When we last left Dark Horse Comics White Savior, young Todd Parker had somehow found himself back in feudal Japan. This was after attempting to catch a young lady who had the audacity to steal his wallet after he had heroically saved her (or so he thought). Instead, during the pursuit, he had fallen from a stairwell and found himself back in time. Think of Meg Ryan leaping off the bridge to go back in time to see Hugh Jackman in Kate and Leopold. (This is your first random film reference for this review. Apparently, the White Savior crew couldn’t afford a bridge, so they settled for a stairwell.)
Todd had been told many times from his grandfather about the supposed great “White Savior” Nathan Garin. Ancient prophecy had told how a snow-colored stranger would lead the people of Inoki to a great victory over their enemies. However, the truth was not as heroic as the tale. For their “Savior” was killed and the people of Inoki were destroyed. Now, as luck would have it, Todd had found himself in the middle of that historic conflict, staring at the one and only Nathan Garin. The man destined to lead these people to destruction.
As Todd watched their revered hero, he realized one thing. This guy is nothing like the prophecy foretold. Other than being white, he knew nothing but drinking, sleeping, and yelling at the top of his lungs with every sentence. Apparently, being loud makes your words sound more important. If that is so, every syllable that spills out of his mouth is strategic gold. But Todd knows that outcome and wants badly to intervene. The question is, can he get anyone to listen?
Trying to Change History
Fortunately for Todd, upon his arrival, he had accidentally intervened in an attempt by Kenzu Mitsuhide to kill Yoshihiro Moromiri, leader of the Omura Clan. Thus, he was an honored guest and allowed to dine with them. As they ate, he attempted to dissuade Yoshihiro from listening to Nathan. Especially when given an opening after Yoshihiro’s son Hiroshi made it clear that HE should be leading their army, not Garin. However, prophecies are hard to ignore. And since Garin fits the bill as far as their great Savior is concerned, they appear to be locked in. Regardless of his seeming fool heartedness. Is it too late to have “Savior” remorse AFTER everyone is dead?
An Old Acquaintance Reappears
Kenzu, attempting to steer the conversation away from Garin and the prophecy, asks Todd to tell those attending how he came to their village. But before he could get into the whole story (See Issue 1 for full details), he once again see’s the young lady who had stolen his wallet. This time, serving drinks to the table. That’s the second time he’s encountered this girl in a food service capacity. Must be paying her way through PLC University (Petty Larceny College.)
Catching his Wallet Thief
Todd excuses himself from the table and catches up to his mystery wallet thief. Once again, she claims ignorance about everything…while trying to escape out the window. As he grabs her, she tells him to keep his voice down. But as far as Todd is concerned, he WANTS people to know that the girl is a thief. If for no other reason so the rest of the Omura Clan can hide their valuables.
As he talks to her, he explains what is going on, or at least, what WILL happen if the people follow Nathan Garin’s lead. She acknowledges that Nathan sounds like a “total dick.” Todd confirms that hypothesis, comparing him to someone who would steal a guy’s wallet, right after he saved her. (Todd apparently now has trust issues). She tells him to get over it and introduces herself as Maggie: Waitress, Mugger and sometimes Podiatrist…and Lawn Mower Repair. (OK, I threw that last one in there). She thinks they need to team-up. And who WOULDN’T want to team up with the girl who admits to robbing him?
The Master Plan
Later, Todd is in the crowd as the great savior explains his master plan. Which basically sounds like a suicide pact. Nathan’s idea is to announce when the attack will be, charge at the numerically superior enemy from below and hope for the best. As Todd does his best to explain the holes in Nathan’s plans, which started when he opened his mouth until the time he closed it, the people are too enthralled with the “awesomeness” that is Nathan Garin. Even Yoshihiro is ready to ignore his vast combat experience to follow their blow-hard savior. In addition, his son Hiroshi has also been taken in by the “prophecy.” Even though he had questioned following Garin only the night before. (Flip-Flop Much, Hiroshi?)
As for Todd, Garin dubs him the “village idiot” for DARING to question the military brilliance of Nathan Garin. The village follows suit, much to Todd’s disappointment. These people are just begging to be annihilated.
Back on the other side of the comic, at Castle Okuna, a stranger arrives. His name is Zedidiah Grant, “bad guy” for hire (See? He’s no longer a stranger.) He enters the castle as Kenzu is marveling at his newest eating utensil, called a fork. He envisions the many uses for the tool as a stabbing instrument. Not to mention its great worth in eating salads, mashed potatoes, etc. It truly is a multi-purpose tool.
After Grant enters, they discuss their upcoming battle to once and for all destroy Anoki and all it stands for. Included with their plans for domination, they also debate which of them was the worst villain. Worst as in best, not worst as in … umm…worst. Tough call. Grant could care less as long as he is paid.
Trying to Resolve the Problem
Meanwhile, Todd is lamenting the fate of the villagers. But even more so, he is lamenting that they consider HIM the village idiot. Perhaps if they knew him better, that wouldn’t be so harsh. At least they would have something to go by. But regardless, he needed to do something to stop this. He discussed this with his newfound ally, Maggie.
Leaving the Past in the Past
For Maggie’s part, she was more than happy to leave them to their fate. As far as she was concerned, both she and Todd were from the future. This was the past. It had already happened. Let it transpire as history dictates. But, if they WERE to attempt something, she would not be against killing Nathan. Perhaps, his death would save lives in the long run.
The Truth About Maggie
Todd wanted no part in killing the man. Even if she WAS right and it might save lives. There had to be another way. Considering how easily Maggie arrived at the whole “killing” plot, he asked her again who she was. Maggie then explained the truth. She came from an ancient race whose sole purpose in life was to preserve humanity. She would intervene throughout history to put things right. With all the things that Todd had been through recently, it didn’t seem like that farfetched a story. “Really?” he inquired?
Her answer was a slap upside his head. “NO, Not REALLY!?” That was just a story to remind him that he was an idiot. Whenever he doubted it, he could remember her story to reinforce the idea. (At least he didn’t have to put a nickel in her payment can for psychiatric help rendered.) As for the problem with Nathan, she had a plan.
The Sake Plan
Nathan was back in his room, talking to himself. Maggie entered the room, carrying a pitcher of Sake and a cup. Garin asked her what took so long. He was almost sober for a few minutes and the effect was horrifying. But unbeknownst to Nathan, Maggie had poisoned his Sake. Not enough to kill him. But enough to render him unconscious and enable Todd and her to take him away the upcoming battle. That was the plan.
An “Act” of Leadership
However, Nathan was not cooperating. The poison was not taking effect as fast as Maggie had suspected. In addition, it loosened Garin’s tongue. Come to find out, the man she had poisoned was NOT Nathan Garin. Instead, he was an actor portraying the White Savior. He had no great leadership skills. In fact, he was scared to death and fainted at the sign of blood. All of his bluster was just an act. It was the reason he was drinking so much. He wanted to cover the fact he was an imposter and worried the people would find out.
The Possibility to Save the Village
It was then that the poison finally kicked in. Maggie, upon hearing his story, grabbed a hold of him to keep him from falling. Just as Todd poked his head into the window of the room to see how the plan was proceeding. Maggie explained the situation. She thought that because Simon Swanbeck (the actor pretending to be Garin) was so scared, he would do anything they told him to. Perhaps then they could save the village after all.
But as Maggie had been explaining the events to Todd, she had let loose of Simon. In his drugged and drunken stupor, he fell over near where all the weapons were stored. CRASH!! As they turned to look where all the noise had come from, they realized the horrible truth. The actor had been impaled by spears and axes as he fell to the ground. The “White Savior” appeared dead. What would they do now?
Part of the many charms of Dark Horse Comics White Savior is the willingness of writers Eric Ngyuen and Scott Burman to put whatever comes to mind into their script. If it sounds funny, throw it on the wall and see if it sticks. I can see them just sitting down, examining the situation they have placed their character in, and just letting their sense of humor loose. Nothing irreverent is out of bounds and their willingness to embrace the ludicrous is quite refreshing.
Their character’s internal (and sometimes external) monologues are great examples of that. As are their editor’s notes which calls me back to Stan Lee’s frequent use of them back in Marvel’s rise to fame. I would be interested in seeing what (if anything) they decided to omit from their ideas. Because it seems like they left a lot of what they came up with in the mix. For my purposes, that was a winning formula. Read through the conversation between Kenzu Mitsuhide and Zedidiah Grant and see if it doesn’t call up the exchanges between Dark Helmet and President Skroob (an anagram for Brooks) in Space Balls. (Second Random Film Reference). Funny Stuff.
Another testament to their emphasis on humor is when acknowledging a great art panel by Nguyen. Burman and Ngyuen couldn’t help but comment that they shouldn’t ruin it by unnecessary text, like inserting their comments on not ruining it. But they DID explain the guy on the panel is a “bad guy.” So, they compromised. But not on the humor. That they continued to open the tap and let it flow. I look forward to going back for another mug…or two.
Dark Horse Comics White Savior, Issue 2 is available February 15th where all great comics are sold. Be sure to check this series out. Maybe even read it twice. No doubt you might miss something on the first go around that will tickle your funny bone. I CAN’T be the only one.
Senior Writer at GeekVibesNation – I am a 50 something child of the 70’s who admits to being a Star Trek/Star Wars/Comic Book junkie who once dove head first over a cliff (Ok, it was a small hill) to try to rescue his Fantastic Four comic from a watery grave. I am married to a lovely woman who is as crazy as I am and the proud parent of a 18 year old boy with autism. My wife and son are my real heroes.