The Last of Us Episode 5: Savage Starlight explained

Ellie in The Last of Us and a Savage Starlight comic bookHBO/Sony

The Last of Us Episode 5 features an Easter Egg from the game in the form of a comic book: Savage Starlight – here’s everything you need to know.

In our review of Episode 5, we said it “delivers the crushing, cruel coda of Henry and Sam even more effectively than the game; a nightmare born anew and relived.”

It picks up with Joel and Ellie straight from the last scene in the previous episode, before they team up with Henry and Sam to evade Kathleen’s Hunters and escape Kansas City.

While navigating the city’s underground tunnels, they stumble on a classroom with toys and comic books, including Savage Starlight – so, what is it?

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Savage Starlight in The Last of Us explained

Savage Starlight is a series of comic books that are one of four categories of collectibles in The Last of Us game, alongside artifacts, firefly pendants, and training manuals.

In Episode 5, Sam finds Accretion, the sixth issue in the Savage Starlight series. In the game, this can be found in the hotel in Pittsburgh. There are 14 issues in total to find in one playthrough.

Ellie tells Sam she has issues #4, #5, #6, and #11. These are titled Uncertainty, Foreign Element, Accretion, and Antiparticles, respectively. Sam owns issue #8, titled Negantropy.

If you pick up one of the comics in the game, you’ll see a Dark Horse Comics logo at the bottom next to the barcode. Not only is this a real publishing company, but it also published The Last of Us: American Dreams. This was designed by Mike Oeming, who also worked on the art for the Savage Starlight.

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Savage Starlight has been referenced in other Naughty Dog games; specifically, Cassie Drake has a poster in her bedroom during Uncharted 4’s epilogue. There was once an official website, but its web address expired this year.

Every Savage Starlight comic book

Below, we’ve listed each comic in the Savage Starlight series, its front cover, and its blurb, as seen in the game.

While they represent a glimmer of light in Ellie’s otherwise dark upbringing, there are similarities to be drawn between the characters of the comics and those in the show.

Termination Shock

The Termination Shock issue of Savage StarlightSony

Dr. Daniela Star dreams of deep space. In the year 2186, mankind has conquered the solar system, but the shackles of special relativity prevent them from going any further. At her research facility on Ganymede, Daniela is on the verge of a breakthrough that will allow humanity to finally answer the question: are we alone?

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Messenger Particle

The Messenger Particle issue of Savage StarlightSony

The first test of Daniela’s zero-point jump drive started out a success, but contact with the test pilot was immediately lost. Forty-eight standard hours later, he returned transformed, and he came with a message. “WE ARE THE TRAVELERS,” the message began.

Force Carrier

The Force Carrier issue of Savage StarlightSony

Reluctant to acknowledge Daniela’s findings, the Council was forced to accept the ominous reality: a series of supermassive objects were appearing and then disappearing in nearby star systems. The objects were making a sweep and the one that would hit the Sol system within days.

Daniela has been brought on board the Kobyashi, led by Captain James Ryan, to make sure an up-close analysis of whatever threat emerges.

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The Uncertainty issue of Savage StarlightSony

Mankind’s trillions have become billions. The Travelers’ technology eclipses the most optimistic projections of human advancement over the next five hundred years, and humanity’s feeble resistance has all but crumbled.

Having barely surviving the crash of the Kobayashi, Daniela and Captain Ryan face an impending menace on the surface of Titan.

Foreign Element

The Foreign Element issueSony

The victory of the Travelers was absolute, and so too were the terms of humanity’s surrender. The living flesh of every man, woman, and child left alive was claimed as the spoils of war. For how long can Daniela escape their terrible grasp?


The Accretion issue of Savage StarlightSony

With Captain Ryan’s leadership and Daniela’s technological expertise, the raids of the Last Watch have become ever more daring. As a scientist, can she bear to use her gifts for destruction?

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Free Radicals

The Free Radicals issue of Savage StarlightSony

After their improbable escape from the Arena, Daniela and Ryan are now the two most wanted humans in the solar system. Their newfound infamy has attracted the attention of a mysterious organization called the Last Watch.

Following scarce and cryptic clues, the trail to the Last Watch has led them to Saturn’s tiny and misshapen seventh moon: Hyperion.


The Negentropy issue of Savage StarlightSony

With Captain Ryan’s leadership and Daniela’s technological expertise, the raids of the Last Watch have become ever more daring. As a scientist, can she bear to use her gifts for destruction?


The Precipitate issue of Savage StarlightSony

The time has come for Daniela’s second faster-than-light test flight. This time the mission is not exploration, but infiltration. This time, Daniela is going too. Their payload: a twenty-teraton anticarbon bomb. Their crew: eight of the most capable, suicidal, and dangerous men and women of the Last Watch. Their mission: the annihilation of the Traveler homeworld.

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Deep Phase

The Deep Phase issue of Savage StarlightSony

So far, Daniela’s phase-shift device has kept the Von Neumann and its crew invisible to the Travelers’ sensor network. But as each zero-point jump brings them ever deeper into their vast interstellar empire, hopes for the return journey dwindle.

In three days they have traveled a quarter of the galactic radius, and in two more they will be at the Traveler homeworld. As long as nothing goes wrong.


The Antiparticles issue of Savage StarlightSony

After a navigational error jumps the Von Neumann into the corona of a white dwarf star, the damage is extensive and tension among the crew is high. With the cloaking device destroyed, the ship is forced to hide in a nearby stellar nursery.

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After Daniela’s mistake, the crew won’t easily trust her again… But they don’t have long to decide what to do: time, along with oxygen, is running out.

Zero Point

The Zero point issueSony

It’s been fifteen days since the Travelers detected the uncloaked Von Neumann. The attack killed most of the crew, and, perhaps more importantly, it interrupted the reaction chain in the zero-point engine. At sub-light speed it would take six thousand years to reach the Travelers’ homeworld; they are close, but not close enough.


The Catalysis issue of Savage StarlightHBO

Faced with the failure of their mission, Daniela and James chose to make the ultimate sacrifice for humanity: flying the ship, and the anticarbon bomb on it, straight into a neutron star.

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The resulting explosion was the single most significant astronomical event since the formation of the galaxy, destroying the Traveler fleet, their homeworld, and countless other worlds and star systems. But will the sacrifice of two of humanity’s greatest heroes be enough to break the Travelers’ iron grip?


The Singularity issue of Savage StarlightSony

The Travelers have been crippled… for now. Daniela’s daring plan, and her seemingly miraculous escape back home, has made her a galvanizing figurehead to the Last Watch. Captain Ryan’s “sacrifice” has made him a martyr, an illusion Daniela won’t dispel. But how long can she keep what really happened a secret?

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The Last of Us Episode 6 will be available to stream on February 19 in the US and February 20 in the UK. You can check out the rest of our coverage here and check out the trailer for the weeks ahead here.