- Writers: D.W. Kann and Ryan Matta
- Artist: Pablo De Bonis
- Colorist: Damián Peñalba
- Letterer: Joel Saavedra
- Assistant Editor: Francisco Tomat
- Cover Artist: Simon Bisley
Thanks to D.W. Kann for the review copy!
Zadar the Savage is a vivid and violent take on the Tarzan mythos. While the lead character is Zadar, many of the familiar elements of some of the Tarzan stories you have read are present. The story picks up at the point of Zadar’s life where he’s relatively civilized. He has a family, a jungle household, and he has contact with civilization. However Zadar has many of the elements you have come to associate with Tarzan. He speaks with animals, he is Lord of the Jungle, and he comes from a British blue blood lineage. Thankfully, this Zadar lives up to his name – when the Germans kill his wife in the first issue, he goes on a savage revenge tour. This is what makes Zadar the Savage awesome.
Zadar’s storytelling is interesting. The story isn’t an origin story. You don’t see Zadar being orphaned in the jungle, how he rejoined civilization, or how he met his wife. This is where the general public’s familiarity with Tarzan can be helpful. Tidbits about Zadar’s backstory are sprinkled throughout the story, but part of the fun is trying to piece things together using Tarzan as a touchpoint. I’m curious to see if the story takes the ‘flashback issue’ route to really explain things.
This issue is interesting in that it expands the scope of the story significantly. Zadar’s revenge quest takes him outside of the jungle where he meets a new ‘featured’ character Det Ward Lovecraft. That name alone hints that the story is going to veer into the occult. In some ways, this issue has a bit of a Hellboy vibe to go along with its classic serial series. Zadar is also quite violent. Throats are cut, jaws are ripped off, and bloody handprints abound. The action is depicted vividly without being over the top. My favorite sequence was a short scene involving a snake that is the type of set piece that I can envision being depicted in a movie scene.
I like this series because it takes a somewhat musty Tarzan story and makes it vibrant and fresh. Because Zadar isn’t an origin story, I recommend starting with the first issue, which sets up the direction of the series. Starting with issue two might be a little confusing given the lack of exposition, but you can still appreciate the fight scenes.