The Savage Dragon 2 of 3
Born Again Patriot
This issue opens in the sewers of Chicago where Dragons takes out the latest treat, Arachnid whom feeds on the remains of the people he has ensnared there.
Before cutting back to "before" where we are introduced to an, as of yet nameless nurse ( An Stevens ) who calls Dragon, Mr Dragon.
Considering he has no name, and has no idea who he is yet, he likes the name.
In his bed room Frank Darling is worrying about something, something that is spiralling out of control.
We aren't told yet what this something is though.
Before cuting back to Dragon target practising in the police precinct.
And then we cut back to "now" reintroducing Superpatriot as a cyborg, having made a deal with a devil. Cyberdata, an organisation that originated from the pages of Cyberforce.
We cut to dragon locking the door on his new apartment and meeting his next door neighbour, Debbie Harris, whom will be very important later.
Their conversation is cut short by Dragons beeper and he shows up at a mall, where there is a hostage situation.
The three superfreaks, our old friends, Basher, Hellrazor and Mako, want to trade the hostages for Dragon.
And they do, since Dragon wants the hostages they obliged, by throwing them to him.
Things go worse from there on in. Dragon is outmatched and barely able to hold his own.
When Superpatriot smashes in through a wall and starts shooting killing the super freak indiscriminately.
Dragon, being a police officer naturally disagrees with this and tries to stop him.
After a viscous beating Superpatriot is about to kill Dragon, before Alex Wylde intervenes and tells him that Dragon is a police officer.
Which shocks Superpatriot into babbling incoherence.
The bewilderment gives Dragon just enough time to punch Superpatriot's lights out
But he is hurt badly and losing blood rapidly.
Dragon loses consciousness and crumples on the floor.
The comis ends with everybody seemingly dead.
Things look bleak.
To Be continued ?
Story\Art\ Ink\ Erik Larsen
Letterer, Chris Eliopolous
Color, Gregory Wright and Steve Oliff
Editor, Jannie Wong.
fFrst appearances : Arachnid,
Dragon sports a bike with a gun and wearing a pair of shades, no doubt a reference to the Terminator in T2, which was still hugely popular at this time.
The panel below that, sports a very Sin City, looking Dragon.
This is the issue where Dragon gets his name, a name he will keep for the remainder of the series.
this issue is 28 pages for 1.95 again
Issue 2 once again opens right in the thick off it, with Dragon taking out a cannibalistic man spider mutant, in the sewers.
This may or may not be a pointed attack on Marvel and Spiderman or just tongue in cheek, poking fun, though it's a bit too barbed for that.
For some reason or other, quite a few of the Image founders were quite vocal in their acrimony towards Marvel. particularly, McFarlane and Liefeld, Larsen seemed to be more neutral on the subject, but wasn't above jabbing at times.
We also find out where Dragon got his name from and at the same time introducing burse Anne Stevens, who once again will play a rather big part in the coming issues. Right now she is nothing but a bit player.
We also find out that things are to as they may seem with Frank, as he starts to become unglued for something he did to get Dragon on the force.
At the second issue Larsen is already starting to lay the foundations for long term plots
and we are also introduced in to a staple of The Dragon comic.
Long term plots will not be dangled perpetually in front of the reader. Some wil be played out over a longer period of time, but they are never forgotten and they all have an end game
We will get to the mystery of what eats Frank as we get there.
Even though Debbie is introduced here, I wil have a few choice for her later
The majority of the comic is taken up with a few flashbacks and the battle between Dragon, Superpatriot and the three Vicious Circles bruisers
The fight it self is rather brutal and violent, far more violent then most Marvel Comics at the day.
And Dragon is hopelessly outclassed even more so when Superpatriot barges in and starts killing indiscriminately, blowing a hole the size of a softball in Bashers head and mistakes Dragon for a Viscous Circle goon.
But it establishes some genuine tension and Dragon might be The "Great Green Hope" of Chicago, he is not invincible.
This introduces two staples at once, completely random deaths that come out of nowhere.
And death is permanent. ( Unless it isn't )
Larsen never shies away from killing main characters and the death usually sticks.
Sometimes the character returns either from a alternate earth or different point in time but the original character is usually dead.
The comic ends on a very bleak note with dozens of dead civilians, three possibly dead Viscous Circle goons and Dragon himself heavily, wounded lying in a pool of his own blood possibly dead. Making you wonder if the comic is already over, before it well and truly started.
Issue 2 is again fully formed with cover to cover action and giving out dabs of characterization and developing plotlines.
Unlike other Image Comics from this era, which were too busy throwing dozens and dozens of new characters at you or mostly moped.
The Savage Dragon just got on with it, helped along with Larsen's cartoony dynamic art and Eliopolous's dynamic and often over the top letters and onomatopoeia.