Craig Johnson’s Project: Saviour continues in issue #4, where we’re left with our hero mindlessly pounding a man’s face and inching closer to that line all heroes should never cross. That line may be easy to cross, but is that the person he wants to be? Is trying to do the right thing as easy (or as hard) as it seems?
These are the questions that are asked (and somewhat answered) in this issue, taking a meta look at the comic book hero. Often times, we see heroes like Batman or Daredevil, inspiring others to do better and to have hope, all while crippling thugs in a way that seems quite gruesome. In Project: Saviour, Johnson takes on whether a person can be a hero even if they commit gruesome acts in the name of heroism. There’s a moment in Issue #4 where the protagonist cleans blood from his hands, evoking the reminiscent act of Lady Macbeth, and it works. We don’t often get to the nitty gritty of origin stories; often, we just see the hero beat someone to a pulp, quickly contemplate morality, and then cripple the next guy. But not here. Johnson hones in on the desperation of trying to help, actually showing how easy it can be for that moral line to be crossed. He shows us just how ugly this lifestyle can be. It’s commendable for a creator to showcase the struggle of wanting to help and be inspiring in the face of true adversity.
One thing that I have found increasingly enjoyable throughout the series is watching Johnson’s artwork evolve with each new issue. The influences of Sin City and The Dark Knight Rises are evident. It’s fascinating to see the colors and details grow, almost like a painting is being realized in real time.
Project: Saviour is becoming more enticing with the panel, and it’s exciting to see the growth that both Johnson and the protagonist share, especially given that there is still more story to be had. How the story will turn out is still a mystery, but it’s one that will leave readers excited to uncover.
Creative Team: Craig Johnson (writer/art/colors/letters)
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