COVID-19 impacts everyone... Malcolm and Maxine Dragon, their kids, and everyone else included. Days go by, and the minutia of isolation and social distancing affect everyone. But bad guys get bored too...
Malcolm holds his own while desperately trying to protect his wife...
...and their kids quickly get in on the fun, too!
Don't think that means the action is for the faint-hearted, though! And with more back-up features than you can shake a green severed limb at, this is an anniversary extravaganza for the ages!
IT'S SAVAGE DRAGON #250... WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?!
Folks, Savage Dragon #250 has arrived at last… and boy, is it worth the wait! $9.99 might be a price tag some scoff at, but maestro Erik Larsen makes sure everyone gets their money’s worth – and then some. 100 pages of brand-new material plus some rare reprints from Dragon’s original indie run in the early ’80s… there’s no filler here. Just killer.
Last issue, Larsen made waves by authoring the first comic to directly address the COVID-19 pandemic. This month, he doubles down, giving readers a glimpse into the locked-down, socially-distanced lives of Malcolm and Maxine Dragon. In a sense, it’s a slice of life featurette that could have been boring, because in a lot of ways, not much happens. But that’s the brilliance of it: Malcolm and Maxine are experiencing life just like the rest of us here in the real world, the highs and lows, small victories, occasional defeats and yearning for life to get back to the way it was; keeping in touch with friends and family via phone, and struggling with isolation. (And having lots and lots and lots and LOTS of sex.) There’s a particularly inspired page that directly deals with the fact that Savage Dragon happens in real time, and thus must reflect current events – and, well, his current dull existence makes for an uninspired comic for his biographical publishers. But what’s dull for fictional comics creators was clearly a hoot and a half for Larsen to conjure up, and directly speak to the challenges he, as a creator, had to work through to produce this timely comic.
But it’s not all day-to-day doldrums and checking in with old friends (which is in and of itself a great exercise in continuity upkeep, reminding longtime readers that yes, a whole mess of the characters from Larsen’s ever-expanding and 28-years-deep universe are still kicking around). There’s a fantastic action sequence that rounds out the lead story, as the children of some of Dragon Sr.’s old Vicious Circle foes come a’callin’ for a beatdown – er, throwdown. It’s already a fairly one-sided fight, but once the Dragon kids get in on the brawl, the ballgame completely changes due to their youth and inexperience. The stakes change, and not in the way readers might be expecting. It’s a huge signal for where this book will be headed in the next decade, as the third generation of the Dragon family steps up to the plate to wallop some baddies.
Artistically, Larsen is stronger than ever, without showing any signs of slowing down. His style remains a hyper-kinetic, uber-sexualized platonic ideal hybrid of Kirby and Simonson that leaps right off the page, fists a-flyin’, bones breaking, blood spattering, and sexytime – uh, happenin’. (A LOT.) Upon reflection, I was off the mark with my assessment of Nikos Koutsis and Mike Toris’ colors last issue – their new, flatter approach is a far cry from Koutsis’ earlier work on the title, which was a bit too bright and shiny for my liking. The muted colors here fit the world of Savage Dragon like a glove, and I sincerely hope this duo remains intact for some time to come.
A lot of times with oversized anniversary jams, many of the backup features feel tacked on, superfluous, and a cheap ploy to jack the price tag up. Not so here – from the ever-hapless adventures of the Deadly Duo to Joe Keatinge’s hilarious Flash Mercury one-pagers to checking in with Powerhouse the super-chicken guy to the vagaries of GodTown, there’s not a bad story in the bunch. Seriously. Larsen and friends put real care and craft into making sure that no page went to waste, and not a single one did. It’s truly an astounding feat when you think about it, especially considering how life in the time of COVID must have significantly hampered the book’s production. But it also clearly informed its execution in the best ways possible. Happy anniversary, Savage Dragon. Here’s to the next two-hundred and fifty.
There's no two books like Savage Dragon, and issues like #250 prove why: brilliant, brutal, and even heartfelt execution from start to finish, where even the backup stories are as great as the lead one. Not a single page feels wasted. In an era of ever-increasing single comic prices, this is one that is indisputably worth the cost.
Savage Dragon #250: Days Go By
- Writing - 9.5/109.5/10
- Storyline - 10/1010/10
- Art - 9.5/109.5/10
- Color - 9.5/109.5/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10