'These Savage Shores' #4: The DoomRocket Review
Cover to ‘These Savage Shores’ #4. Art: Sumit Kumar/Vault Comics

by Sara Mitchell. I long for something beautiful to say that could bring justice to what These Savage Shores evokes in me, but beauty isn’t found in the words we use to describe beauty. It’s just there—on the page, in the book, on those savage shores. It’s wild, like the leaves that dance in the wind as lovers discuss death and eternity. These Savage Shores has me longing for its reality to become mine. Yearning for the sensation, the smell, the weight of its air that will only ever exist within the perfection of its nine panel spreads.

The first issue moved dreamily. It hummed like humidity, sitting heavy and full in the air. This issue isn’t anything like that. It’s sharp and it’s quick. Blink and you’ve missed it. There’s tension in the pacing. Narration stretches out romantically across the page, over vicious action sequences that rapidly tear through expectation. The balance between these conflicting rhythms forces These Savage Shores to rise up off of the page and suspend itself in a place where music lives, piercing all of our senses and emotions.

Colorist Vittorio Astone is masterful yet again. Bold and elegant. The story of These Savage Shores could be told using only its color and it would still take me on an emotional journey. Every scene and scenario has its own unique palette. Like a well-composed film score, each palette evokes a different character, location, or theme. And the same can be said for Aditya Bidikar’s lettering in each of the character’s handwritten letters. They give us a sense of voice and specificity that conventional lettering alone simply wouldn’t be able to accomplish. These Savage Shores is relentlessly thoughtful when it comes to the care and presentation of their characters.

These Savage Shores is as beautiful as it is bloody. Writer Ram V entrusts his audience with the work it takes to reconcile these conflicting forces. His story is soaked in contradiction. It’s swift and stagnant, brutal and nurturing. An unshakable theme in the story is human connection. Longing for one another, missing each other. Constantly writing letters to a loved one, never knowing if they’re alive on the other side. And above all, hoping to be accepted and loved by those people, despite the disruptive, contradicting forces that exist within all of us.

The ensemble of characters is as expansive as the landscapes, and they’re all hiding in plain sight—restrained behind masks in order to survive. While it’s easy to feel that within the pages of These Savage Shores time could slowly carry on forever without change, we’re brought to this land as it’s reaching its boiling point. There is a wildness within everyone, “as if a deep unrest smolders beneath the horizon.” The unrelenting wildness of fear, rage, desire, and grief have been restrained for too long. As war rages on, as vampires leak onto shores more ancient than themselves, as small birds watch from above in a dying tree, the constraining masks of polite civilization have come off.

Vault Comics / $3.99

Written by Ram V.

Lines by Sumit Kumar.

Colors by Vittorio Astone.

Letters by Aditya Bidikar.

9 out of 10

Consider tossing a buck Sara’s way on her Ko-fi page.

Check out this 3-page preview of ‘These Savage Shores’ #4, courtesy of Vault Comics!