PopCultHQ received a review copy of SAVAGE #4 from Valiant Comics. Available on Wednesday, February 15th, the creative team for this series features writing from B. Clay Moore, illustrations by Clayton Henry and Lewis LaRosa, colors from Brian Reber with Andrew Dalhouse, and letters from Dave Lanphear. Here’s our spoiler-free review of the final issue of SAVAGE.
<EDIT 9:07 PST: Just informed that though Andrew Dalhouse is credited in issue four’s credits as contributing to the colors of this issue, he actually worked on issue three. We’ll keep the ways to follow him online listed at the end so you can find out more!>
SAVAGE #4 (of 4)
Written by B. CLAY MOORE
Art by CLAYTON HENRY and LEWIS LAROSA
Cover A by LEWIS LAROSA
Cover B by ROBERT GILL
Character Design Variant by LEWIS LAROSA
Variant Cover by MARGUERITE SAUVAGE
B&W Sketch Variant by LEWIS LAROSA
Out of the jungle, into the fight…
When all hope seems lost, the final threads tethering the Sauvage family to their humanity will finally be severed. Just as the beasts within begin to take hold, the final revelation about the prehistoric island that has claimed them will finally stand revealed. But will this twist of fate offer a last chance at rescue…or forever seal their doom?
<Preview Valiant’s New Release (2/15): SAVAGE #4 (of 4) by B. Clay Moore, Clayton Henry & Lewis LaRosa>
The final issue of the four-part miniseries SAVAGE ends in grand fashion. The backstory is complete and Savage’s struggles in the wild are coming to an end. In issue four, we see the young orphan warrior come into his own ready to explore not only his true home world, but the Valiant Universe as a whole. Even as young as he is, consider him a force to reckon with as his primitive instinct and survival skills have made him into a formidable and deadly foe.
This issue continues with Savage’s brutal and often vicious survivalist techniques he’s learned from his time in the wild. But along with that, you can’t help but feel that the protagonist has a great sense of peace within. He’s beyond grieving and he’s ready to do his family proud. He’s learned what he needs to know and is finally ready to make the journey back home prepared and well-equipped to face the unknown. There are a couple of questions that weren’t completely answered or resolved, but I’m expecting that for a later date. The issue ends fantastically and in such a way you’ll be excited for the next adventure of Valiant’s new hero.
After these four issues alone, I want more B. Clay Moore. It’s not only his writing I enjoy but his delivery. Issue one I recall be curious as to how this back-and-forth would play out, but now seeing it in its entirety was a smack upside the head telling me to trust what Moore is bringing. I would so love to see how Clay wrote a script for any one of these issues. It feels as if he has a layout artist’s mind when it comes to telling his story. It’s really fun to see when it’s done with such precision. Moore’s narrative was a sharp and fierce entry into the Valiant Universe. Expect to see a lot from B. Clay Moore in the near future as SAVAGE upped his value.
It’s been a real joy seeing both Lewis LaRosa and Clayton Henry trading off in this series; the former with the present-day scenes, the latter with the past. In issue four, however, Henry gets to dabble more into LaRosa’s landscape and get in on the dino drawings and does so admirably. Both artists have done an exceptional job at creating this savage land; a gritty, earthen environment, an ever-looming threat, and a harsh look at the sometimes graphic survival in this captivating world. With a title that doesn’t fall in line with the model of traditional Valiant Comics, both illustrators got to show off their range and break from their typical work and the results have been fantastic! Very curious to see how Savage enters the Valiant Universe, but I’m curious…who will draw him?
Colorist Brian Reber has played such a large role in setting the tone of the series, creating unique hues for each artist, all while maintaining the fluidity of Moore’s narrative. Reber shows how crucial a
good great colorist is to a story and a title. For a great example, simply pick up any issue of SAVAGE (you’ll want them all) and thumb through the last few added pages showing the layout and process from pencils to inks to colors. Love that these pages were added with each issue as we not only get to see a bit more of the process in creating SAVAGE, but hear from the creators themselves describe their fellow creators’ contributions. Andrew Dalhouse is credited with contributing to this issue, and though I can’t say for sure what he added, I know he brings with him an impressive resume of credits to his name. He certainly paired nicely with Reber as the finale looked spectacular.
Dave Lanphear has been the letterer for SAVAGE’s entire run and has had a bit of a role similar to Reber. In working with Clayton Henry’s past scenes, it was pretty much business as usual with dialog, proper placement, and whatnot. But when he worked on Lewis LaRosa’s present-day, prehistoric panels, it concentrated more on sound effects, grunts, and noises. And not the most simplest or common ones either, like Pow, Crash, and you get the jist. More primitive, as in “What does a dinosaur sound like moving through the jungle?” or “What sound would a dinosaur make upon being gutted?” It was great to see Lanphear dive into these scenes and add to the ambiance.
PopCultHQ’s overall assessment:
To truly appreciate SAVAGE, you are doing yourself a huge favor by reading all four issues in a row. Don’t get me wrong, reading them monthly doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy this book. Quite the opposite. Plus, with their Prestige Format on the series, this is a book to be held. But together, and this will certainly be the case when the trade releases down the road, the story takes on another level. You see the beauty not only in the narrative or the art as a whole, but in what it doesn’t say. There are panels throughout where Moore allows his writing to be fulfilled by LaRosa and Reber. An artistic storytelling generally difficult to pull off in great lengths, but it’s done so well in SAVAGE that it doesn’t compliment the story, it’s a part of it and an important one. The creative team as a whole, from Moore’s writing to Lanphear’s lettering, is such a cohesive unit and a great one assembled for ushering in this new series and character.
In 2016, Valiant touted “The Future of Valiant” as the next wave of characters to enter their vast Valiant Universe. Seeing them announce titles like FAITH, GENERATION ZERO, and HARBINGER RENEGADE, I could totally see how they’d be absorbed into other titles. But I wondered just how will Savage enter the Valiant Universe? SAVAGE #4 will give you a taste, leave you wanting more, and show that we are far from done seeing this new character. Savage, welcome to the Valiant Universe.
SAVAGE #4 (of 4) can be ordered now at ComiXology
and at your local comic shop and online retailers on Wednesday, February 15th! Hey, that’s today!
Be sure to follow the creative team!
B. Clay Moore – Writing
Clayton Henry – Interior Art
Lewis LaRosa – Interior Art
Brian Reber – Colors
Andrew Dalhouse – Colors
Dave Lanphear – Letters
Valiant Comics – Publisher