You want to hurt. You revel in suffering. You are monsters. That is fine. We simply want you to be our monsters.
See below for a review and preview images from the newest book from Vertigo: Savage Things #1. (The book itself has some pretty explicit images of death and dismemberment, but the preview pages I was sent left out the very worst page, so you can read this review over breakfast if you feel like it.)
(There are, however, a few spoilers.)
It’s a trope we see all the time: an organization collects young, disturbed children, and promises them they can be psychopaths AND a productive citizens, with the right training.
The thing is, it’s a trope because it’s fascinating. We love the idea of a tame psychopath. We’ve also seen enough TV to know they won’t stay tame forever; we’re waiting for them to slip the leash, and we want to see how high the body count will be when they do.
Abel’s parents were murdered when he was a child, but he didn’t seem too upset about it. The murderer had been sent to bring him to a special school for little monsters like himself, so something in Abel’s past must have made it pretty obvious he wasn’t like the other children. (We don’t see that in this issue, but I’m waiting for a flashback.)
Justin Jordan is taking his time with the story, we have a good set up for what to come, with plenty of questions left to answer: what’s happened in the 25 years since Abel started joined the school? What happened to the Black Forest program? Why exactly is someone slaughtering dozens of people in hotel rooms and leaving numbers written in blood on the walls?
I’m enjoying Ibrahim Moustafa’s art, it’s a very realistic style, without getting too realistic (I always cringe away from the books where every line of the face and every tooth is distinctly outlined. This is nothing like that. There’s tons of detail and shading but it’s just stylized enough to be beautiful.) The expressions are great too, like when Cain and Abel are giving each other a “the who in the WHAT now?” look in the classroom.
Jordan Boyd has used a dramatic but muted color palette, very dark tones with lots of shadows. Even the blood splashes are done in a darker tone, which somehow makes it less lurid but just as disturbing.
I’m definitely in for the next issue.