Sage Escape: Mars Gambit #2 Comic Review | Fanboys Anonymous

Sage Escape: Mars Gambit #2 Comic Review

Posted by Fellonius Munch Thursday, April 10, 2014
So, it's been almost two months since Fanboys got to interview filmmaker-turned-comic book creator Damian S. Simankowicz and review his debut issue of Sage Escape. We've been following the marketing campaign via the Facebook page, all the while waiting for news of the second part of the miniseries, and here it is: The second issue of the three-part arc Sage Escape: Mars Gambit!

SAGE: Escape comic miniseries by film director Damian S. Simankowicz

In the debut issue, we met amnesiac bionic girl Sage and bounty hunter Raamon on Cray City, an artificial city-moon orbiting Mars. We also met the Salesmen—those genocidal corporate assassins tasked with taking back all the land Friendly Corp had sold off—and some unfortunate victims caught in between. Some of them escaped with their lives, minus a limb or two.

The new issue of Mars Gambit carries on right where the first left off, with Raamon having captured Sage and the both of them heading to Earth—more specifically, to Sage's former home city of Natura (which I believe is set in Australia)—where they become stranded. The Salesmen have massacred the entire population, and Raamon and Sage find themselves in the midst of a grisly clean-up operation.

With the bounty hunter clearly in over his head, he lets his payday off the leash. The two find that Natura is crawling with Salesmen. They also discover that many of the city's children have been rescued and hidden away by an unknown stranger, who has a spaceship they can use to escape. But this won't happen before we see a lot of blood, explosions, and carnage.

Sci-fi comic miniseries Sage: Escape's violent and explosive action
"Wait! That's no frisbee... AAAAARGGGHHH!!!"
We learn that the Salesmen are pretty much the same sort of entity that Sage was designed to be, but they share a hive mind. The idea's quite brilliant for the reader, but not so much for our lead characters, who are now being hunted down by every cybernetic killing machine in the vicinity. Meanwhile, the story builds around Sage's plight, providing further glimpses into the lives of related factions on Cray City.

Whereas I feel that this sudden amping up of action and pace is just what this comic needs, I'm also very happy to see new characters. The criminal gang that Sage tore apart in the first issue is back, and it has a new friend—a big blue brick shithouse of an alien that likes to do very graphic things to people with his tentacles...

Sage: Escape digital and ashcan print comic is reminiscent of Farscape and Luc Besson film Fifth Element
Jeez, buy him a drink first.
We also meet a cyborg grim reaper that can teleport between worlds (I shit you not), who seems to be something of a mentor to Sage. This is my kind of mental! I remember Damian saying that he was a fan of Death's Head II, and when I made the connection, I got even more excited for how twisted this comic has the potential to be. Who is this "Grim?" Is he a true ally, or is Sage headed for some seriously hard lessons in life?

On top of this, we get some lovely interspecies girl-on-girl action between one of the Crays and yet another blue alien. It isn't inappropriate (like you'd care if it was), but it really paints a picture of what's going on behind closed doors in this fictional universe. It's not all "brown chicken, brown cow." There's a deep plot being dug out here, and I'm left intrigued, which is what this comic wants.

Sci-fi fantasy comic Sage: Escape features interracial lesbian sex between humans and aliens
Hey, Avatar, you snooze, you lose!
Without spoiling anything here, this second issue of Sage Escape is such a vast improvement over the first that if every issue were to double that, Damian will have something very special on his hands. No surprise that he's already been picked up by Comixology!

There is much more monologue and dialogue happening here, which lends life and soul to Sage Escape's characters. Bearing in mind that Damian is himself an Aussie, I assume that most of his lead characters so far are intended to be Australian. You can distinguish them by his clever, subtle use of dialect. I found myself laughing a couple of times, because I internally read in different accents. This took me back to the eras of Mad Max and Farscape.

On a final note, if Dave Gibbons were doing the art for this series, it could easily pass for classic 2000AD. Damian's own art is coming along nicely, being a vast improvement on his first attempt. Bravo to him for writing this thing and providing his own art. To do that and release it within the space of two months is quite a feat of talent and hard work. But in its own way, the atypical style provides the unapologetic kiddish charm that makes this series so much fun to read. It's like I'm back in the '90s reading old school comic strips. I should probably slap myself for expecting every comic I read to be drawn by the likes of John Romita Jr. Am I truly spoiled?

Sound off, Fanboys and Fangirls! If you haven't yet read yourself some Sage Escape, get on over to the Facebook page or visit the website. If you've read up on Damian's comic, drop a comment below and tell us what you think.

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