Sunday, 1 November 2015

The Savage Dragon Mini Series 1 of 3

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. 

Credits :
Story\Art\ Ink\ Erik Larsen 
Letterer, Chris Eliopolous
Color, Gregory Wright and Steve Oliff
Editor, Jannie Wong.

Notes :
First appearance of err , well everybody ! 
Dragon, himself. 
LT Frank Darling.
Mildred Darling.
Glowbug.  (  last appearance as well  )
Cousin Fred.  ( dies this  issue)
Alex Wylde. 
Amanda Payne.
And, Star.
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.  

Review :
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. 

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