The opinions have been mixed regarding The Savage Dragon and its bold new direction featuring young Malcolm Dragon as the new lead with Papa nowhere to be found, as he is busy repopulating an entire alien race. Some people aren’t into it. As for me, I really have enjoyed the new take as we are seeing the next generation of a loooooong continuum that has gone on with just one creator in Erik Larsen so many years ago, Savage Dragon was one of my favorite titles back in the day and it was one of the big reasons that Image Comics was (and still is) such a success in dedicating itself to original and creative material. Many of the titles released from Image today have the support of Savage Dragon (and Spawn) as the two pillars of the company. It has been real nice to return myself to the title after a long absence. What I have seen in my return thus far is a little bit of old, a little bit of new, and a whole lot of entertainment potential that awaits the reader as this new direction gains its footing. I have enjoyed all of the ones that I have read so far. Issue #195 has likewise continued with the good vibes of the previous issues and we continue to see (and feel) Malcolm’s many struggles with supercharged baddies, suspicious back stories related to his mother, and extreme social ineptness given into the mercies of angry parents, angry citizens, and just plain old angry people in general. If Malcolm is to be a hero, he definitely doesn’t feel like he is one as of yet, seemingly getting into trouble around every corner as he tries to do the right thing no matter what.
In reading the material, there has been a pretty deep personal storyline being developed by Larsen that matches the spectacular action that has always been a mainstay of the title for as long as I can remember. Malcolm is struggling with a whole lot that is shaking him to his core capturing a realism to the fantastic images that we see. Sure, Malcolm physically is virtually indestructible and a force. But on the inside, he is just a kid struggling with being accepted by, well, everyone. As you read through things, he is having a hard time negotiating the social dynamics of life even if he is totally kicking ass elsewhere. It makes for some intriguing storytelling that shows Larsen’s mastery of the character. He is as good of a writer as he is an artist without a doubt. And I, for one, am glad to be able to read it.
To anyone who used to love this title but somewhere fell off from it (like me), I am highly recommending it to you. Come back and fall in love with the character all over again. For those of you younger people who may have never viewed any Savage Dragon (which I don’t know is possible, but hey, I’m pretty old), I say give it a go. Just because the continuum is many years long, we are now in a bold new chapter and are just getting started, perfect to jumping right in and enjoying. And for those of you who hate these kind of comics and have never viewed them at all, well I also humbly submit the title to you. I really have enjoyed experiencing Malcolm’s dealings with his powers and his responsibilities. You just know that he is going to get it right sometime and it is going to be one fun ride as he gets there. Give it a go and you will see. You will not be disappointed that you did.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Erik Larsen Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 6/18/14 Format: Ongoing, Print/Digital