The Savage Dragon v1 Issue 1
Baptism Of Fire.
Synopsis : The issues opens with Dragon kicking in action immediately, taking down his first super freak in the form of Cutthroat and his girlfriend Glowbug, who are trying to rob a bank.
As he brings them in Dragon is greeted by thunderous applause by the oppressed citizens of Chicago.
Cut back to before, where Dragon is found in a burning field naked, with out any memory of himself by LT Frank Darling. Dragon is aware of the basic facts, but knows absolutely nothing about himself.
As the situation in Chicago worsens and the few super hero hold outs, Superpatriot and Mighty man, either get maimed and left for death or killed in their civilian form. The situation grows ever desperate as LT Darling impresses the gravity of the situation on Dragon. Who reluctantly rejects Franks plea to work for the city's police force.
LT Darling however did get Dragon a job and a place to stay with his cousin Fred in a warehouse.
Not long after however, Dragon first hand has to deal with the super freaks over running Chicago, as three of them try to strong arm Frank's cousin Fred, in to either coughing up the money or a lung.
Dragon deals with them easily, but to no avail as the warehouse is blown up with him and Fred along with it.
Dragon survives the explosion but cousin Fred doesn't and his mind is made up for him.
Back in the present Dragon deals with a hostage situation, taking out 23 perps without killing anybody.
With a little help from a new vigilante named Star.
The issue ends with the kingpin of the Vicious Circle, the criminal organisation that holds Chicago in it's grasp, Overlord. Dismissing Dragon and dispatching 3 of his higher placed bruisers, to do as they wish with the dragon situation.
Story\Art\ Ink\ Erik Larsen
Letterer, Chris Eliopolous
Color, Gregory Wright and Steve Oliff
Editor, Jannie Wong.
First appearance of err , well everybody !
LT Frank Darling.
Glowbug. ( last appearance as well )
Cousin Fred. ( dies this issue)
Most, if not all of these will play pivotal roles in the issues to come.
Dragon is also shot in the eye and comes off not much worse for the wear, there by establishing he is bullet proof.
It does seem to sting a bit, judging by his reaction.
This issue is 29 pages, for 1.95.
The first thing that you will notice, is that Larsen wastes absolutely no time in throwing the action at us.
Dragon comes flying at the camera and the first ever "superfreak "we ever see on the first page, which is a splash page to boot.
Followed by a spread showing Dragon punching Cutthroat in the face and getting cut himself.
Immediately highlighting the difference between Larsen's Marvel and Image work. Lot's more blood and violence.
The violence is fast and brutal, but not so brutal it belongs in a adult only comic
and the action high octane.
The plotting is fairly simplistic. ( for now )
Plot, story line and motives are all secondary to the action. ( again for now )
Characterisations are simple and come in broad strokes, but they work.
There are no mysterious connections, no brooding.
It's easy to jump in to the world of the Dragon and despite it being a very violent world, with a city over run with super powered beings, it's still a fun place to visit.
The enthusiasm Larsen had for this comic is very obvious, and it just radiates of the page.
Despite the plot being simple, it is rather wordy, but not overly so and it rolls along in a rollicking fast paced ride, but you the reader never get lost.
New characters are introduced left and right, but they all have a role to play either to showcase how bad the situation has become in Chicago.
To set up new characters, or to set up story lines and plot points that will come in to play later.
It's all remarkably cohesive and it's not hard to see how the Dragon became regarded as one of the better early Image books.
This enthusiasm is also evident in the introduction at the back of the book.
Larsen finishes the intro with, "I feel like I am nine years old all over again",
and it shows.
Not because its badly drawn or juvenile, but because the boundless enthusiasm translates on to the page.
Of all the launch titles of Image Comics, this is the one that is for a lack of a better word, the most enthusiastic, the most intense and the most thrilling.
It packs everything all the other Image Comics, wanted to do in one exiting package. And never for one second stops to brood or to let the introductions bog down the storylines.
The story is simple and easy to follow.
The art crisp albeit it slightly cartoony, with the action over the top and even easier to follow.
Essential reading for anybody even remotely interested in The Savage Dragon or early 90's comics.