Review: Savage Dragon #196

What is a young dragon to do? The last thing you remember is that you are attacking giant robot who blows itself up. You awake a week later, naked, bound in chains, and with all your flesh burned off. You have some strange mutant people telling you that you must avenge them against an evil company who has made them the way they are through experimentation within their community. And you are told that you will change too like them as you too have drank the tainted water that the company has placed in the tap water as a part of their experiments.   Add an angry horde of baddies who are searching for you and want you dead and the knowledge that you are missing a ton of school due to your current disposition,  And well, you get just another day in the life of young Malcolm Dragon; the all new and continuing saga of Erik Larsen’s Savage Dragon. One of the original flagship offerings of Image Comics and one that as of late has been gaining steam and momentum once again as a new direction has been taken within the legacy and mystique of this wonderful comic title. It appears to be getting better and better with each issue. When reading through the letters section, many ask Larsen why not start Savage Dragon from scratch with Malcolm and make a new #1 issue rather than continuing on into an unlimited number.  I find it telling in Larsen’s response that he would rather sacrifice short term “sales” in the understanding that he is continuing within a world that he has created, evolving and moving on into the next level.  This pure view is admirable and it shows in his rendering and writing of Savage Dragon.  Everything has changed, but the story continues within the same world. No reboots, no rehashes. Nothing.  It just is and it is entering into a new area.

And what a wonderful new area it is.  Old and new are connecting into each other making Savage Dragon a great read for longtime fans of the series as well as for new folks who may not have been around in the 1990s when this title began.  You now get the best of both worlds, the legend of the old Dragon and the new legend of Malcolm Dragon. SavageDragon196_Cover copy 2It kind of rocks hard when you think about it.

All of the trademark elements of Erik Larsen are here.  We get the awesome in your face kick ass action sequences, the larger than life hero views, as well as the more deep and interpersonal emotional issues. Malcolm may be pretty much indestructible, but he is only 17 and has a whole lot to learn about life.  Hell, he can’t even have the girlfriend that he wants because the girlfriend’s family doesn’t really want her dating a dragon.  It is kind of touching.

Regarding Larsen’s art, making Malcolm brownish is a nice touch as his battle sequences really pop with the earthier toned coloring.  It makes for well-rounded creating that once again brings the old and the new into one long continuum that works for the overall title.

I am glad for Larsen in his desire to continue his creation.  It is a rarity to see, but one that I can read and read and read. He has really turned the corner and seeing where young Malcolm lands next is starting to become must see reading.

Score: 4/5

Writer/Artist/Creator: Erik Larsen Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 7/23/14 Format: Ongoing, Print/Digital