Story by Todd McFarlane & Brian Holguin
Cover/Story Art by Clayton Crain
Lettering by Tom Orzechowski
Review by Joey Braccino
“DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOD?”
Comics legend Todd McFarlane teams with Brian Holguin (Spawn) and Clayton Crain (X-Force, Carnage, Ghost Rider) to bring us Savior, the latest Image series with a controversial, hyper-relevant hook. Savior explores issues of confirmation bias, media portrayal of tragedy, and, as the title and epigraph to this review suggest, savior figures and religion. Heady (and somewhat touchy) material indeed, but McFarlane and company deliver a nuanced, deliberate first issue that, for the most part, hits all the right notes.
Savior #1 is essentially split in two parts: first, we have the “current” plot thread, in which a mysterious man makes his way via secure motorcade to the City Hall in Abelsville, Kansas, to discuss his role as the unbelievable savior during the “Miracle in Damascus”; second, we flash back six months to the very same Damascus, Kansas, (pre-miracle obvs) and we meet the various townspeople. We also spend some time at the local high school, where Damascus’ Favorite Daughter, international reporter Cassandra Hale, has returned to town to talk about perception and media and growing up. By the end of the first issue, we see exactly what the tragedy is that elicits the “Miracle in Damascus,” and the two plot threads hurtle closer-and-closer together in time.
Cassie Hale is our primary lead this first issue, and her experience as reporter and international traveler provides both the philosophical core of the piece (confirmation bias and “why we believe what we believe”) as well as some of the action during the terrifying final sequence. McFarlane and Holguin have an excellent grasp of her voice and how her voice butts up against the “Mid-Western simplicity” of the Kansas friends and family she left behind. There are other characters that we meet as well, but much of this issue is dedicated to Hale’s speech about belief and faith and bias.
The success of the issue really rides on Clayton Crain’s masterful digital aesthetic. The glossy quality of his digital painting and moody realism makes for a dynamic visual experience that balances the static talking scenes in Damascus with the explosive final scenes. I don’t want to spoil anything regarding the final few pages, but Crain does a masterful job of creating tension through innovative paneling and extreme perspective. There’s a double-page spread right at the climax that is literally breath-taking in its cinematic impact.
My only complaint would be the very last page, in which the two individual parts of the issue are linked together with the mystery man. The dialogue in the sequence doesn’t clearly explain what exactly the “miracle” man is doing in the scene, which in turn complicates the entirety of the narrative. Perhaps this will be redressed in the next issue, but it was a bit of a headscratcher.
Check it out! A great team behind an intriguing concept typically makes for an awesome comic book, and Savior just about hits the mark! Aside from a wonky cliffhanger ending, the clear writing and extraordinary visuals make Savior #1 worth checking out!!!