Savage Dragon #190 (Image)

savagedragon190-web

Rating: 3.5/5 – Although the characters change, Larsen’s passion does not

I haven’t read a Savage Dragon book since issue 100.  So it’s been a while since I’ve visited Erik Larson’s most famous creation.  For those that don’t know, Savage Dragon now ages in real time, as do the characters around him.  That means that not only has it been over 10 years since the last time I’ve read this series, but also that multiple years have passed in these character’s lives.  Although a lot has changed, there’s still quite a bit that has stayed the same.  The book still has a healthy dose of humor, outrageous action and violence, as well as colorful characters.  But things have also changed.  Savage Dragon himself actually looks older and sports a grey beard, and his son Malcom, he’s all grown up and dating now.  It’s fascinating to see how these characters have aged over time, but still remain recognizable and distinct.

In this issue Savage Dragon is currently in jail for murder.  While incarcerated, he’s being attacked by the inmates and to the frustration of his lawyer, Dragon has been killing his attackers in self defense.  One of the inmates is the walking and talking Shark named Mako.  He’s out for revenge and the two engage in a brutal fight that has that over-the-top violence mentioned above.  The humor in the book is found in the scenes dealing with Dragon’s son Malcom.  Watching him meet the parents of his girlfriend in one scene, and then having an awkward conversation about marrying her in another balances the book out so well.  Larsen is able to go serious and violent, to funny and darling all in the same book.

For a reader who’s been away for a while, there were just a few scenes where I felt lost.  I do think Larsen could benefit from having a recap page in the beginning to help a new reader out and understand the characters a bit more.  Also, when switching scenes, Larsen chooses not to provide the reader with location or time.  Most of the time it’s obvious, but there were a couple scenes where I wasn’t sure when, why  or who the characters were, and why they were part of the story.  They’re both simple things that would help a new reader out quite a bit.

There are also two short stories at the end, both written by Larsen and drawn by Frank Fosco and Scott James.  Both stories were entertaining and allows Larsen to showcase some of the more creative and fun characters he’s created over the years.  Larsen fills this issue with a lot of story, and you get your money’s worth.  If you’ve never picked up an Erik Larsen book before, his art style and fast paced writing may not be for everyone.  But for me who has not kept up with this book in quite a while, it felt good to give it another try, and remember just why I enjoyed his work so much in the past.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas – shawn@comicspectrum.com
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