Writer: David Galiano
Artist: Carlos Angeli
Publisher: Mad Cave
WHAT IS IT?
Howdy cowboy! Buckle up for a tale set in the Wild Wild West. No, not the Will Smith flick, Wild Wild West – albeit, that is a good film – the actual good ol' sixgun shootin', dusty-boot-wearin', revenge 'n' swearing Wild West.
Savage Bastards #1 is a tale of family and revenge in homage to the great, old Western movies of the past that we all loved, centered around two brothers that feel a little like Blazing Saddles or Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson in Shanghai Noon. Plus a dash of fantasy!
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
The year is 1873 and Elliot is just a simple barber, having taken over after his father and mother died. He lives an easy life with little to no drama or shoot-outs. That is, until a stranger named Sam comes into town, claiming to be Elliot's half-brother. Thing is, Sam is not just opposite to Elliot in demeanor but in...other, more obvious ways.
Sam sought Elliot out to help save his mother, who Elliot never knew was alive. But, they aren't the only children, as it turns out their dear old dad has fathered other bastard children. A fair amount of his bastards work under him as the "Savage Bastards."
Now, the duo most make their way through peril to save Elliot's birth mother.
I'm a sucker for a good cover. I'm more of a sucker for covers you'd see on those older books. Savage Bastards #1's cover resembles an old pulp novel cover, which I'm here for! Plus, it perfectly shows what the two are dealing with while showing their personalities.
Minority representation: Elliot is black, and thus definitely considered a "minority" in this era of America. During his introduction, he is labeled as "Free colored from up north somewhere." Galiano doesn't shy away from showing people negatively react to him being black, nor does Sam care what people think or say. Out of all the characters introduced, Sam is the funniest and most badass. Hopefully, we get to see a lot more of him in the future.
On the subject of characters, the way our two main brothers play off of each other is perfect. As they are different in almost every aspect, their actions and reactions are vastly unalike. Yet, they go together so damn well and it's a blast when they are together.
"Darragh MacDougal" straight-up sounds like a villain name.
It's fun to see a Western that doesn't rely on steampunk or other genres to carry the story. Yeah, there is some fantasy, but only hints of it.
The old Western lingo is amazing, one of the better-written versions I've seen. At no point does it stray into the territory of not being understandable or annoying.
The tale of family and revenge isn't anything new, yet Savage Bastards #1 takes it up a notch, while retaining a fun and series presence.
Angeli's art blends perfectly with the genre while his colors match the tone amazingly.
At times, Angeli breaks the panels and shows action going into the gutter/white space. This helps some actions hit harder while showing speed in other moments.
During the bar fight, Angeli uses a 9-panel grid for the fighting which helps it feel chaotic while not spending too much time on it.
The font used throughout is stylized, almost as if they are handwritten and it looks beautiful while encapsulating the aesthetic they go for.
Zapata's bubble placement is very pleasing to the eyes. It essentially helps guide the reader while looking gorgeous.
Memorable Quote: "Neanderthal. An early version of human evolution discovered by a scientist in Germany...Identified by a large oval skull with a receding forehead, thick brow, and small brain." - Sam. Damn Sam, why'd you have to kill them with words?
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
Trigger Warning: There is mention of rape, as the brother's father raped their mothers. It's never shown, nonetheless, it is mentioned.
Faces at times look mushed. This usually occurs in smaller panels when the faces don't have a lot of space, yet contain plenty of details. Never too bad, just noticeable.
Savage Bastards #1 has a few pages/panels that are heavy in dialogue. The art does form around said moment to make it work better and so does the lettering. Nonetheless, these heavier moments slow the pace and feel like they could've been handled in a different manner.
Personally, I loved the writing. It mirrored the old Western lingo that I've seen in movies. Hell, I walked around mimicking it for awhile. But, I can easily see someone not enjoying it as much as I did.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
At the moment, there aren't many old Western comics (or other media) not combined with other genres, so Savage Bastards #1 will absolutely fill that void perfectly.
Sam and Elliot are written perfectly together and these characters drive the first issue greatly – so much so that even if old Western isn't your thing, their banter alone is worth it.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Jonah Hex by John Albano & Tony DeZuniga
Loveless by Brian Azzarello, Marcelo Frusin, Danijel Zezelj and Werther Dell'Edera
Coffin Bound by Dan Watters and Dani
If you like the art:
Golden Years by Mark Bertolini and Carlos Angeli
Rat Queens, Vol. 1 by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch
Forgotten Home by Erica Schultz and Marika Cresta
ABOUT THE CREATORS
David Galiano (@comicsbydavid) – Writer
New Face: Savage Bastards seems to be Galiano's first comic, congrats!
Participating in the Top Cow The Darkness Talent Hunt 2019
Made a Spotify Playlist for Savage Bastards
Carlos Angeli – Artist
Self-taught at a young age due to love of art
Has a pretty cool website with previous work, and art
Graduated as a Graphic Designer
Miguel Angel Zapata (@ZapatasMiguel) – Letterer
Multitalented: Inked RV9 another Mad Cave Comic and serves as Mad Cave Studios’ Design Director
Outlander: From Bogota, Colombia
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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