Writer and artist: Erik Larsen
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Colors: Nikos Koutis
Publisher: Image Comics
PREVIOUSLY: SAVAGE DRAGON #197
First, yes this review is several weeks late, but better late than never, right? And you may or may not have noticed that I’ve now placed these reviews in their own separate category, as opposed to placing them in Black Comic-Books like I used to, and that’s because at this point it is safe to say that I am once again firmly addicted to this series, it’s reached new life ever since Malcolm took over the lead role, and plan to keep buying Savage Dragon for the foreseeable future (which I hope is a long time).
Anyway, I’ll keep this as short as possible. Larsen is continuing his tradition of putting our hero in non-stop crisis-management mode. Malcolm has recovered from his wounds from last issue, albeit with the loss of his electrical powers (which I still think was a mistake) and quickly finds himself in the middle of an all-out war between several subterranean races of monsters including ant-people, fire-breathing volcano-people, and trolls, all the while trying to begin his Senior year of High School and the fact that his girlfriend Maxine has finally had enough of her parents meddling in her love life and has run away from home to come live with him. Action! Romance! Drama! It’s all here, wrapped up in Erik Larsen’s unique style of art. I was very impressed, and don’t really have any complaints. There’s also some nice flashbacks to when Malcolm was in 6th grade and his step-sister Angel first introduced him to Maxine. I enjoy the trips down memory lane as they provide some great insight into the characters. There’s also an ongoing subplot with a police office named Frank who has befriended Malcolm with the secret intent of convincing him to join the police force when he graduates from High School. That does seem like the logical route for Malcolm to take…which is why I suspect that Larsen has something entirely different planned. We’ll see (as another benefit of this title is that the characters age in “real time,” so Malcolm will be an adult in about a year).
Also included is a 5-page Vanguard story, written by Gary Carlson and drawn by Frank Fosco, continuing his adventure from last issue but, as I said before, I’m not particularly interested in that character. Plus the usual batch of comic-strips MISERY LOVES SHERMAN by Chris Eliopoulos, AVERAGE DRAGON by Simon Mallette St. Pierre, KNIGHT WATCHMAN by Mckenzie/Hansel/Carlson/Rodgers, and a new one called VAMPIRE SNACKTIME by Brandon B. I do appreciate that Larsen includes these extra stories and strips in this book, along with his traditional letters-page, to try to give the fans as much value for your money as possible. But I say it’s already worth the $3.99 just based on the main story alone.