Savant Issue 1
Jim Alexander, Will Pickering, Fin Cramb.
Savant is the home planet for Lode, currently many light years from home, on walkabout, a chronicler of war-zones, a collector of memories of the dying.
Lode comes from Savant, “planet of light”, the world at the centre of the universe, a world of information, gathered by their adolescents who leave their world to go walkabout, collecting experiences from around the galaxy, always returning to add to the vast Towers Of Knowledge that dominate the Savant skyline.
But Lode is slightly different, special even amongst a race known throughout the galaxy, she’s the chronicler of the dying, deliberately seeking out those souls on the edge of life, uploading their experiences, taking them inside herself. It’s a calling, a strange calling perhaps, but she’s damn good at what she does.
Her wanderings take her to the warring planet of Hubris, where she finds herself recruited by the local government civil service (more guns and armour than pens and forms but still wearing the ties – nice touch) to hunt down a war criminal.
Trigo, ex-civil servant, nasty piece of work, memories extracted when he was captured the first time, he’s now free, and very, very unstable. There are very few of the civil servants, and an army behind Trigo. Frankly the outlook isn’t good.
Although this is very much a setting the scene sort of issue, it’s got a couple of very important things going for it; firstly the whole tone of it works, and there’s a lot of really interesting ideas being thrown around in this first issue, all done in a style that makes it read far longer than the 24-pages would have you believe.
The very idea of the Savant people, doing the equivalent of an Australian twenty something’s walkabout visiting Europe, that was nice, as was the sleep pustule idea you see earlier up this page. In fact, the whole concept works for me, a very Euro style sci-fi, epic, careful, controlled, there wont be that many Star Wars style laser battles here, and those that do appear are short, decisive, and deadly. It actually feels somewhere in between the calm, measured Euro sci-fi of Leo and something more 2000AD based.
Alexander is careful to never rush this, everything is precisely paced, carefully laid out, backstory delivered easily and intriguingly, Lode is fascinating, with hints that there’s a lost little girl in there somewhere collecting the dead to bring her some comfort. It’s a really enjoyable beginning.
At its very best Will Pickering’s art has a touch of the Bryan Talbot about it, never a bad thing, and it’s much cleaner look than his previous graphic novel Burke & Hare. It looks really polished, clean sci-fi, really nice, and kudos to colourist Fin Cramb for having a big part to play in that. But too often, especially in the latter stages, it breaks down a little, clean becomes static, and the whole thing loses some of its appeal.
All in all though, a fine start to the series, interesting ideas, well executed. You can get hold of your copy by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org for details.