THESE SAVAGE SHORES continues to delight, horrify, and entrance readers. THESE SAVAGE SHORES #4 brings us a conclusion to the battle between Bishan and the English colonizers. However, contrary to history, this fight doesn’t benefit the English. But in the end, it also doesn’t benefit Prince Vikram.
Ram V, Sumit Kumar, Vittorio Astone, and Aditya Bidikar continue the horrifically beautiful story that we at ComicsVerse have grown to love. This story is shaping up to be everything we want in a comic plus some.
The Mask is His Face
The battle in THESE SAVAGE SHORES #3 left on a cliffhanger. Bishan has lost control of his inner monster and decided to unleash it on the British and the Khan. How DARE the Sultan betray Prince Vikram, a young prince who recently lost his father. As we watch Bishan (right now, a Raakshas) tear through British soldiers at the beginning of THESE SAVAGE SHORES #4, we read dialogue from a letter by Prince Vikram. These two things juxtaposed is both unsettling and heartbreaking. Vikram expresses his concern for Bishan and his desire for Bishan to come home. All the while, Bishan’s a monster, rampaging through an army singlehandedly. It’s equal parts heartbreaking as it is beautiful. But there is a small note that is easily overlooked in Vikram’s letter. “The hour of Monsters is upon us.”
Prince Vikram is aware danger heads towards his people. In an attempt to save his countrymen, he aligns himself with the previously imprisoned Zachariah Sturn to face off against Count Grano. Grano has come to India to avenge Alain Pierrefont, the vampire from THESE SAVAGE SHORES #1. Although Sturn gives Count Grano a run for his money, things do not go as planned for Prince Vikram.
This issue ends with origin stories and heartbreak. It’s the type of heartbreak that you can feel for days. But I wouldn’t change a damn thing about this issue. It’s beautifully painful, and that’s the sort of storytelling I live for.
All Who Look Upon it Shall Fall to Misfortune
At this point in THESE SAVAGE SHORES #4, we have fully developed characters that are very relatable. We can identify with a young prince who has suffered a great loss, yet must continue to fight a hard battle. We understand the perspective of Kori, who loses the man she loves and possibly herself. And we definitely understand the rage Bishan has for the Khan, who has betrayed us. But one of the biggest things I got is how THESE SAVAGE SHORES challenges our notion of monsters.
Currently, we’re confronted by two different types of vampires. Bishan, a Raakshas, and Count Grano, a vampyr, give us similar mythos but with completely different histories. Each character could be considered a monster, a horrible being bent on destroying humanity as we know it. However, Bishan gives us an instance that sort of plays with this idea. When Bishan confronts the Khan about betraying his people and sacrificing them, it becomes clear that we finally get to see the Khan receive his comeuppance. However, the Khan’s son, Tipu, steps in and tries to help. With sad eyes, Tipu asks Bishan “Please…don’t hurt him.” This leads Bishan to leave without further incident. By contrast, Count Grano is not so kind about revenge. And it’s something you’ll have to read to see.
But it’s these small, easily overlooked moments that illustrate what a monster REALLY is. Although Bishan may take the appearance of a monster, he is a good person at his core. And he is constantly proving this with moments of mercy and his care for Prince Vikram and Kori. So you have to ask yourself: what REALLY makes a monster?
The Hour of Monsters is Upon Us
This issue is full of intense emotional scenes and strong fights. None of this would be possible without the wonderful work of Sumit Kumar, Vittorio Astone, and Aditya Bidikar. This issue left me speechless, and it’s these creators highlights of Ram V’s story that solidify and drill in their point.
The opening scene, as previously mentioned, is a letter from Prince Vikram to Bishan. Aditya Bidikar’s lettering is absolutely perfect for this. The letter is handwritten and perfectly placed. Each block of dialogue is placed in the perfect space for Sumit Kumar’s art. Kumar’s fight scenes are a beautiful play-by-play battle between human and monster. And the slight shifts of space build anxiety and adrenaline for each moment. This is all emphasized by Vittorio Astone’s colors which are ALWAYS perfect. This comic is just… just beautiful. I can’t describe it any other way.
One scene in particular was especially beautiful and constantly stands out in my mind for this issue. While Prince Vikram talks with Sturn about what to do against Count Grano, Kori goes to visit the tree she and Bishan constantly sat under. At this point, we understand how significant to their relationship this tree has become. It’s where they met, where they hide together, it’s a symbol of their love. But when lightening comes out of nowhere and destroys it right in front of Kori, we feel the heat from the fire. We feel the pain and shock Kori endures. It’s beautiful, it’s heartbreaking, it’s everything I could want.
Overall Thoughts on THESE SAVAGE SHORES #4
If you haven’t already, you need to pick up THESE SAVAGE SHORES. Ram has announced that new prints for issues 1-3 are available, and you need to grab these beautiful reprints while they last. Ram V, Sumit Kumar, Vittorio Astone, and Aditya Bidikar have quickly become one of my favorite creative teams. This series continues to weave a vampire story unlike any we’ve seen before. Do not overlook or underestimate the talent of this team. Just watch.
Remember to pick up your issue when it drops May 8th! If you prefer digital comics, reserve your copy here!