Here’s something you don’t see too much of nowadays thanks to beguiling marketing schemes: a comic book hitting the big #200. Fan of Savage Dragon or not — that’s a pretty damned impressive milestone, considering creator Erik Larsen has been a one-man band on the series since Image Comics’ inception.
To celebrate, Larsen is dropping a one-hundred page big boy celebratory issue on us. Is it good?
Savage Dragon #200 (Image Comics)
Let’s just get this out of the way: Dragon’s son, Malcolm, the new lead character of the book and his on again/off again girlfriend Maxine are on again.
And what better way to celebrate than a little make-up sex? With Maxine’s best friend/Malcolm’s step-sister thrown in the mix.
Insert Brazzers logo here.
Sure, the circumstances and set-up seem like something straight out of a Bud Bundy-helmed porn, but that’s alright: Savage Dragon has always been a wish-fulfillment type of comic — and that hasn’t changed now that the torch has been passed to Malcolm. I’ve seen a few other reviews for Savage Dragon #200 that bash the scene for being puerile or “like bad fan-fiction” but to them I say: you might be approaching this book with the wrong mindset. Do you also get mad at James Bond for getting it in? Can you not live vicariously through a fin-headed, green-skinned, half-alien even for a moment?
And to Erik Larsen, I say: Damn you for even putting the most fleeting notion in my already warped mind that there might be a young Asian coed out there willing to let me have impromptu threesomes while in a relationship.
Keeping in line with that James Bond reference though, the rest of the main story becomes similar in the sense that there’s no real sense of peril or vulnerability — you’re just there to see what cool tricks the protagonist pulls out while droves of goons get in his way: Malcolm, Angel and Dragon team-up and fight what’s left of the Vicious Circle gang and crack-wise while fist-mashing the absolute s--t out of them. That’s okay though — sometimes you just need to see the good guys whoop some ass without taking a lick of damage. It’s why we all loved Hulk Hogan growing up. It’s not all just just Dragon and Malcolm’s show, though.
There are a number of ancillary stories, although the pair featuring Mr. Glum were hands-down my favorite. This is my first experience with Glum but I’m already sold — yeah, he’s a megalomaniacal, sneaky little bastard — but like some conflation of Daffy Duck and the classic Loveable Rogue trope — you can’t help but root for the guy and his oft-misguided tenacity. That and he’s got some classic, corny-in-a-good-way dialogue.
Artist Chris Burnham’s (Batman Incorporated) art style is perfectly suited for Glum in “Conquering Heroes,” especially the character’s vast array of cartoonish facial expressions and sprightly, gnomic mannerisms. (If Larsen were to release a Mr. Glum spinoff with Burnham on art duty, I’d snatch that up with the quickness.)
“The Contest,” drawn and written by Larsen exhibits with aplomb why Glum’s marriage to Angel makes the character all the more amusing. Bottom line: Glum steals the show.
The other stories didn’t stand out quite as much, but Herb Trimpe’s pencils on “Out of Time” make for a quick, fairly amusing vintage romp and “Taken” features a slew of old favorites from the Larsen-verse such as Super-Patriot and Horridus taking on an army of trolls. “End Zone” features an intriguing premise: Malcolm joining the high school football team but ultimately feels too silly and rushed to really leave an impact.
Is It Good?
Savage Dragon #200 is a big-ass issue filled with plenty to like for fans of the fin-head. It’s not the perfect jumping on point, doesn’t change the narrative game too much and features action sequences that aren’t quite on par with Larsen’s best work/choreography, but it is a fun ride that’s definitely worth a look — especially if you’re already a fan.