Review: THE SAVIORS #1

Written by James Robinson
Art by J.Bone
Published by Image Comics
Release Date: December 24, 2013

saviors01_coverA small town stoner finds himself at the wrong place at the wrong time as legendary writer James Robinson (Starman, The Golden Age, Justice League, Earth-2) throws his hat into the creator-owned circle with The Saviors. Joining Robinson is renowned artist J.Bone, and together they craft an engaging first issue that shows a lot of potential, but ultimately left me wanting more.

Tomas Ramirez is from the small sleepy town of Passburg where apparently the only things to do are get stoned, drink at the Greymore, work at the local garage, and get stoned some more. Unlike typical protagonists in the story of a small town, Tomas is perfectly content with his life. We learn this, and much more about Passburg through a conversation with an honest to god lizard while Tomas is getting stoned. It is an amusing, but ultimately grating, choice by Robinson that seems to serve a dual purpose of establishing just how small and desolate Passburg is and to work as a much needed exposition dump to give the reader a quick background on Tomas and the town. Tomas eventually finds himself smoking a joint at the wrong place and sees something he isn’t supposed to that changes everything and ruins his chances of living a quiet and simple life. Along the way we are briefly introduced to a mysterious passerby, the sheriff of Passburg and Tomas’ good friend, Frank. Without having to introduce a ton of characters things get creepy and crazy quickly after the aforementioned info dump.

Without getting too spoilerish, when the issue starts, Tomas is getting stoned, and by the end he is running for his life. The confrontation between Tomas and the person who is after him escalates rather quickly and the resulting chase scene is thrilling. The shift in tone from dreary and quiet to loud and scary really works on Robinson’s behalf. The only problem is that the second half of the book is so much more entertaining than the slow but necessary first half, that the issue ends just as it is hitting its stride. On one hand, you may feel that the book does its job in making you want to see what happens next, but on the other you might not feel you get enough in this issue. The story is well written, creepy, funny and shows a lot of potential, but we don’t see any signs or idea of the size and scope that Robinson is aiming for.

On the artistic side, you have J. Bone — who at first glance is a peculiar choice for a book such as this, but as the issue progresses and the story gets frantic, he ends up being the perfect choice. His lines are solid and his style is more “cartoony” than one would expect from an adventure-horror comic, but he gives off a great small town feel. The final page splash also shows that he can handle the horror aspect of this comic pretty damn well. It will be interesting to see if the style of his work fits as well with the script as the story gets bigger and more involved, but in this issue, it is a treat. I must also bring up the fact that the book is in black & white. I personally don’t mind a book without color as it could add a lot to the atmosphere of the book, but I know a lot of people are put off by it. While I would have preferred to see the events of this issue unfold in color, I enjoyed the art the way it was presented and hope that people don’t pass up on giving it a chance because they don’t want a black & white comic.

Overall The Saviors #1 offered a decent opening half with a stellar conclusion that left me wanting more. I understood the reasoning and necessity behind the first half of the book, but the only things that saved it for me were the weed jokes, and not everyone will enjoy those. I’m a sucker for the loveable loser types and Tomas certainly fits the bill. I am looking forward to seeing how he gets out of the situation he finds himself in, learning more about the antagonists who are almost assuredly a part of a larger conspiracy, and looking forward to seeing Robinson work the world building magic we get a glimpse of here. It is a small week this week, and I hope this book will find an audience, because the seeds of greatness are there to be sowed and nurtured.

The Verdict: 8.0/10

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