Right off the bat, you can tell the different sources the writer pulls from, implementing them into a cohesive narrative. You have the training montage section that’s emotionally light and feels a little like Clark Kent learning to fly. The color scheme is akin to that of Sin City, and there’s a part that is similar to the upside-down alleyway interrogation from Batman Begins. But where we know that Batman only uses the fear of death to gleam information from a suspect, the vigilante’s decision to kill or not isn’t so obvious.
The vigilante’s journey to inspire hope in a world that has none is noble. He comes across as sarcastic and humorous, a little bit like Spider-Man in a sense, but holding onto the darker emotions that better reflect the world he inhabits. It’s these two conflicting opposites within him that make it so the reader, and to the extent the character, doesn’t know what kind of hero he’s going to be. This isn’t to say that the protagonist is confusing or hard to understand, but rather that he is someone who is still learning. He wears his emotions on his sleeve which overtakes his attempts to be humorous and thrusts him into someone of pure rage and vengeance.
This is a man who wants to help and inspire but doesn’t know where to draw the line, and that’s what makes the story so intriguing. We have a superhero who isn’t bound by the same moral clauses that we’ve come to know and love. We’re learning exactly what he’s willing and unwilling to do, and it’s at the end of the third issue (and I suspect the beginning of the fourth) that we’ll learn whether he is more like Spider-Man or the Punisher.
Unfortunately, there are a few things that take you away from the moment. For starters, the way the characters speak is a little bit too formal, almost like they actively refusing to use contractions which bogs down the interactions between the characters. This, in turn, can make everything seem like it’s being narrated by someone else. Likewise, the illustrations aren’t always on point. Often times, it feels as though the artwork is one step away from being completed. It’s almost as though Johnson left out the polishing phase of drawing, and this, too, can bog down the story a bit.
The way the story is set up is very interesting; it begins en media res, right after a scene of calamity, in which this story’s Darth Vader (and there is a Palpatine-like figure in place) blows up a building, killing practically everyone inside. We’re thrown right into the fray, and every character that comes across the page is full of adrenaline, confused and scared. Tensions are high from the get go, but, again, sometimes the art can take you away just a little. It’s a little hard to tell how this story will play out, though. If the cards are right, Project: Saviour can have a compelling story with a dynamic hero, but it can also venture into becoming a story that’s trying to be a combination of different influences, but making it so the sum doesn’t equal the parts.
Personally, it’s my hope that there is more nuance to the vigilante’s decision of whether to kill. It’s a heavy decision to make and one that can honestly make or break this comic. The vigilante is a newcomer that doesn’t seem to be bogged down by an origin story. Nevertheless, and just like what Spider-Man Noir from Into the Spiderverse said, this is going to be a great origin story.
Creative Team: Craig Johnson (Story, Art, Writer); Joey Sheehan (Letters)
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