdos don’t really fit into the story of SAVAGE #1. At least, not this early in the story. Maybe if Kevin Sauvage had to deal with random dinosaur appearances and find out who is behind them, this would’ve worked. But with this sudden reveal like that, it makes me wonder just how on Earth these idiots managed to keep their identities a secret all this time? Especially with all the bystanders carrying cameras around everywhere.

Conclusion

Do you want to read about a modern day Tarzan returning to civilization, and encountering the enigma that is social media? But with bloody dinosaur action and mad scientists thrown in for kicks? Or do you just want to see what the singer Max Bemis has come up with now? If you do, check out SAVAGE #1 from Valiant Entertainment, coming out in February 17, 2021 at your local comic book store.

Source: Valiant Entertainment

By B.K. Lok

I'm a new author exploring the world of writing, and now seeing about getting something published for once. I've also been posting fanfiction on www.fanfiction.net under the pen name BbK2442 for several years now, if any of you are interested.

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