Tuesday, 2 February 2016

The Savage Dragon 8

The Savage Dragon 8  

Summary  :

Dragon  spends  an undisclosed amount of time, impaled on the  church spire before he manages to work himself off it, in silence and then disappears  in the  alleys below.
When he is finally found, it's unfortunately not by  any of his friends or colleagues but by Hellrazor and Cutthroat. 
Whom still  have  a score to settle with  Dragon.  

Credits :
Writer\Artist : Erik Larsen
Letters:  Chris Eliopolous
Colors: Reuben Rude
Editor : Jannie Wong

Josh Eichorn title : Welfare Mother 

Notes :
The letter page has a  heartfelt eulogy by Erik Larsen about the passing of Jack Kirby on 6  Feb 1994.
This issue was released in march  1994.
February was skipped, presumably out of respect for Kirby. but  this was never clarified or even mentioned. 

Review :

Surprise Dragon isn't dead  ! 
Yeah not much of a surprise considering the title has been running for  23  years and is now at  212 or so. 
But back in 1994, anything was possible especially because Larsen seemed to be willing to  go in to any direction and Frank was killed off in  issue  7. 
If not even Frank is save, who is  ?
And the extent of Dragon's healing abilities have not yet been established. 
The comic does take its sweet time to get going though and  devotes 5 silent pages to  showing how Dragon  hoists himself of the spike.  And falls down  the roof in the snow in excruciating detail.
Before it launches in to the next  new subplot. 
Frank is alive and well  and on a plane  ! 
This is another long simmering  plotline, that like the previous Frank subplot, won't linger too long and overstay its welcome. 
Right now however, it's a what the hell moment. 

The officer Dragon is missing establishing shot, followed by  half a page of  his colleagues talking.  Is a framing device and an establishing shot Larsen will reuse countless times. At least all the way up to issue 52 or somewhere in that region, 
and I am sure he has reused it  after that too. 
There will also be a gradual tonal shift in this set up, but we will discuss that as we get there.
Right now, Dragon and Frank are missing and presumed dead  nobody has any inclination where they could be and it's all doom and gloom.
The news reporter plot device is also back, but this time with the twist of showing  people responding to the news as well. 
Not Aunt May, err Mrs Schwartzblatt is sitting tearfully in her hotel room. 
Mrs Harris is a bit too pleased with her self about the news. 
And we find out that Freak Force has been assisting the police. 
The news also name drops Mace, a character who will be  important in the upcoming  issues and not Jameson get's a mention too. 
These two  pages  are mostly set up to  show the  ongoing  subplots or introduce new ones. Just as issue 4 did, before we jump back to Dragon's plight back in the alleyways. 
But here is the problem.  

The comic established that it's been two weeks. 
I doubt Dragon has been dangling off  the  spire of a building, as a gaudy green christmas decoration for two weeks, but he has been lying around in alleyways for two weeks. 
And in that time nobody saw or found him  ?!
He is a green cop with a fin on his head  and a huge upperbody. He isn't  exactly inconspicuous. 
And how exactly did he keep himself alive during these two weeks  ?
It's obvious that  time has passed for Dragon as well, he managed to bandage what is left of his wrist and is developing a beard. 
But other then that, he hasn't even managed to build himself a shelter or anything.
How is he still alive after 2 weeks of nothing ?
Because the comic doesn't make it  clear. 
And Yes, I know this might be a nitpick, but  it would be easier to believe he could survive in an alleyway in the middle of a snowstorm, for a few days not two weeks. 
And off course when he is finally found, it's by Cutthroat and Hellrazor ...brilliant.  

Let's talk  about Dragon's colleagues for a bit because so far I haven't mentioned any of them very much.
After two weeks they  finally decide  to  get offa their asses and actually look for him. 
Another problem with the two week time frame, it makes his colleagues look lazy and irresponsible.

Of all the people  to  put a search party together, I wouldn't have expected Howard Niseman to  be the one. 
He is a blowhard, a braggart. A bigot and a racist, but at times he  does show that he  can be  half decent human being.
Just don't expect it too often. He is prejudiced against the freaks and isn't especially fond of  other minorities groups either. 
William Johnson, I don't have much to  say about him at this point to be honest. Right now he doesn't have much of a personality, other then laid back go getter.  He will develop more of a personality later on, but right now like Rita and Phil he is just background.
Speaking of Rita. 
Rita Metermaide that is, ..yes seriously.Other then her name  and cleavage to make your back ache, Rita is again not much of a character. Other then supportive of Dragon. 
Later issues will reveal that she is  deeply insecure about her self  and her capability to hold a relation. 
And finally Phil Dirt, there is a pun in there that I am sure eludes me. 
Phil is gay and Larsen wisely chooses not to  make an issue about this or make Phil, other then his  possible punny name, overly flamboyant or turn him in to a gay stereotype. 
He has a crush on Dragon and other then Niseman's typical reaction you could expect  from a character like him, nothing more is made of that.
And that great as far as I am concerned. Phil is gay and he is not defined by him being gay.
It doesn't define his personality  he is a police officer that happens to be gay and the comic doesn't dwell on it or beat you over the head with it.  

Back to Dragon himself. 
Cutthroat and Hellrazor,  no coincidence I am sure, that they find him considering Cutthroat is the first superfreak Dragon took out. And Hellrazor  nearly killed him  at the end of issue 2 of the original mini,  continue to rough Dragon up until he decides to fight back. 
And how easily he deals with the pair of them, -shattering Cutthroat's blade and breaking his leg and wrapping Hellrazor in the tatters of his  coat before punching his lights out-  makes  you wonder why he even ran in  the first place. 

But we go back to the two week time frame and  then things start to unravel.  
Dragon fights pretty good  for a half dead, starving, possibly dehydrated man. 
He is even able to take multiple slashes from Hellrazor to the face and chest, before he  collapses again. 
His hand is mangled, his wrist still a bloody stump and the hole in his chest is stil there.
And if Dragon is able to take on two superfreaks,  (  adrenaline rush off course not withstanding)  why was he content to lie in the snow and not seek help on his own or at least get out of that alleyway, and stagger to a police station or  ER ?  

After Dragon collapses again,  it's Rapture that finds him,  being sensible enough to at least wear a coat  and some pants in this weather. 
How the hell did she find him ? We didn't even see her or Freak Force starting a search. 
Eh comics I suppose ? 

Issue 8  is a decent read and it awnsers the question about Dragon's survival.  ( Off course he is still alive. It's his name on the book. )  But the narrative starts to strain  under the two week time frame and  it all comes apart when you think about it too much.
Two weeks is too damn long, especially when you consider the ease with which Hellrazor Cutthroat and eventually Rapture find him. 
Should have been 5 days at best.  
The issue it self is perfectly fine, it's just the two weeks time frame that makes the story problematic.
But they can't all be winners. 
On to issue 9.    



  1. FIVE PAGES to extricate himself from that spire? That's ridiculous.

    Also, I thought Frank was still alive. Interesting.

    1. Well the story is a bit light in issue 8 to be honest.
      Though its nothing compared to the 8 pages of lunacy in, I Hate Fairyland 3.
      But I am sure that one was entirely on purpose.

      Savage Dragon 8 is a bit of a misfire in my opinion, mostly because the time scale doesn't work.