“The Saviors” #4 continues James Robinson’s science fiction thriller with artist J. Bone as Tomas Ramirez attempts to make sense of the increasingly bizarre world around him. After falling in with a society bent on stopping the alien lizard-men, Tomas is left once more on his own, trying to determine what is happening and why he’s wrapped up in it all.
J. Bone brings expressive art that conveys emotion as much through panel layout as it does on character expression. The end result is a story tailor-made for transformation to other media that essentially serves as a storyboard. A pullback scene as Tomas attempts to sneak away has the makings of a “Where’s Waldo?” drawing, and shows the reader just how alone Tomas is in a world he understands less and less. The first two issues of “The Saviors” were grayscale, but Bone snuck color into the third issue, an element that continues in “The Saviors” #4. Red clay hues fill and accentuate Bone’s art, adding texture to buildings and mood to settings. That clay carries throughout the scenes in Mexico, but as the scene shifts at the close of the issue, so does the coloring, with cool gun metal blue washing over the scene that transitions Tomas’ conflict towards a new battlefield.
James Robinson’s story is thrilling, with familiar aspects in moments like Tomas’ comparison between one of the aliens and Kaa, the snake from “The Jungle Book.” This could just be a story of an alien invasion, told with J. Bone on art, but Robinson plays around with the prime concept quite a bit. The aliens aren’t the standard issue processing-humans-for-food. Their exact purpose remains unstated, although Robinson gives readers much more insight in this issue during Tomas’ conversation with one of them.
“The Saviors” #4 is a little bit classic sci-fi thriller throwback and part visionary exploration of a concept nearly as old as fiction itself. Robinson and Bone are an unconventional pairing that results in an unconventional, unpredictable and exciting story. Just as things seem pointed in a better direction for the characters, Robinson makes a shift, Bone matches that with excellent art and the story changes again. The reader is right alongside Tomas, wondering what’s going on without being tipped to any behind-the-scenes answers or developments. Robinson has placed this story in the readers’ collective laps, pulling them into the adventure. Image Comics has produced a number of unpredictably engaging stories recently and “The Saviors” is another accomplishment in that direction.