The last new series of a busy year for Image Comics is an enjoyable and energetic trip into the strangeness on the edge of a small desert town.
It seems fitting that 2013 is ending with another high-profile creator pitching up at Image, our publisher of the year. This time round it’s writer James Robinson, who left his popular Earth 2 gig at DC suddenly in May, amid speculation that the publisher was going to launch a spin-off series without Robinson’s participation.
So now he’s come for his slice of the creator-owned action with The Saviors – a series produced in collaboration with crochet-lovin’ Canadian artist J.Bone, who has worked extensively with Darwyn Cooke (on series including The Spirit) and more recently with Mark Waid on The Rocketeer/The Spirit: Pulp Friction for IDW.
The book introduces us to Tomas Ramirez, a Loveable Stoner TM and popular gas pump attendant who seems happy with his lot in a small, dull desert town. As Tomas obligingly narrates to a passing lizard (over several pages), not much happens in Passburg, and that’s generally the way people like it.
However, all that changes when our man, admittedly a little baked (as usual), thinks he spots something odd about easy-going town cop Sheriff Doyle. Before long, the bemused Tomas has been pitched into a dark world of conspiracies, mysterious strangers rolling into town and alien lizard-men who’d much rather he didn’t get away to tell his story.
There’s nothing hugely original or earth-shattering about The Saviors, but it’s rendered into an enjoyable little read by Robinson’s lively scripting and J Bone’s very pleasing chunky cartooning. The latter’s retro styling and skill with shading give the book some real bounce – especially during the climactic chase scene.
The book kicks off with a generally genial tone, which makes it a bit of a shock when things get nasty towards the end. However, for all the comic’s cartoony energy, it’s clear that Robinson and Bone want this to be a good ol’ fashioned monster story, with the stakes getting higher as the issues roll by.
The Saviors is unlikely to knock anything off your end-of-year list, but it’s an attractive treatment of a familiar-sounding tune, knocked out by a couple of sympatico creators who work well together, like a tight rhythm section. If you enjoyed Drumhellar, which has a similar feel (but a touch more wackiness), you should think about giving The Saviors a try.
James Robinson (W), J.Bone (A) • Image Comics, $2.99, December 24, 2013