Writer/Artist: Erik Larsen
Publisher: Image Comics
Previously: SAVAGE DRAGON #193
This is a pretty action-packed issue, which fits the new status quo of Malcolm Dragon’s life. He’s trying his best to support himself (by working “off the books” for the police, catching super freaks) and go to school, but he can barely catch his breath without trouble following him. The story starts with what’s either a dream sequence or a flashback (I’m not sure since, as I said last time, I hadn’t read this book for years) of a younger Malcolm watching his mother, Rapture, getting killed while helping a bunch of other superheroes, including Mighty Man and Super Patriot, fight an army of giant demons. But then he’s immediately introduced to an alternate version of his mother from a parallel reality. I’m not sure what that’s all about, other than perhaps to establish Malcolm’s parentage, establishing where Malcolm gets his lighting powers from, as we cut back to the present where Malcolm is fighting a crazed super freak named Torment. One thing Larsen always particularly excelled in this title back when I was originally reading it was in creating memorable villains for Dragon to fight. And with Torment, it’s proven that Larsen hasn’t lost his touch. I’m not even going to try to describe this character, you just have to see him for yourself. Anyway, he and Malcolm have a brutal fist fight on top of some buildings, until Torment escapes.
Malcolm goes back to his apartment to shower and then do his homework, but is interrupted when a friend of his from school, Lamarr suddenly shows up with three teenage girls, all of whom have got the hots for Malcolm and treat him like he’s some kind of star. Malcolm is annoyed by all of this, he mentions his girlfriend, and just wants everyone to leave. But then Torment shows up again, having followed Malcolm home. During the ensuing fight one of the girls is killed, and that drives Malcolm to fully unload on the freak. Even when beaten Torment taunts Malcolm with threats of coming back to kill him and everyone he cares about, so Malcolm appears to use his lighting powers to take care of Torment permanently (if ya know what I mean).
Ooh, now that’s something his dad wouldn’t approve of.
Like I said, action-packed, but with just the right amount of dramatic tension. I’m definitely interested in seeing the consequences of Malcolm’s apparent actions here. Two issues in I think I’m ready to officially declare myself a Savage Dragon reader again. And there’s also some bonus material included. There’s a 5-page story written by Gavin Higginbotham and drawn by Scott James called DATE NIGHT, which features two of Larsen’s other characters, Barbaric and Ricochet, whom I remember from the old FREAK FORCE series. According to the dialog on the front page a lot has changed for these two since I last read about them. They’re married with three kids and have been starring in a TV children’s show, which just got canceled. So they’re trying to figure out what to do next, when they just so happen to come across a museum that is being robbed by a supervillain named Killcrazy, who we first see shooting a woman in the head. Barbaric and Ricochet leap into action…I won’t spoil the ending, but it looks like they’ll be having more superheroic adventures soon. This was a nice little story, well-written and drawn.
There’s also two pages of 6 different short comic-strips. But none of them really stood out to me, I have to say. Still, all in all, this issue is a nice package of content, worth buying.