By Stephen Wilds | Contributor Published: 08/15/2013 10:00 am EST
Publish date: August 14, 2013 Publisher: Image Comics
Things are getting serious in the prison where the Savage Dragon is being held, and now his old foe Mako wants to take a shark-sized chunk out of the green-skinned hero in a classic showdown that the prison walls may not contain.
Death is the theme for this issue. Mako wants to kill Dragon, not only due to their old feud, but for the death of Jill, the original Dart, which he blames Dragon for. Mako and Osgood discuss the deaths that Dragon has caused, while across the prison, Dragon and Malcolm have an odd father/son heart-to-heart about how they have both killed multiple times. This is an interesting dynamic that isn’t addressed enough in superhero comics, especially when teenage characters are involved.
While Mako fights for the old Dart, the new one is continuing to make an impact in the criminal underworld, one decapitation at a time, an act which she has proven to be fond of over the past few issues. Finally making her intentions clear in Savage Dragon #190, she seeks to take over the Vicious Circle, a criminal mainstay in the series.
The rest of the comic is filled with a few small plot furthering panels on different fronts, as readers catch up with two different families in the Savage Dragon universe and witness the long-awaited meeting between Malcolm and Maxine’s parents. Things appear to be going well at first, but Maxine reveals her parents’ true opinions of her new boyfriend, much to Malcolm’s dismay. This may lead Malcolm down a path he is not quite ready for.
Finally, the battle between Mako and Dragon begins, and it is a bloody and vicious one. Erik Larsen gives this tussle several pages in the issue, helping the fight come across as epic and meaningful. Big fights are commonplace in the world of comics, and because most story arcs have to return things to the status quo, readers are rarely concerned about the outcome. This fight comes very close to breaking that mold. Due to Dragon’s regenerative abilities, Larsen is able to use extremes like dismemberment and massive blood loss to push readers over the edge. The theme comes through in the last fight also, helping the intensity. Bringing the theme of death, and life, to the forefront of the story is what is spliced in between the fight; panels showing Malcolm witnessing the birth of his friend’s child are a great contrast to the main event.
Savage Dragon #190 concludes with an interesting setup for a returning foe of Malcolm’s as well as the usual “Fin Addicts” letters page and an extra preview. I’m pleased to say that this issue felt much more focused and did not suffer from some of the problems the last one did. It read like a lot of older issues of Savage Dragon, keeping things interesting and still feeding into future storylines. Larsen puts a lot into his work as he writes and draws, but the real fun is seeing the personality that is placed into the characters and events, so thanks, Mr. Larsen. I not only recommend this issue, I want to see more like it in the future.
Summary:DECENT: Blood is in the water of the prison where the Savage Dragon is being held and Mako is on the hunt. Erik Larsen puts on a hell of a show with some solid themes after fixing some of the issues I had with last month’s issue.