The last time I read Savage Dragon was in 1993 — back when Image Comics was in its nascency and the idea of a young boy buying anything comic book related outside of Marvel or DC was near sacrilege. Twenty damn years ago. Holy balls do I feel old.
Dragon was a bad mofo, plain and simple: He swore. He drank. He had green skin, was strong as the Hulk and had a dinosaur fin on his head. He spit game at women (and subsequently slept with them). His best friend was a police lieutenant that looked like Danny Glover.
So basically he was that dude to a ten-year-old scamp.
Now as an ostensibly grown-ass man, I’m reading Savage Dragon once more. Is my love for Erik Larsen’s baby merely a vision through rose-tinted glasses or has Dragon withstood the test of time? Is it good?
Savage Dragon #190 (Image)
Dragon is in prison. He’s had his fair share of jail scrapes but for the most part he’s alright. That could all get switched up real quick though…
Because now Mako wants him dead. Mako is a muscle-bound dude that accidentally killed the woman he loved during a fight with Dragon (who was trying to rescue her). Naturally, he blames everything on Dragon. And he wants sweet, sweet revenge. Also, his head is an enormous shark’s head.
Just in time for Shark Week. Nightmare/nerd-boner fuel combination rekindled.
Meanwhile, Dragon’s son (he has a son now!?) Malcolm is on a date with his girlfriend. Not just any date though: The dreaded “meet the parents” date. Rut roh.
As a half-Asian myself with a strict Asian mother, I say this with all due respect — Malcolm: You’re screwed, buddy.
The issue culminates with a brutal, bloody prison brawl between Mako and Dragon that spans several pages and some foreshadowing for the return of a few familiar villains (with one of them staking a claim as leader of the Vicious Circle Gang.)
- Crisp, attractive art by Larsen as is custom.
- Brutal fight scene between Mako and Dragon.
- Won’t take much more than 5-10 minutes to read.
Is It Good?
I feel like a kid again. In a good way. The tone of this comic is damn near identical to when I was a ten-year-old boy reading in gape-mouthed wonder and I’m not too proud to admit that I got a kick out of it as an adult. As writer/artist/creator Erik Larsen himself has said, Savage Dragon is “… More mature than Marvel; less pretentious than Vertigo. The kind of comics [he wants] to read. [The] book is really self-indulgent.”
Self-indulgent, sure, but like a good action movie: a fun little ride. A nice blend of characterization and action that’s not too heavy or convoluted. A recap page might’ve been a nice auxiliary, but Larsen’s narrative reveals everything with fine lucidity, even to a guy like me who’s been out of the Savage Dragon game for two decades. Thanks for having me back, Mr. Larsen.