REVIEW: 'White Savior' #2 by Eric Nguyen, Scott Burman, and Iwan Joko Triyono



Writer: Eric Nguyen, Scott Burman
Artist: Eric Nguyen
Colorist: Iwan Joko Triyono
Letters: Micah Myers
Cover Artist: Eric Nguyen
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: February 15, 2023
Cover Price: $3.99

Yesterday, Todd Parker was ignoring his grandfather's story about the decimation of the ancient Japanese village of Inoki. Today, Todd is stranded in Inoki just days before its destruction. The good news is that he knows how this turns out. The villagers place their trust in a savior who is anything but a savior. But how is he going to convince them not to follow that man when they've branded our scrawny hero the village idiot? Todd Parker, ignorer of stories passed down from generation to generation, is the only thing standing between Inoki and destruction.

★★★★☆ (4/5)

'White Savior' by Eric Nguyen, Scott Burman, and Iwan Joko Triyono is an outrageously funny time-traveling, fish-out-of-water, acerbic, historical spoof that wears its silliness on its sleeve to great effect. In the tradition of movies like 'Back to the Future,' 'Pleasantville,' and 'A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court,' 'White Savior' follows an Everyman who's transported to a different time period, in this case, feudal Japan, on the cusp of a familiar battle and has to try to alter history and find his way back to his time. 

The Everyman is Todd Parker, who's only heard about this battle because his grandfather tried to share these historical stories with him. Now, after chasing a pickpocket in the present day falls through some kind of wormhole and is witness to the subject of the story of a great pale warrior who led a faction to a great defeat against Kenzo Mitsuhide’s forces. The "white savior" in question is Nathan Garin whose infamous savagery in the States against Native tribes is legendary. He's supposedly part of some prophecy the villagers think will save them from Kenzo. History says he won't and Todd is running out of time to convince them not to listen to Nathan and find a way to save them all. 

Told with a casually sarcastic tone and narrated by Todd's constant train of thought, 'White Savior' amuses with a fourth-wall-breaking style that includes editorial notes that pokes fun at itself. Todd comes across as an awkward self-deprecating ball of energy that recalls Ryan Reynolds in...well, everything I guess. The contrast between Todd's modern dialogue and that of those around him draws plenty of laughs but can be a bit grating when he can't help himself but go on long nervous diatribes. Same with the cartoonish Kenzo whose own monologue goes on a little too long as well. Overall, the situational comedy hits enough beats paired with some creatively designed art. 

Nguyen and Triyono create a colorful collage of sequences that give the story the energy to bounce from one situation or backstory element to another. The colors are vibrant but mostly centered around the characters than on the backgrounds so the focus is always on them. Nguyen's composition in conveying motion is especially effective as the panel follows a character's trajectory whether wielding a sword or falling. For all its silliness, the art is well thought out and executed with precise minimalism.

'White Savior' is unapologetic, unpretentious, and gloriously goofy. In a medium that sometimes takes itself too seriously, something like 'White Savior' that's more Mel Brooks than Frank Miller is a refreshing comic built for laughs.