This week is a one-two punch of indie comics goodness, as we look at the brand new Image series Extremity, and Justin Jordan’s new Vertigo series Savage Things!
Extremity #1 (Image Comics)
Image Comics have prided themselves on being the go to place for comic creators, and while it’s created a glut of new titles that sometimes feel very similar, there are still lots of books that feature some pretty awesome surprises. One of those surprises is definitely Daniel Warren Johnson’s Extremity, a book that takes a lot of similar themes you’ve seen in other Image titles and completely turns them on their head.
Extremity takes place in a (you guessed it) science fiction fantasy world, where a rebellious group of freedom fighters known as the Roto battle against the evil Paznina army. However, Daniel Warren Johnson’s art and designs for this world really make Extremity stand out from other fantasy and sci-fi Image titles. His Princess Thea, a gifted artist who tragically lost her hand as a child, has an awesome little revenge story that takes up the first issue. This smaller story serves as a great introduction to Extremity’s world, and by presenting the story this way, Johnson doesn’t bog down the story with an info dump right at the start. We’re given just enough to intrigue us, while having a relatable human element to hook us in.
While Johnson’s story is great, it’s his art that steals the show. This opening issue is centered around a Roto attack on a Paznina fortress, and it’s stunning. This is a fantastic showcase for Johnson’s style, as he gives us great character designs, cool vehicles, and some truly brutal action. Not only that, but Johnson’s art is able to convey the conflicting emotions that Thea and her family have over their war. While Thea is very much out for vengeance, her brother clearly is not, and there’s a heartbreaking moment when it comes for Thea to get revenge for her mother and her talent.
Extremity completely blew me away, and I can’t recommend it enough. While you may pass it by on the shelf because it looks like “just another fantasy Image comic”, trust me, it’s really, really awesome. Extremity is another great example of the fantastic things Image can allow creators to do, and like Saga, Birthright, and Southern Bastards before it, I’m expecting very big things from this book in the future.
Savage Things #1 (Vertigo Comics)
What if the Suicide Squad were trained by the government as kids? That’s the premise behind Justin Jordan and Ibrahim Moustafa’s Savage Things, a new Vertigo series that’s sure to please hardcore action fans. This shouldn’t be a huge surprise, as Justin Jordan’s big comics debut came from the insane Image Series The Strange Talent of Luther Strode, and while Savage Things isn’t as insane as that book, the grounded approach here works really well.
Much of Savage Things is a set up issue, as Justin Jordan peels back the layers on Abel, the star of our series. At a young age, Abel came home to find his parents murdered by a government agent. After showing no emotion over their deaths, he’s brought in for a controversial government military program called Black Forest run by Dr. Koenig. The idea behind Black Forest is to use children who show signs of being sociopaths, pyromaniacs, and other disorders and use them to instill fear in America’s enemies. But now, 25 years later, someone is out for revenge, and Abel is now being called in to help the program that killed his parents.
Justin Jordan’s script for Savage Things is really intriguing, and it doesn’t hurt that he has a knack for writing awesome action sequences either. Jordan also doesn’t get too bogged down in explaining the Black Forest program, or how the other members of the program were tracked down. Instead, he focuses primarily on Abel, and while this overshadows some of the other members of the group, Abel is still plenty compelling as our lead.
On the art side of things, Ibrahim Moustafa delivers. Moustafa’s action sequences are extremely well done, and his style is detailed enough without making the characters look too stiff. His style is very reminiscent of Steve Dillon and Darick Robertson, which is the perfect fit for this type of series. If it all goes well, Savage Things should lead to bigger projects for him.
If you’re looking for a bad ass action book, and you think Suicide Squad is too tame, then Savage Things is definitely a book to check out. The action scenes are really well done, and the hook for the series is very strong. Hell, if it does well enough, maybe we’ll see these characters face off with the Suicide Squad later.