For the last couple months, I have seen posts both on Twitter and Facebook from writer/artist extraordinaire Erik Larsen regarding an experiment that he was doing with his Savage Dragon comic. In the experiment, Larsen was planning to have an entire issue of nothing but two page spreads. It sounded kind of interesting to be sure. But would it work? With his issue #199 of The Savage Dragon, I recognize that it not only worked, but it worked well. It is bold, big, powerful, and full of awesomeness that really has to be experienced. Seeing is believing as within these pages, Larsen has created one complete series of dual page spreads to present this comic just like he stated that he would. All I can say from reading it and in what Larsen himself states was 20 years in the making is that it is seriously good, well written, well placed and an epic primer to what should be a very impressive 200th Issue next month.
Everything about this issue pops. It has snappy dialogue, mega action of the smash mouth variety, and some of the most impressive artistic renderings delivered by Larsen that I have seen in a long time. It feels like the new direction of bringing young son Malcolm Dragon into the mix has given Larsen a new renewal on the title making it some seriously solid work that should be up there among his best, even these many years after his original release of The Savage Dragon. He is bringing it like a mighty Dragon fist to the head (BAM!!!).
Plot wise, we are given follow up to the events of issue #198. Malcolm has ventured into a giant hole working to rescue a friend and to fight off some annoying ant men when he encounters some serious subterranean baddies. This Issue brings a conclusion to Malcolm’s encounter and has a nice fresh cameo appearance from Special Operations Strikeforce (S.O.S.) as well that adds some additional “Pow” to the “Bang Bang Pow”.
But the story itself is secondary. It’s the art that’s the rock star and these double pages really show out that rock star on this comic rendering. Larsen has managed a truly impressive feat with tons of detail and complexity. As a reader, your eyes will be engulfed with a smorgasbord of sweetness. It is really satisfying bringing it all in and letting it resonate within your brain.
When reading this issue, I was ushered back to some of my earliest readings of Savage Dragon back in the 1990s where the color and action attacked the reader and left you with a sense of awe. This issue has channeled that energy of old. The color is vibrant, active and powerful.
I highly recommend this title to anyone who used to follow Savage Dragon and maybe fell by the wayside (like me) or to those who maybe never before went to Dragon in their comic readings. Now is an ideal time to jump on board as we are witnessing a renaissance for Erik Larsen. And if this Issue #199 is any indication of what’s to come, then I know that I am looking forward to some continuing greatness.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Erik Larsen Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 10/29/2014 Format: Ongoing; Print/Format