Thursday, 24 December 2015

The Savage Dragon 2 Review

The Savage Dragon 2 

Summary :
Dart  walks in to the  police station, much to the consternation of  most male  officers because of her ahem, provocative clothes. Until Alex  asks her who she is and what the hell she is up to. 
Dart informs her that  she is her by request of  Captain Stewart  to help Dragon. 
It doesn't take long before an alarm goes off, Dragon is out of town  and the super freaks  are only too happy with that. 
In New York Dragon is getting jumped by the TMNT. 
According to his narration he doesn't  like New York, but he is in New York because a gargoyle has been whizzing away old ladies and for some reason he got called in. 
After a  short scuffle and a tumble of  the top of a building, Dragon  calls it quits and  threats to arrest  the Turtles, who recognise him as that Dragon cop. 
After that, they reconcile, compare notes and decide to go after the gargoyle together.  The usual  crossover beats in other words  

Not long after the  gargoyle shows up and it's indeed a stone gargoyle. 
The Turtles prove to be  enthusiastic, if a tad ineffective against a huge stone gargoyle. 
Until Dragon  loses his patience and hits it so hard  it explodes.  

Back in Dekalb Illinois, a neighbourhood boy  gets the shock of his life as he finds two decomposing bodies in the kitchen.  

Notes :
First appearance of Dart. 
Part 1 of a crossover with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. 
First appearance of the TMNT in the Image universe.
The original Mirage incarnation of the TMNT all had red bandana's. The colored  versions were an invention of the 87 cartoon and adopted for most subsequent non Mirage turtles.   
First solo back up story of  a secondary character.
First appearance of Vanguard in an Image comic. 
Star loses his  hair in a fire. 
For those interested in  knowing  what happens next, there is a summary and review of the TMNT side of things over here on TMNT entity. TMNT Entity TMNT/Savage Dragon Review

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


This is an odd issue. A very, very, very odd issue. 
It's a complete  180 degrees reversal  from issue 1.
It's the first part of a  crossover  with the TMNT, which is a strange thing to do for an second issue of a on going series. 
It's also 52  pages  long  and Dragon's story is only 22 pages or so of  those 52 pages.
The other  30 pages are  given to a Star solo story pin up's  and a Vanguard issue 0.  (  Issue zero's were all the rage  at the time. )
I will not review these, just the Dragon part of the comic.
And despite the oddness and the fact that this set up would have worked better as the first issue, it still does work. 
It kind of feels like a soft reboot, after the abysmal and depressing first issue and maybe that was the point. That Larsen knew he had gone a bit too far with Dragon's  characterisation and toned things down a bit. 
The crossover it self is a bit out of left field though, but it doesn't take any time to set up  or explain it self.
Dragon is in New York, narrates how much he dislikes New York, because there are too many crazies.
The Turtles attack him cause he is green and must be the gargoyle man, which gets the  prerequisite brawl between the heroes out of the way. 
They then  team up  to deal with the actual gargoyle, Dragon and the TMNT stand around on a roof talking about it.
And that's it.  

It's never explained how or why. It's part 1 of a crossover that continues in to a Mirage TMNT one shot, but I don't have that one shot.
As a result the main Dragon plot comes over as somewhat limp and inconsequential. For a 52 page comic there isn't a whole lot of the main character in there. 
The crossover it self  hits the usual beats, so I won't even go in to that. 
The comic wastes no time  with getting  the players in to  position, by having the TMNT  attack the moment it switches to Dragon.
The turtles are a bit mischaracterised as being  impulsive and prone to arguing among themselves.
And while they are teenagers and this is natural for teenagers, none of their  individual characteristics shine through, which basically all makes them Raphael.  

So the issue  is a mess of  crossover cliché's 
The story is shallow and  despite the main Dragon plotline getting the majority of the pages, not a whole lot  actually happens in them. 
What makes this a decent issue then  ?
The back up  stories.  ( which I won't cover here  ) 
And the subplots. 
Larsen is one of the few Image founders who doesn't  immediately start  with a fully rounded team, but  is more interested in  slowly building his team up and  introduce his  characters more gradually.
Which is a bit at odds with the manic pace and action set pieces of  the main comics so far, but the juxtaposition works.
The mini series introduced us the idea of Mightyman, but never showed him to us,  followed by Superpatriot. 
Issue 1 introduced us to Barbaric and Ricochet. 
Issue 2  introduces us to Dart and Dart is a character we will see a lot of in the  coming  50 or so issues. 
Cant really say much about her costume, except that its pure  90's.  

The Dekalb subplot also gets another page, the bodies have been found but we still aren't any closer to any awnsers. 

Of the two  back up stories only the Star one is relevant to the Dragon.  ( for now )
The other one is a lead in to the Vanguard  6 isue mini series, with a  guest apperance fo Rob Liefeld's Supreme.   
The Star short  mostly consists  of  Star battling  with Inferno in a  burning building and  getting his long hair set on fire. 
This is an important plot point, which we will get to eventually
And almost,  if not more so important Dragon's characterisation. 
He has pulled himself together and isn't a green bully with a fin on his head, spoiling for fights anymore. 
The sullen surly broken man from issue 1 is gone.
And all that  makes  issue 2 worthwhile, it's a soft reboot.    
So with an crossover and an inconsequential hollow main story and two back up stories.   Issue 2 is  that rarest of rarity's  a completely inconsequential, important soft reboot that gets the story going, while spinning it's wheels. 
Issue 2  is  necessary, but hardly the best Dragon issue around. 
It's still better then 1 though. 


  1. Wow, I didn't realize the Dragon's association with the Turtles went back this far! I recall they had a separate crossover one-shot or mini-series a few years later, and I know Larsen was partly responsible for their Image series, but I was unaware of this crossover. Cool.

    1. Larsen and Dooney were good friends and when the opportunity presented it self to do a crossover in 93 with the ongoing Dragon series, they just went for it.
      They had no idea what to do, they just wanted to draw each others characters. which is why the story is so ....flat.
      When I get my hands on the TMNT part of the crossover, I will probably review it for myself.

      Virago apparently returns in Dragon 210.
      Larsen was the editor of the Image Comics TMNT series which ran for 23 issues,
      and ended on a cliffhanger. Issues 24 and 25 were published independently by superfan Andrew Modeen, with the creators blessings.
      They even had a cover by Frank Fosco ( the series artist)
      It's a glorious testament to what fans can and will do for something they love:

      This crossover however, is probably what got the TMNT move to Image in motion.
      Mirage returned to the TMNT in 2001 with v4 and Peter Laird writing the comic. He removed v3 from canon.

    2. Yeah, I read all of Not Blog X's reviews of the Image TMNT series. Pretty cool that they got it finished independently.

      As I understand it these days, Kevin Eastman now writes TMNT at IDW. I wonder if he disregarded Laird's run to do his own thing. It would be pretty cool to have two separate runs, one by Eastman and one by Laird, splitting off into parallel universes from the original Mirage series.

    3. Eastman is a co plotter actually, Tom Waltz is the main writer.
      The IDW series is it's own series and kind of an Ultimate universe mishmash, in that it takes elements from other series and runs with it in a direction of it's own.

      It's a bit slow going though and IDW hasn't learned much from Transformers, in that the there are still one shots and mini series all over the place. Which are pretty much mandatory to understand the ongoing story.

      Laird still has the right to publish up to 15 comics a year. So he could finish v4, but he released 2 issues in 5 years and v4 is on "hiatus".