Savage Hearts #2 is published by Dark Horse Comics. It comes from the creative team of writer Aubrey Sitterson, illustrator Jed Daugherty, colorist Lovern Kindzierski, and letterer Taylor Esposito. This issue begins minutes after the previous one ended. The adventurers Bronwyn, Fo, and Pheaux, are still being led by Graow through the jungle. As they stop to eat, they are attacked by the evil wizard Tretch and his warriors. The group fights bravely, but Bronwyn overextends herself attempting to kill Tretch.
As she hurtles through the air to attack him, Graow leaps in and knocks her out of the way of a deadly magic blast. As a result, Bronwyn’s axe Soul Cleave is destroyed. The group retreats and attempts to find a place to lay low while they form a plan. Graow leads them to an abandoned temple where he claims they will be safe. Fo and Pheaux take time to hunt for treasure. Their search inadvertently triggers a trap that leaves Bronwyn and Graow separated from them. But the time that these two share may be less tense than one would expect as they begin to grow closer.
Savage Hearts #2 surprised me in more than one way. The decision to immediately have the group encounter Tretch was a bold and inspired story decision. As a result, the story developed much more concrete stakes and showed that the heroes do still have a great deal of growth left before they will be ready to face their foe. Bronwyn, in particular, is shown to be too motivated by revenge to even consider her own safety. Where her character will go from here is something I am very interested in seeing.
Secondly, I was surprised at how much less grating Graow was with this issue. I didn’t distinctly dislike him in issue one, but he felt a little one-dimensional to me. The “enamored weirdo who attaches themself to a pretty girl” character is a classic in fantasy. But his development into someone who is sincerely heroic seems to be starting, making the character infinitely more interesting. His ability to provide a solid escape for his companions during Tretch’s attack was an excellent way to show he’s more than just a bluffer.
The art maintains its more classic style to great effect. The creatures feel like they’re leaping right out of the pages of a golden age of fantasy novel or D&D sourcebook. There are wide varieties of bird people, dinosaurs, insects, and beastmen that all look wonderful. But personally, my favorite character design is Bronwyn. She is clearly a barbarian, and while she shows a lot of skin, it only serves to make her look exceedingly powerful. Too often, women barbarian characters are shown as slender and lacking muscle mass. Bronwyn looks like she swings a 30-pound great axe around for fun, and she’s much more interesting as a result.
The colors are bright and brilliant. Kindzierski makes great use of the jungle setting to establish a colorful spectacle of a palette. Graow’s purple skin and fur are a standout here, and I mean that literally. Graow stands out on almost every page and provides a visually interesting contrast that also fits thematically with his outsider status. On the lettering side, the text is always easy to read. It’s also very dynamic, with words often bleeding into SFX in a way that feels organic and alive.
I thoroughly enjoyed Savage Hearts #2. The story took some surprising turns and developed the characters in interesting ways. The plot continues to move forward, and I’m quite excited to see what it does next. Fans of fantasy and romance should definitely check this series out.
Savage Hearts #2 is available now wherever comics are sold.
Savage Beasts #2
The story took some surprising turns and developed the characters in interesting ways. The plot continues to move forward, and I’m quite excited to see what it does next. Fans of fantasy and romance should definitely check this series out.