In the modern age, marijuana is finally being publicly recognized for a wealth of medicinal uses, viewed as more than a mere vice for escapists. But who knew it could also endow humanity with special powers needed to ward off an alien invasion?
Okay, so there’s no proof of that–probably due to lack of clinical trials, and alien invasions–but that’s beside my point, which is: Three years after its initial run, Image Comics has finally compiled all five issues of James Robinson (Starman, Airboy) and J. Bone’s alien-apocalypse series The Saviors for a trade release hitting stores October 26. In his open letter introduction to the volume, author Robinson advises, “You don’t need to get high to fight aliens and you don’t need to fight aliens to get high,” but should you crack open The Saviors, some suspension of that belief may be in order.
At the center of Robinson’s story is Tomas, a high-on gas station attendant who suddenly and mysteriously becomes the target of a group of aliens hellbent on taking over the planet. Teaming up with a group of fellow survivors who have devised an elaborate weapon to ward off the invaders, Tomas discovers that his unique connection to the aliens–and his penchant for the chronic–may also be the key to defeating them.
Eisner-award winner Robinson seems a bit self-deprecating in his assessment of The Saviors–as his first creator-owned venture, he finds it a bit restrained and understated in hindsight–but honestly he had me at “pro-weed alien invasion story.” Sure, the characters could stand a tad more development, but their humor-laced dialogue is still enjoyable and familiar enough to keep the reader engaged. Plotwise it does feel more momentous and deliberate than your average story of this subgenre, but it still has its share of exciting chase scenes and scary bits, made all the more impactful by the stark, mildly cartoonish black and white drawings of J. Bone (Rocketeer: Hollywood Horror). Bone’s Mayan-inspired alien creatures (think comic-strip Quetzalcoatl) are nothing shy of awesome, adding the perfect touch of modern sci-fi to the sort of ‘50s-ish aesthetic the book begins with; his sparing use of occasional color to set tone (most notably in the leg of the story taking place in Mexico) is thoughtful and effective. Two-page horizontal layouts and dynamic splash pages help move the story along at an appropriately efficient pace.
All in all, The Saviors is a fun read and, cover to cover, definitely one worth revisiting in its resurrected form. The trade also features some neato J. Bone character/creature sketches and notes, along with an author’s note by Robinson that sheds some light on the experience of being a first-time owner-creator, and the possible yet uncertain future of the series. If there were no further issues to come, the book stands fine on its own, but after reading it in its compiled form there is still plenty of room for the continuing adventures of Tomas and his turbo-weed-powered super abilities…adventures I (and Robinson as well, it seems) hope to see realized one day.