Comics Features

REVIEW: Savant #1

Written by Scott Meridew

Good golly gosh it’s been a long time since I’ve done a comic review, hasn’t it? I think the last one was “Greetings from Earth“, which I did waaaaay back in December last year. It’s about time I stretch the old comic reviewing muscles and get ready to verbally blast the ever loving crap out of a terrible comic! What do we have here? Savant? Hmmm. This should be suitably awful. Hold on a sec, I’m going to have quick read and then tear it to pieces. Back in a mo.

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Ah. Damn. Ummmmm… bit of a twist. It turns out that Savant is actually quite good. In fact it’s more than good. It’s intriguing, well written and, one or two petty niggles aside, does what any good comic book should do… it made me want to read the next one. I mean, what the bloody hell am I supposed to do with it? It’s a rare occurrence that I’m confronted with anything that meets my impossibly high set of standards, and if something does manage to pole vault over that particular bar then I simply don’t know what to do with it! Verbally assassinating other people’s hard work is the only way I gain any sense of self worth. So now I’m going to have to spend the rest of the article talking about how amazing this comic is and why you should definitely check it out. Can you think of anything worse? Let’s just get this over with.

So what’s the story? Well it takes place in THE FUUUUTUUURE!!! Just imagine a really dramatic voice said that. We start on an alien planet called Hubris where we meet our main character Lode, who can only be described as a cosmic, psychedelic Tilda Swinton. Lode is a Savant, i.e. she’s from a planet called Savant. Apparently Savants are kinda like the Watchers from Marvel. Basically, young Savants go on “Walkabout” (Insert Crocodile Dundee joke here), where they “…traverse the other populated worlds searching for ‘life’ experiences.”. So, it’s a sort of cosmic gap year. Many Savants go on to record great moments in history, but they don’t just write down what happen. They record the memories of the event, as well as the emotions behind it as well, essentially “…keeping the moment alive forever.”. Lode, however, has taken a slightly different approach. She decided to seek out warzones and death, chronicling the last moments of the dying. Fun!

So the first issue is about how the local government recruits Lode to help find a war criminal. Okay… not the first person I’d ask, but hey ho. Actually, seeing as how she can download the memories of any person into her mind, she proves to be very useful, getting herself and a small squad of soldiers closer to their target. I talked about petty niggles before and really there is only one that I want to talk about and that’s Lode herself. And the truth is, it’s not really a petty niggle but it could end up being a much bigger niggle if it isn’t addressed.

Lode has a kind of otherworldly quality about her. Which is interesting, but it’s a short step from being otherworldly to being a boring character. Make no mistake, Lode isn’t a boring character; but she’s occasionally dangerously close to being one. She stops short by showing compassion to those who are dying as she takes their memories and by lamenting the fate of Hubris, which is slowly dying due to crazy warlords and insomniac citizens. But I swear, not once does she get angry or joyful or fearful. I’m not saying she’s not interesting, nor am I saying that she needs to be constantly emotional all the damn time. Just as long as we get a greater depth of character from her. There’s already depth, but I want more. Which, in a way is a compliment to the writer, Jim Alexander, because he’s written a character that I actually WANT to see developed. There is something special here, and I want more dammit!

Now the art. The artist and colourist (Will Pickering and Fin Cramb) deserve equal praise here as the artwork is rather nice to look at. The design of the characters and their surroundings seems to be both pleasingly simplistic and superbly detailed at the same time. I really don’t know how that could even happen, but that’s the best way I can describe it. But what really sells it is the colours. It’s both muted and vibrant. I talked about how Lode was cosmic and psychedelic and that applies to the colours as well. Frankly, merely talking about it doesn’t do it justice. Just read the damn thing, you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Savant is a beautiful, thoughtful comic and if you don’t immediately go and read a copy this instant then I’ll be forced to beat you over the head with a badminton racquet until you do. What? You think I’m joking? RUN!

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Do you enjoy far out Sci-Fi comics? Of course you do. You’re a sophisticated, cultured person. Why wouldn’t you? Get onto the comments or twitter and tell us how much you like them. Remember, I’ve still got my badminton racquet!

About the author

Scott Meridew