Wednesday, 13 January 2016

The Savage Dragon 5

The Savage Dragon 5    

Summary:  We open to see Dragon punching Doubleheader's lights out, and Mighty Man flies across the  horizon.
Dragon thinks he saw him, but  reasons with him self it was just a figment of his imagination.
The core of Freak Force, Dart, Barbaric, Horridus and Rapture, are gathered together  in the police station.
Frank keeps avoiding Dragon and captain Stewart tells Dart she cant use her darts anymore. Cesspool the zitman from issue 4,  has pressed charges due to excessive force.  
Just at that moment Mrs Harris storms in to the police station and chews Dragon out. Because she was  questioned about her half hour phone call, with Arnold Dimple. 
When she  storms off again, Rapture asks what that was all about.  

Downtown in the Viscous Circle headquarters, a superfreak with long blue fingernails and  mechanical spiderlegs, lays down the facts that threatening Frank Darling is a useless waste of time.
Overlord rather...disagrees.  

Freak Force and Dragon  are training in the abandoned underground.
Barbaric over reacts when Rapture shocks him and accidentally nearly  kills her. Prompting Dragon to  rescue her, halt the training exercise and proceeds to chew the idiot out.
But  his  dressing down is interrupted by his beeper. 

At the  police station Mrs Schwartzblatt is  looking for her boy Rodney and Frank's house is trashed by a superfreak.  Who is about to brutalise Frank, untill  Dragon  comes in between. 
Frank finally spills his guts and comes clean with Dragon. 
Later on Freak Force has tracked the Annihilators, a dissenting splinter group of freaks from the Viscous Circle, headed by Cyberface  the Vicious Circles former second in command, to their  lair. 
And the battle is joined.

Writer and artist : Erik Larsen
Letters : Chris Eliopolous
Colors : Steve Oliff, Antonia Kohl, Squeeky Zindel
Editor : Jannie Wong.

Notes:  This issue is  17  pages and  is the last issue  with a back up story.

Josh Eichorns title: America's favorite whistling hobo. 

Review : This is the issue  that  introduced a tradition in the  credits page that still stands to this day. 
Actually that is  issue 4, but  he only get mentioned in the credits of the back up story. This is the first  issue  where  it happens in the main credits.
Josh Eichorn, Erik Larsen's assistant  and dogsbody  and whatever else he is, gets his first insulting nickname.
And right now,  23 years later and older, he still has a  new nickname\ title  in each new  issue of the Dragon.
To uphold this proud tradition, each review will  list his title for that issue. 
Whistling hobo's ahoy ! 
But what about issue 5  itself  ?

Well let's find out.
The cover it self is pretty mleh, with Dragon punching out  some random  double headed  guy, in front of a MASSIVE logo. 
And on the front page he is punching out the same guy, who is off course named Doubleheader.
It's a little bit I always thought was funny. 
The cover actually represents a scene from the book. 
This issue is also the one that kicks the long simmering Frank is being blackmailed subplot, in to high gear.
It's been on the background for 5 months now and  more then year if you count  the  mini series from 1992  and it's coming to a head  right here.
The vicious circles demands escalate to the point that they send a superfreak to brutalise Frank and  thrash his house. 
And then finally, Frank  comes clean to Dragon.
If it sounds  like I am exasperated with the storyline, it's not because I am. 
It's just because it is a  long running subplot, that  gets lip service over the past 4 issues and up untill now, there just wasn't much to say about it.
Frank spills his guts, which pretty much reads like a  recap of  the original mini series and all the issues up till now. Making issue 5 quite the new reader friendly. 
It's dense and skips over a lot of things, but it gets the main points across.
The Vicious Circle wants Frank to do something about freak force, but he is in no position to do anything about it and the Viscous Circle  isn't in a mood to listen.   
Unsurprisingly Dragon, doesn't plan to leave the force because in his own words its all he has got, which is true enough.
Dragon also surmises that Frank's career is  as good as over, and that the best  thing for him to do, is to disappear .
Exactly how, they plan to make Frank disappear we will find out soon enough. 
Dragon does however harbor no ill will, towards Frank despite being manipulated and lied too. 
Dragon has his faults but harbouring grudges isn't one of them apparently, he is still willing to help Frank  no matter what.

We also get to see Overlord, lording the Vicious Circle around and disintegrating one of his underlings, for daring to talk back to him.
Unfortunately, the underling had more then enough good points about Frank Darling,  being in no position to do anything and threatening him is a big waste of time. 
This sets Overlord up as the Darth Vader school of leadership. 
Make a mistake and  you are dead. 
But it also shows he is arrogant, petty and unwilling to listen to anybody but himself.
It's not much and pretty much a dime in a dozen of evil criminal  err overlords. 
But it's something other then  having Overlord muhahahahing, how he is over and lord and lording it over Chicago.
This issue also  touched upon  other subplots.
Dart gets in to trouble about using her darts on zitman in issue 4,  as it's considered excessive force. 
And Mrs Harris storms in to the police station, incensed that Dragon's cops buddies had the nerve  to  interrogate her.
Which prompts Dragon to give Rapture another condensed history of what happened with Debbie. 
Unfortunately, Mrs Harris portrayal steadily is eroding the initial sympathy you'd feel for her. Because she keeps irrationally blaming Dragon for the death of her daughter.
People do irrational things in their grief, but this comic book trope  of blaming the titular hero for your own mistakes, is particularly galling  with the Dragon. Especially since it was at best, an accident and at worst she enticed Dimple to head over to Dragon's apartment. 
Either way, there was nothing Dragon could have done.
And the way  this title  generally  bends clichés and conventions, it's a bit disappointing to see this one cropping up  

Speaking of long running subplots, not Aunt May err  Mrs Schwartzblatt, decided to turn up to the police station but Dragon is out  !
Drat !
I swear though, she  looks  like Aunt May, the  way  Erik Larsen drew her, just with glasses on.
 This is one of the last times I will  actually mention this subplot, until oh say issue 11 or  14. 
But for now  the question if  Dragon actually is Rodney or not, is still up in the air. 

After painstakingly building  them up and pulling characters left and right, this issue also  ees Freak Force's inaugural appearance, as a whole. 
...Mostly,  Superpatriot and Mighty Man are  absent for now, but the core is here.
Dart, Barbaric, Horridus, Ricochet on the peripheral and lastly and  in the most  ridiculously skimpy costume yet, Rapture. 
Rapture will come to play  quite a large part in this series, but right now she is all skin tight skimpy outfits, cleavage, flirting with Dragon and electric powers.
Rapture was actually introduced in the back up story of Savage Dragon 4, but this is where she makes her proper debut  both written and drawn by Larsen. 
We also learn that Barbaric is an idiot and he will always remain an idiot  over the course of the series.

 And has a bit of a temper problem. 
Shown during a training session when Rapture  shocks him and throws half a wall at her.  Forcing Dragon to save her and berate the idiot. 
Sadly Barbaric never becomes too effective in the course of the series, and I always roll my eyes when he shows up. 
Issue 5  kicks  off  a 3 parter to stitch up several  long running subplots.
Introduces Rapture, Freak Force and is  new reader friendly, what's not to like about it  ?
Other then the bloody awfull uninspired cover. 

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