Savage Dragon creator Erik Larsen has made it no secret of how super stoked he has been on his preparation regarding his historic 200th issue. He has been planning and plotting, working, working, working on making this one just right. It would seem that he recognizes what an amazing accomplishment reaching 200 issues is and he really wanted to show the reader and the fans his own passion for the title by giving us his all for this big two double zero. It is now out. And it isn’t like what I was expecting at all, unfortunately. Size wise, this Savage Dragon issue is epic. The reader is treated to 100 pages of various stories with art provided by the likes of Herb Trimpe, Chris Burnham and many others. There are some bold spreads, bold stories, and action aplenty throughout covering a vast array of Dragon history and lore and following several other characters that have not been present much since the new direction of Malcolm Dragon carrying the mantel of the hero. Of course, young Malcolm has had a time trying to establish himself during the past issues. Hell, Malcolm has had a hard time at just being a teenager trying to do school. And through that presentation, Savage Dragon has brought a new and interesting element to the title not seen before, making it a pretty sweet one to read. With his beginning in Issue #200 however, those things and that vibe changes.
THIS IS THE ISSUE FOLKS…THE ONE…THE ONE…WHERE YOUNG MASTER MACOLM…GETS LAID…A LOT (Huh?).
Yep, Malcolm gets laid here and that is a major plot point throughout the first story. Of course there are other things going on too. During the last issue, The Vicious Circle got smacked down pretty good and Dart was captured. The remnants of the Circle have decided to bust the original Savage Dragon out of prison and use him and his powerless self as a bartering chip for Dart. It is now up to Malcolm and his stepsister Angel to try to find him and rescue him from their clutches. Mayhem ensues, action is delivered, and that part of the story is solid. It was nice to see the mean green himself in action again, even without his mighty powers. But, with the exception of that, nearly the whole focus on this first story seems to be aimed at Malcolm getting laid rather than the other stuff. It is way too much and over the top really breaking from what could have been a hell of a story. It just seems that Malcolm getting laid (a lot) was more important for some reason. It felt kind of hollow for such an issue that promised itself to be epic. I didn’t dig on it.
Now art wise, Larsen has always been a master and he drops nothing down here as his renderings are strong. But once again, after his huge “splash page “ Issue #199, #200 felt a little bit anticlimactic. All of this really sucks to me as I have thoroughly enjoyed Larsen’s new direction with the character and his recent issues. The man has written and drawn with some serious intensity and he actually brought me back to the title after a long hiatus. It has been a good run and I fully expect it to continue. But for the Issue #200 story, it felt out of sync for some reason.
Regarding the other stories, some were pretty decent. Both of Herb Trimpe’s stories were ok. I can never get tired of watching Nazis get beat down by the likes of The Savage Dragon and Malcolm. I also liked the Daredevil story as it had a 1970s comic vibe to it. The Vanguard offering was likewise pretty good with outstanding artwork by Frank Fosco. I just couldn’t get into the Mr. Glum and Angel story drawn by Chris Burnham. It seemed kind of clunky.
Hands down though, my favorite additional story was “End Zone” written by Larsen and drawn by Travis Sengaus. It followed the “what if” idea of Malcolm playing football for his high school team and it felt fun and interesting. Filled with a light-hearted nature but jacking up the action when needed.
In spite of some good ones though, I believe the opening story set the pace and the whole issue never quite recovered from it. I think as a Savage Dragon fan, this issue should probably be viewed for what it is, a historical accomplishment. But as far as overall enjoyment, this historic #200 never quite lives up to the building hype. Now that it’s finished, maybe things can get back in order for #201.
Writer: Erik Larsen Artists: Erik Larsen (and many others) Publisher: Image Comics Price: $8.99 Release Date: 12/10/14 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital