By Stephen Wilds | Contributor Published: 06/05/2013 10:00 am EST
Publish date: June 5, 2013 Publisher: Image Comics
Savage Dragon is a hard series to simply jump back into, but any comic that starts with a discussion of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang needs to be given a fair chance. This is one of the few Image books that still feels like it has longevity without becoming stale. Erik Larsen’s writing and a simple but bold art style has always helped Savage Dragon establish its own voice and tone, and this issue is no different.
Issue #188 is hard to follow without knowing what has been going on. The title character of Savage Dragon is currently on trial and in this issue finds himself facing the death sentence for his actions in a previous story arc. Don’t worry about Dragon though, even in prison he takes the time to remind all of the bad guys that he put in there why he should not be trifled with.
While Dragon is away for most of the issue, the story focuses more on his son, Malcolm, and the character Daredevil. The two heroes gather help to fight off Daredevil’s nemesis, The Claw, as The Wise Guys are abducted by the now-villainous Dart. The end of this issue sees many of Malcolm’s allies unable to continue offering him help, namely Daredevil and Rex, who are leaving Chicago while danger looms just around the corner. Before everyone bails though, there is one last large glorious fight in the middle of the street involving the Air Force, a giant, and some superheroes working at a diner that are quite amusing. It is interesting to see what Larsen does with all of these public domain characters, and just to confuse readers further, more tertiary characters drop in-and-out of the issue towards the beginning with almost no explanation.
This is a well paced-issue with the familiar fingerprints of traditional Savage Dragon adventures, even if Dragon isn’t the primary focus. There is always the mundane mixed with the spectacular, like the first scene of the book where Malcolm takes his new girlfriend, Maxine Jung Lai, to meet some of his super-powered friends and they walk into a fight. There are the blatant sexual remarks too, like when Maxine asks Malcolm if he was staring at her butt, then encourages it. Plus, count on Sara to have no filter and say stuff like, “Are you two having sex? If you’re not, you should. It’s great!” There is also still the abundant level of violence that is vintage Savage Dragon. For instance, this particular issue has an unhealthy love affair with decapitations.
This comic is fun. Like every issue of the series, there will be something entertaining in it no matter how far out the story can get sometimes. Savage Dragon is also always refreshing at the end because of the Fin Addicts letters pages. It is incredibly fun to see Larsen interact with fans’ responses to his comics, and this bonus feature acts as an incentive for readers still picking up the single issues and not simply waiting for trades.
Summary:DECENT: Dragon is on trial, so it is up to his son and their allies to save the city from The Claw. Savage Dragon always entertains with its odd blend of violence, sexuality, and off-the-wall humor. A simplistic art style works for Larsen's story that sees the use of several public domain characters and allows for randomly tying up loose ends.