James Robinson and J. Bone’s “The Saviors” is a simple but effective little story with a lot of potential going forward, however the first half dozen pages are naked exposition that fall decidedly flat.
Robinson and Bone’s concept — one of a small town guy satisfied with his small town life whose world goes pear-shaped when he discovers that some folks in his town are lizard people — is a fun one. It has a nice “Twilight Zone” quality to it that’s enjoyable and there’s a lot of potential going forward, in large part due to Bone’s clean and energetic black, white and gray-toned visuals that have a cartoonish bent well matched for the tone of the story they’re telling.
Bone’s consistent and engaging art is incredibly expressive overall. His character designs — from slacker anti-hero Tomas and the square-jawed stranger from out of town, to the lizard men and their full lizard forms — are all perfectly on point. Characters feel like they all belong in the same story, and yet there is a wonderful variety to choose from which gives the town, even in this first issue, a fleshed out and realistic feeling. Bone’s storytelling is effortlessly clear and he handles talking heads as easily as action sequences. The last eleven pages of the book are nearly silent and the best of the book as Bone moves readers with exceptional skill through the death of a character and a riveting desert chase scene. It’s wonderful stuff.
The problem with the book lies in the opening exposition, which is heavy, uninteresting and ultimately unnecessary. Tomas spends an extended opening sequence talking to a lizard about his life and it feels like an unnatural device designed entirely to let us know about the character. People rarely (if ever) do this in real life and it reads exactly that forced. It’s a pretty amateur move as presented and it feels at odds with the rest of the book.
There’s a lot to like in this first issue of “The Saviors,” and if future issues are more like the second half than the first half, readers are in for a real treat. The cliffhanger ending and concept itself has some real promise, and with the stunning artwork there’s a lot to look forward to.