By Stephen Wilds | Contributor Published: 07/16/2013 10:00 am EST
Publish date: July 10, 2013 Publisher: Image Comics
Bear with me here. This issue was more than a little confusing and took some research, but the main thing to note is that Savage Dragon is in jail after being sentenced to death and things do not look good for the titular character, but they are certainly entertaining.
Taking a look at what worked first, Dragon is a former police officer and has made several enemies who all want a piece of him, and feel that now is their best chance. Dragon has also performed a few amazing and helpful things in his time, some of which might even be looked at as miracles, plus he has spoken with God and Satan. With that in mind, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that some see him as a religious figure and there is a Church of Savage Dragon, which the hero wants nothing to do with. Seeing these things at the beginning helps to set the scope of Dragon’s influence and act as a lead-in to his speech before the giant brawl in the prison.
After the wonderfully fun fight scene, Dragon is beaten and bloodied, but somehow makes it back to his cell. The prisoner organizing the attacks delivers a great speech about the pain he plans on causing Dragon up until the day of his death, and I would hate to spoil the traditional and beautiful Erik Larsen-styled ending it delivers.
The other parts of the issue center mostly on Malcolm and the fact that he and his father have the worst luck with women, ever. To reinforce this, Malcolm starts off attempting to set things straight with Frank Jr. and failing again at meeting his new girlfriend’s parents. Maxine gets a bit angry when he is called away to save the day and it is pointed out again that she is constantly dressed in a Sailor Moon outfit, which of course is not that weird for this universe.
This is where it gets confusing. A woman is on the run for her life with one of Dragon’s children. She is asking for protection from Cyril and Animal, whom I am not sure I remember. The kid, named Barry, isn’t the real Dragon’s son though, but that of Dragon’s evil twin. The woman who is on the run isn’t actually the mother of the child though, and before any heads explode let me add in that there is a third woman and a returning character named Negate, who can take away people’s powers, that are also involved. This seems like a good time to point out that it is hard to miss more than an issue or two of this comic and keep up. On top of all that, there are a few confusing visuals when it comes to character placement and odd transformations that help to make things even harder to follow.
Even Malcolm pokes fun at how hard it is to sort out all the details of who did what in this issue. The conclusion of the whole affair causes yet another death and creates a new enemy for Malcolm. The new Dart also makes a small appearance to kill again and amp up the violence in an already bloody installment of the series.
Though there are several good and funny parts alongside some interesting re-colored early pages of Savage Dragon after the letters section, Savage Dragon #189 did not feel constructed as well as the last couple of issues, but several of these problems may not exists for true die-hard fans of the series. I, on the other hand, feel that something is lost on the story if I am in need of an entire recap issue before I can get back into it.
Summary:MEH: A great series is bound to have a few issues that lull, and something that has run this long is going to be confusing at times. This issue of the hit comic is action packed, violent, and entertaining though; still going strong, just in a lot of different directions.