The Savage Dragon Issue 13.
Issue 13 opens with Dragon in the hospital getting those bite wounds, he got from issue 12 checked out.
Where he is roused by his partner to check out a Cyberface sighting in the underground.
As he leaves, he briefly meets with Peter Klaptin, before rushing off.
In the mean time, The Fiend makes an offer to Mrs Harris she can't refuse.
And both Freak Force and The Wildcats go at it.
Down in the underground Dragon goes down alone and meets up with Star, who just happens to be there.
After a short and terse stand off between Dragon, Star and some of the super freaks, who live in the underground. More level heads prevail and dragon is allowed by the nominal leader Rock, to search the premises.
He ends up finding nothing.
Just then he is called in to deal with the fight between two super teams
and he deals with it rather easily. ( and amusingly)
Finally Mighty Man revels his secret identity to Dragon.
Writer\Artist\Inker : Erik Larsen
Letters : Chris Eliopolous
Colors : Reuben Rude and Antonia Kohl
Editor : Jannie Wong
Josh Eichorn Title : Uproariously Unfunny.
Notes : This is the second issue 13. It was released seven months after the first issue 13, along side Savage Dragon 20, in June 1995.
For clarifications sake, the review will be referring to the June 95 13 as 13B.
Savage dragon 13 is a bit of an odd one.
In that there are two issue 13's.
Originally, the first issue 13 hit during Image cross over month.
Which was a gimmick month where all the Image creators switched books.
Larsen did Wildcats.
Jim Lee ended up on The Savage Dragon.
Jim Valentino ended up with Youngblood, ( and credit to him actually produced a decent issue, in an otherwise dire series. )
While Marc Silvestri ended up on Spawn. ( I have no idea what McFarlane did in the crossover month)
And here lies the problem, while the art in the Jim Lee issue 13 is perfectly serviceable, the story is not.
It basically turns in to the Grifter show, with Dragon himself being turned in to a guest star in his own book.
And this isn't exactly in the spirit of the crossover month, nor what we Savage Dragon readers wanted to read.
Erik seemed to agree. because it seemed to stick in his craw, 7 months later he released his own issue 13. This issue 13B, along side issue 20.
Another reason he gave for releasing his own issue 13, was because he wanted to have a full run on his title.
From beginning to end and considering Larsen is still writing and drawing The Savage Dragon as of today and has written and drawn every issue, he seemed to have made the right call.
That is the issue 13 I will be reviewing today.
The Lee issue 13 is not on the table at all. It's a diversion, a tangent at best a poor showing for the crossover at worst.
Issue 13 B also shows us the first meeting between Peter Klaptin and Dragon. And again shows us that something isn't quite right there.
And later on we meet Star in the underground, what a coincidence !
The underground from issue 1 is also back and it introduces us to a group of homeless superfreaks. Who will later on will become major secondary characters ( isn't that a contridictionary in terms ? )
Including Widow, Rock, Beast Boy and Radical.
There will be others and mostly they are just here to set up their re apperances later on in the series.
But more importantly The Fiend meets Mrs Harris and she agrees to bonding with him.
This is the first step of her becoming a deadly thorn in Dragon's side that springs on him at the most inopportune moments, from now untill issue 32.
And her first previous appearance as the Fiend in issue 18, with out this issue kinda came out of bloody nowhere.
Speaking of mrs Harris, she understandably really let herself go. ( though that spandex is a bit un becoming. )
But it's her unreasonable personality that drains away every little bit of sympathy, the reader may have had for her, permanently.
she still blames Dragon for the death of her daughter, even though he had nothing to do with it.
And its starting to become a bit irritating.
Mrs Harris is a broken record that never changes her tune and for this series, she is a rather disappointing one note character, that blames her own mistakes on the main character.
As the super hero comics, the image creators tore away from, are wont to do.
Even worse is that she will be around for a while and her one note personality and motivation will really start to grate by then.
The crossover between Freak Force and The Wildcats comes a bit out of left field and it's off course a fight because of mistaken identity.
What is unusual however, is that Dragon walks on the battle field and more or less asks Grifter what the hell they are doing.
Before Grifter admits they screwed up and calls his team off.
Which is a much better resolution then the usual. This isn't the first time Larsen poked fun at forced fights in crossovers though.
He did it in Marvel Comics Presents 48-50 and again in Savage Dragon mini series 3.
This crossover however is a lot better then the original issue 13, because neither side comes off better.
Each team is in character and none come off worse for the wear.
But issue 13B isn't even done there yet.
It clears up a mystery which has been hanging around for a while now.
And while its not a huge mystery, it is time for it to be cleared up.
The new Mighty Man turns out to be nurse Ann Stevens.
Yup, I am not joking.
Issue 13B is one of the best Savage Dragon issues there is.
It manages to be a segue between 12 and 13. A crossover as well as several set up's introductions and mysteries revealed and a lead in to issue 14 and it manages to do all this seamlessly 7 month later.
In other words : this is what issue 13A should have looked like.
If you didn't know about it you wouldn't noticed it or missed 13 at all.
But now that its here, its a key part of the on going Dragon series and unmissable.
This is how you do a crossover while not diminishing the main character or the visiting characters and with out grinding the ongoing plots to a halt.
issue 13B reads a bit disjointedly, but that's normal for this series, which tends to jump all over the place.
Recommended reading after the poor showing of 8, 9 and 10, the series is back on track.
Also Larsen answered a few common questions about Dragon's background in the letters page which you can find here >>