Writer/Artist: Erik Larsen
Publisher: Image Comics
I’ll admit, I was an original Image kid. When Image Comics debuted back in the 90’s, I bought every single comic-book they published for several years. It didn’t matter if I was even interested in comic or not, if it had that Image “i” on the cover, I bought it. Eventually I wised up, and became more discerning. But one of the comics that I stuck with the longest was Erik Larsen’s The Savage Dragon. From the first miniseries, to the ongoing series, it was one of my favorite comics. I stopped buying it around #79, when Larsen transferred Dragon to a parallel Earth. I wasn’t interested in the new direction, and stopped buying it. Although I would check out the series now and then, the very last issue I bought was #145, the 2nd issue Larsen did that had President Barack Obama on the cover.
But that was just for the novelty of the cover. I haven’t read it since. But I always admired that Larsen stuck with this title, unlike all the other Image founders. He always made it clear that this was his dream job, he’d created the character of Dragon as a wee lad, and it was his dream to draw his own comic with this character, and that’s what he intended to do. And one of the unique things about this title is that time passes, the characters get older, unlike in mainstream superhero comics. And Larsen always said that his eventual plan was for Dragon’s son to take over as the main character someday. Well, that day is here. I read on some website that with Savage Dragon #193, published yesterday, Dragon’s teenage son Malcolm was now the official star, and this would be a good “jumping on point,” for new and lapsed readers. So I decided to take a chance and get this book. And let’s see if it’s really friendly towards new readers.
And for the record, the reason I put this post in the Black Comic-Book category is because Malcolm is actually half-Black, his mother being the deceased super-heroine Rapture.
So this is a “Black” comic now. 🙂
Anyway, the story begins with a flashback that shows that Malcolm inherited his mother’s electric powers in addition to his father’s strength. We’re not given any details here, but Dragon is in jail for some kind of crime, and mentions being powerless. There’s a scene where Malcolm visits him in prison, and Dragon is still green with the fin on his head, but he is built like a normal man now, not big an muscular like he used to be. Malcolm is actually much bigger than him. There’s also something about Dragon fertilizing eggs to repopulate an alien race…whatever. But Malcolm is just about 15 years old I guess, because he’s starting a new High School as a sophomore. He’s living by himself in a new small apartment that he just moved into, supporting himself by doing bounty hunter work, catching super criminals that the police can’t handle. We see Malcolm adjusting to his first day at school, where he’s swamped with attention from the other students, including the girls, who all want to touch his skin and ask him questions, several girls even ask him out on dates. And guys want to hang out with him, just to attract girls. One girl even tries to follow him home after school. Larsen does a good job of showing how Malcolm doesn’t appreciate all this, because he feels like they’re just treating him like a sideshow, not as a real person. And another reason Malcolm rejects the advances of the girls is he says he has a girlfriend, whom we don’t see in this issue, but she’s Chinese and her parents don’t want her to see Malcolm because he’s, well, half-Black and half-Green.
After school we see Malcolm in action, as he’s called in by the police to take down a monster called Tantrum, whom I won’t describe, you’ll have to see it for yourself. That’s one thing I always liked about Erik Larsen, he came up with some truly unique villains in this title, and he clearly hasn’t lost a step. And the same goes for his artwork, which I’ve always enjoyed. He’s just as good as ever. Overall, this was a pretty good first issue. No, not all questions about what’s gone on recently were filled-in, but I got enough info to just go with it. Malcolm isn’t written like a typical “teenage superhero”, he seems like a real kid who has gone through a lot in his short lifetime, losing both parents and being forced to strike out on his own. I can’t say that I’m definitely back to being a regular reader just yet, but I will plan to buy the next issue, and see where this goes.
P.S. for another opinion of this book, fill free to check out Samax’ blog:
Half-black, half-Dragon, ALL SAVAGE!!!! Or something like that…