Savage Highway is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi horror, mixing Mad Max (without the cars) with the directionless, hopeless wandering of The Walking Dead. It’s largely just a sum of its influences, bringing little new to the genre. The exception to this is the change in the usual landscape, as the story is set in France and the third act takes us into a largely abandoned and derelict Paris.
However, it’s an expertly executed story, helped in no small amount by Xiaoyu’s beautiful art, which binds the survivors to the landscape and regularly takes over the storytelling completely, as dialogue is sparse and visual narrative takes pride of place. The story is as brutal and visceral as the post-apocalytic landscape and the pockets of survivors, who are trying to survive and scratch out a new life for themselves that isn’t just about day-to-day survival.
While the plot itself follows a well-trodden path, Masmondet has added some fine touches of character, drama and dialogue, particularly the main protagonist, Helene, a natural leader without really knowing it, who channels the strength and compassion out of brutal, self-centred survivors, and draws them on a quest to save her sister from a fate worse than death in the heart of darkness.
For a self-contained fix of the post-apocalyptic, Savage Highway will quench your thirst. You might not finish it thinking that you’ve read anything new, but you’ll surely appreciate the quality of the journey.