By: Jerry Montgomery
April 4, 2017
Savage Things #2
Written by: Justin Jordan
Artwork by: Ibrahim Moustafa
Savage Things is a new 8 issue limited series written under DC’s Vertigo Imprint. The story centers around a secret government organization, 25 years ago, kidnapped 40 children from their homes and trained them in the art of chaos and mayhem in every sense of the word. War, murder, assassination, sadism, brutality, all done against enemies of the state. All done without feeling, without remorse. The perfect killing machines but much more than that. Killing done to terrorize, to destabilize a populace and induce fear. Frankenstein’s monster made perfect and unleashed upon the world…only they too proved too difficult to control. The program was deemed a failure and the kill squads were meted out for extermination by the very powers which created them. Only that didn’t go as planned. Now, led by Cain, perhaps the brightest and best of them all, he leads these killers against the very government he once swore to kill for.
Issue #1 started off with a bang, or should I say massacre? Forty-some people are killed inside a posh hotel and their bodies arranged to shock and numbers written in their blood on the walls. Next, a man pruning his rose garden is interrupted to watch the news regarding the event, which prompts him to get on the phone to activate, “Blue Ocean”. Enter Abel, going all Jason Bourne on a bunch of black ops guys who were following him…not for crimes, but to offer him a job. Abel is first seen as a young boy when he was recruited for the program (between the bodies of his dead parents) and again at possibly, the defining moment of his training at Black Forest, when he and another young student by the name of Cain, are told to reduce the class of 40 to 20…and I’m not talking about a spelling bee here. Abel is the only operative to have successfully escaped Black Forest and lead a relatively normal life. Or has he?
Issue #2 resumes with Abel in an interrogation room. His captor knows full well that Abel allowed himself to be taken. That he could’ve killed them all. That his curiosity was the only thing that left them alive. Enter the mysterious woman known as Kira who seems to know everything about Abel, Cain and the Black Forest program, revealing to Abel things that even he did not know. Its clear from the get-go that this woman is part of some government agency, but whose? Abel is brought up to speed on the activities of Cain and the other Black Forest operatives and offered a job to help stop and eradicate them. What follows is more murder and mayhem as Cain and his associates further put their plan in motion. Abel’s only observation at the end is that what they have seen thus far, has only been a distraction. The worst is yet to come.
The Verdict: I would best describe this title as a cross between the cable show, Dexter and the Bourne movies, combining the imaginative killing with black ops themes. I haven’t read any previous works of Justin Jordan but he seems to write a compelling and knowledgeable tale that should please fans of spy and military thrills. Artist Ibrahim Moustafa’s pencils are nice and fit well with the story. I had seen this title described as a horror comic before I actually read it and have to say, I don’t see it. The killing and the brutality of it seems not as shocking as to me as writer Justin Jordan intended. Maybe I’m just jaded from media, both written and cinematic, of over-the-top violence that has no rhyme or reason that is offered at a constant rate. I think the real horror lies in the person who didn’t need any kind of training to commit horrific crimes or atrocities that I have seen recent in the news. I don’t think the premise of this title is all that original and could easily fall into the mold of a dozen or so other stories like it. We’ll see. All in all however, if you enjoy gory and imaginative deaths, unforgiving heroes and villains and the intrigue of modern spy tales, you should enjoy this testosterone fueled action fest.