Saw: Rebirth is a digital comic book published by IDW Publishing. It was written by R. Eric Lieb and Kris Oprisko with art by Renato Guedes. The comic serves as a prequel to the first Saw film as well as the Saw franchise as a whole and focuses on the early life of John Kramer and the events that eventually made him become the infamous Jigsaw Killer. By the time when Saw V was released, the comic had been remade with a new animation style to supplement the previous one and make some slight edits.
John Kramer is an insecure and unambitious man who works at a toy factory and therefore lives a rather boring life, as he is too lazy to make more of it. Eventually, this nature of his and his lack of ambitions and commitment causes his wife, Jill Tuck, to leave him. Years go by and John continues his life just as before until he ultimately becomes sick.
As his physical condition worsens continuously, he eventually gos to the hospital where he is diagnosed with cancer by his oncologist, Dr. Lawrence Gordon. Due to the highly virulent strain of cancer, there are no real chances of recovery. Depressed by how he had wasted his life and how is going to die soon, John walks around the hospital where he meets numerous different people. Among them it the disgruntled orderly Zep Hindle, who badmouths the doctors behind their backs for their lack empathy instead of making more of his own life. Besides Zep, John also becomes interested in the other patients, such as Mark, a skam artist, and Amanda Young, a young heroin addict who had been brought to the hospital after overdosing with drugs. Finally, and most shockingly for him, he also meets Paul, one of his colleagues at the toy factory, who had unsuccessfully tried to commit suicide by cutting his wrists, despite having a wife, children and a good job.
As his depressions gets worse, John ultimately decides to end his own life and tries to kill himself by driving his car off a cliff. To his surprise, he survives the crash, albeit being heavily injured. When he climbs out of the wreck, John realizes that only when his death was imminent he finally began to actually appreciate his life, which he considers as his rebirth. Therefore he finds a new sense in his life and decides to spent his last remaining days on testing other peoples' will to survive in order to make them appreciate their own lives. He decides to start with the people he had met at the hospital and neglects his own needs for the sake of his mission, showing a commitment like he had never done it until this point. Eventually, this leads to him becoming the serial killer known as Jigsaw.
Differences to the Films
While the events depicted in the comic mostly fit the events shown in the first three films, they contradict the events of the later movies in many ways. The biggest change was made to the past of John Kramer and Jill Tuck. While in the comics, Jill left John for his lack of ambitions and commitment, it was vice versa in the films, as John left Jill after she had suffered a miscarriage and lost their unborn son, Gideon, when one of her patients robbed her recovery clinic. Besides this, John's general personality in the comic also greatly differs that in the movies. Unlike in the comics, the John Kramer shown in the films was a successful civil engineer and the founder of the Urban Renewal Group, a foundation dedicated to property development for needy people. It was also never suggested in the films, that John knews Paul before his diagnose with cancer. Another drastic change between the comic and the films becomes evident when looking at the origin of Billy, the iconic ventriloquist puppet used by John to communicate with his victims. In the comic, it is shown that Billy was built in the toy factory where John worked before his diagnose. However in the films, Billy is actually based on Bobby, a smaller and less sinister-looking puppet that John had built as a present for the birth of his son. It wasn't until he became the Jigsaw Killer, that he created the actual Billy puppet.
- Leigh Whannell, the writer and co-creator of Saw, stated on the audio commentary track for Saw II that the scene of John shaving off his hair, as seen in the comic, was originally in the script for the film as well and was supposed to symbolize John's transformation into Jigsaw. However the producers decided to erase it from the script.