Review: Savage Dragon #197

Question:  What is tougher than fighting with Malcolm Dragon who is virtually invincible? Answer:  Fighting Malcolm Dragon after he has been transformed into some sort of mutated monster.

But you don’t have to take my word for it.  Just read through the pages of Issue #197 of The Savage Dragon and you will get to see it all laid out in bold and brilliant color. I think the cover will say it all.  But if you read through the pages, you will be entertained by a smooth blend of balance between skull crushing action and even some love in the air between all the spraying blood droplets that are scattered throughout this issue.  I think this could be the best one of the new Malcolm Dragon chapters of The Savage Dragonepic to date.

Yes, I am going to use the word “epic” as I feel that Erik Larsen’s creation from so many years ago has evolved into a sprawling saga that is quickly approaching its 200th issue.  This is quite simply an amazing feat since The Savage Dragon has been under the sole direction of Larsen for the entire run. And there may be many years of story within this epic, but Larson is showing no signs of stopping anytime soon. And his kick your ass art style with old school comic storytelling are still just as fabulous as they have always been even after all these years.  The Savage Dragon is charging forward and it is entertaining as hell.

#197 begins right where #196 ended.  Malcolm was taken hostage by some desperate mutants who want justice from the greedy Bellco Chemical Company who have been secretly pumping disgusting bile into the water system of The Danger Zone turning the residents into mutated versions of themselves that are none too pretty.  The residents had hoped that by giving Malcolm the water would help bring him to their cause.  But, it is safe to say that the monster part probably wasn’t what they have hoped for… especially for the leader of this little mutant faction who is mentioned, but not seen as things happened during the last issue that has rendered him… uh… incapacitated.

SavageDragon197_CoverWhile all of this is going on, The Vicious Circle are looking to put a premature end to young Malcolm and see this time as an opportunity to strike.  Let’s thank them for playing anyway. Monster Malcolm is pretty tough. You then add the outcomes from all of this going on, plus some “love” angles as Malcolm’s girlfriend is back in the mix trying to help him as well as some of the mutants and their interactions.  You put all these things together, and then you as a reader are getting a complete tale of mushy love and mushy guts in a nice balanced presentation.  It’s pretty damned awesome it is.

Erik Larsen doesn’t miss a beat here in #197.  I am totally and utterly loving on it.  We are seeing in Malcolm a true hero all the way, but also a young hero.  One who is negotiating all of the ups and downs of what it means to be a superhero and also a regular teenager or at least a regular guy/teenager who happens to be a dragon. Anyway, some things happen here that will change Malcolm forever, even now already early on in his young crime fighting career.  How he deals with these things should fill lots of good story in the coming months.

If anyone thought that The Savage Dragon would become soft once Malcolm took over the reins… I have news for you. It didn’t.  In fact, it has been a nice new infusion that should propel this epic into the next area that it is destined to become.  I know that I am a hundred percent on board.  And I am eagerly waiting to see what will happen next.

Score: 5/5

Writer/Artist/Creator: Erik Larsen Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 8/20/14 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital