SAVAGE HEARTS #1/ Scripts by AUBREY SITTERSON/ Art by JED DOUGHERTY & GORAN GLIGOVIC/ Colors by LOVERN KINDZIERSKI & GORAN GLIGOVIC/ Letters by TAYLOR ESPOSITO/ Published by DARK HORSE COMICS
Bronwyn is a bulky barbarian who hates jungles, hates dinosaurs and really hates Lord Tretch, the wizard/warlord responsible for killing her lover and her having to trek through a jungle full of dinosaurs to avenge said lover’s death.
Graow is a mellow beastman who loves the jungle, loves dinosaurs and loves large women in impractical leather armor better suited to less-tropical climates.
Naturally when Graow first spies Bronwyn it is love at first sight for him and the latest in a series of annoyances for her. But Graow does know the jungle (sort of) and Bronwyn is out-voted by the other adventurers she is traveling with when Graow offers his services as a guide. Thus begins an adventure that will end in tears one way or another.
Savage Hearts is a send-up of multiple comic book genres, satirizing romance, jungle adventure and the plethora of comedic Dungeons and Dragons inspired fantasy comics that have grown more common in the wake of Critical Role. Aubrey Sitterson’s script hits all the right notes and mocks all the right tropes, while not really breaking any new ground. There isn’t a lot of humor here beyond “Graow lusts for Bronwyn. Bronwyn can’t stand him.” but this first issue does set the setting and characters up well enough.
The artwork is similarly mixed. Jed Dougherty has a wonderful eye for design, but the the inks are oddly thick at times and it us only by the grace of Lovern Kindzierski’s colors that the characters can be distinguished from the backgrounds. Yet the colors are oddly neon-tinted for what is drawn to resemble a dark sword-and-sorcery tale and the rendering of the sound effects in bright pink and green lettering is distracting to say the least!
The back-up comic with art by Goran Gligovic is more to my liking and is an amusing take on Robin Hood sure to satisfy most fans of the bold outlaw. Would that we had gotten more of this tale than 20 pages of an easily annoyed amazon and a over-excited satyr! Fantasy fans might enjoy this book, but all others can give this one a pass.
Savage Hearts #1 releases on July 14, 2021.