Review: Savage Dragon #228

Review: Savage Dragon #228

There was a review of this comic that I read recently somewhere else, that focused on Erik Larsen’s new focus on the sex life of Malcolm Dragon, the son of the original Savage Dragon. It’s not actually that new, as it’s been a major plot point for a couple of years. I decided that I’d give the issue in question a shot and see what I thought of it. Needless to say, this issue deals with some graphic depictions of adult situations and as such, this review will be dealing with some more mature topics.

Previously, expressing my opinions about this title got me lumped in with other reviewers, coloring my relatively positive review with overly critical ones. I urge all of you to take each review on its own and if you feel compelled to read the issue. or already have read it, form your own opinions. Ultimately, all a review is is one person’s opinions. I try to keep mine based on my education in sequential art under some extremely talented artists and writers, but welcome the possibility that your opinions will differ from mine.

SAVAGE DRAGON #228

Story / Art / Cover: Erik Larsen
Published: November 22, 2017
$3.99

Solicitation:
“OH! CANADA!” Part Two Relocated to the Great White North, Dragon faces a number of new challenges: a new job, a new home, a new life, and the return of the enigmatic villain, the Seeker. At long last—all of his secrets are revealed! This one comes with our highest possible recommendation!

Review:
There is a story here, as Malcolm, Maxine and their family try to adjust to their new life in Canada. From the opening, the story is easy to follow and just drop into the middle. In the 25 years since starting Savage Dragon, Erik Larsen has gotten very good at episodic storytelling. His writing and characters are consistent, but show growth. I do worry about how healthy Malcolm and Maxine’s relationship is, and hope sincerely that it gets addressed, rather than being some kinky status quo that adds sexuality to a super-hero comic. Addressing this could add more depth to Maxine’s character. Every time I’ve seen it brought up, it has become the defining aspect of her personality, and I’d much rather see her be more than a NC-17 punchline.

Erik Larsen’s art is, as ever, stylistic, and consistent in the artistic license he takes in terms of rendering and storytelling. I appreciate his inclusion in the back of the comic of his very early work. It should be reassuring to young artists to see what years of practice can do. The legacy of Savage Dragon is what one creator can do strictly by showing up issue after issue to craft a story about characters. Malcolm and his supporting cast seem a lot more real than a lot of comic book characters out there, and much of that is owed to the care that goes into keeping their representation consistent, both visually and within their place in the story.

As far as this issue goes, I didn’t care for the sex scenes, as they went a little too graphic for my tastes. I respect that this is where Erik Larsen wants to go with his book, and being creator-owned, he has every right to do so. As I mentioned, I hope that it has a payoff rather than just being there for its own sake. I also don’t feel very good about the meta elements worked into the battle with the Seeker. They don’t distract too much from the story, but it’s an element that I don’t recall being used before in Savage Dragon, so it begins to strain that consistency element. A mention is made of merging multiple Earths elsewhere in the book, and the meta element could be a side effect of that happening. I reserve the right to pass judgement on it later. Erik Larsen has a way of building things up for a payoff, even if they happen in just one page of story later on, rather than a long, drawn-out story.

Erik Larsen eschewing the tropes and conventions of super-hero comic books makes for a refreshing read. 

Final rating: 7.7 (out of 10)

Preview Pages:

(Preview Pages taken from Image Comics’ web site)