These Savage Shores #5

W: Ram VA: Sumit KumarC: Vittorio AstoneL: Aditya Bidikar

I’m crushed, in awe, and in love. Those were my immediate feelings upon closing out this magnificent book. The lines drawn in this epic saga and the journeys we’ve traveled are nothing short of brilliant. The overtones and bigger pictures that played the nuance during the start of the series have given way to the very up close and personal theme of choice. The whittling away of the larger scopes to reveal the singular driving force behind it all has been masterful. Who we are … what we are, is all about choice. Regardless of what influence or power that may be held over our heads, ultimately, what we do is our choice and our choice alone. As I’ve stated before, this book visually invokes the beauty of tragedy. The paleness of the somehow still vibrant colors mirror the acceptance of the realization that one way or another we will always be what we are despite what we may want. The harsh but fine lines remind us that even the most beautiful things are capable of being the most deadly. All throughout the design choices display the wonder and hope that we all feel and so desperately want to have shine through and win the day. Combined with the harsh reality of the narrative these elements have created one of the best pieces of art that has been produced in the last five years.

One of the most magical elements of These Savage Shores is the continued reveal of pieces of the cast that enhance the story that much more. Even as the creative team is bringing home this epic tale of fantasy and history, we get even more to digest. We’re given more meaning to the cast which in turn provides yet another layer of meaning to the tragedy of it all. Bishan especially has his masks (both literally and figuratively) peeled away. Every choice made sews an outcome. Choice and the fruit it bares reveals change that cannot be undone here in this final issue. Even for love there are some choices that cannot be overcome. People will argue fate or inevitability when they read over this tale. That though will be their choice to disregard the fact that this creative team hasn’t given us their tale of woe. These Savage Shores gives us our own choice. We can choose to see the beauty in tragedy or the horror in reality. We can choose to accept the consequences of our actions or choose to ask why the condemnation from others for choices made when the outcome was already known. Or, we can choose to accept it all and realize a tale that is beautiful, horrific, fulfilling, gut wrenching, and everything in between. The one piece we don’t have a choice in is the truth that monsters reside everywhere. However, the takeaway from that is our choice. That is perhaps the enduring beauty in truth that These Savage Shores will have. Monsters DO reside everywhere both real and imagined. Their purposes and designations are as varied as their real and imagined states.

The expert blending of historical and and fantastical elements has allowed the creative team to present a world that in itself blends the real and imaginary. In the literal form in the book we have two legendary monsters of myth charging headfirst towards a personal war that boils right out of history. They are representative of two different worlds that, due to the choices made by other monsters (men), have been set on a collision course. Using the history of the two civilizations the creative team propped up a backdrop of real world drama that played out in order to speak to the horrors of that time that we still feel today. Serving as the battlefield of ideology once again, the East/West clash of civilization is sifted down to the most raw of its elements. The monsters that sit at the heart of both are given the spotlight in which to dance.

You will be hard pressed to find a piece of art that is perfectly executed across as many levels as this book is. The marriage of history and myth is flawless. The literal and figurative representation is expertly done. The tale itself is horrifically beautiful and tragically elegant. Even though it rips your heart out you can’t help but love it. You’ll feel compassion while detesting the hate you can’t help but have. Even the character that is cruelest and most devoid of redeeming qualities will pull out understanding from you. Reflecting upon the totality of the circumstances will only deepen the heartbreak while sparking new flames of disgust for those you felt sympathy for.

While monsters are everywhere and heartache lies at the end of everything … choice is always ours, even when it isn’t. These Savage Shores is brilliant. I’m enriched and better for having chosen to trust this creative team.

OUT THIS NCBD OCT 9th!!!

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