• August 2017
    S M T W T F S
    « Jul   Sep »
     12345
    6789101112
    13141516171819
    20212223242526
    2728293031  
  • On Facebook

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Comic Blog Elite

    Comic Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

The ’90s Revisited: The Savage Dragon #1


90s_revisited

savage_dragon_1992_0001Baptism of Fire

Creator/Writer/Artist/Inker: Erik Larsen
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Gregory Wright
Editor: Jannie Wong
Color Separations: Digital Chameleon
Published by: Malibu Comics / Image Comics
Cover Date: July 1992
Cover Price: $1.95

I remember seeing THE earliest issues of The Savage Dragon "on the stands" back at Capp’s Comics, back in the day. I don’t recall if I saw the first issue of Spawn or not, but Savage Dragon stuck out to me, somehow…I’m pretty sure it was the cover, with the bright yellow and red/oranginess and the main character charging forward. It was very much an "image" book in that regard–all flash, at minimum. But I’ve "always" since then been at least loosely aware of the title’s continued existence and ongoing nature, continually marching forth into higher and higher numbers (much like Spawn). As of this writing, the ongoing Savage Dragon title’s just had its 225th issue…which combined with my reading in full the Dragon story from the Image 10th Anniversary hardcover, and the ready availability of several collected volumes at significant discount and having a bit more on my shelf already than I realized has really rekindled an active interest in the character for me.

So what better way of things than to go back to the very beginning, to this very first issue of a three-issue limited series (when there was no guarantee the character’d support anything beyond that)?

I know the basics of the character’s origin, and little bits here and there, so this issue isn’t as shocking or such as it may otherwise have been. In a lot of ways, there’s something about this that reminds me a bit of the Ultraverse books–plenty of superhero trappings, but some definite, overt violence that makes the book more "mature" without veering grossly into "adults-ONLY" territory.

We open on a green-skinned fin-headed cop leaping into battle with some guy named Cutthroat, and the two beating on each other. The green guy eventually wins out and Cutthroat and his girlfriend are arrested. We then flash back to the guy in a burning field, and then waking in a hospital to officer Frank Darling, who questions him on who he is and how he came to be there–none of which the guy remembers. Darling tries to recruit him for the police, but "Dragon" refuses. But when his boss is threatened and then the warehouse blown up, killing him…Dragon agrees to try the police thing. He’s a one-man SWAT team, able to take on super-powered criminals the "regular" police don’t stand a chance against. We see Officer Dragon in more action, showing off his stuff and meeting others (criminal and costumed vigilante alike), before seeing a group of super-powered criminals about to be unleashed…and perhaps making for a rather short career for Dragon!

Story-wise, this is pretty basic. It feels like there’s a lot more to it conceptually than actual story-wise…and it’s nearly impossible for me to evaluate this "cold," as I know what I do and so can’t help but come to this already knowing a lot of stuff that wasn’t even available when this was published. That said, it’s cool to read this, consciously aware of things and how they go, while seeing the beginning foundation of it all start to unfold here. This also does as a good first issue should…namely, it introduces us to the titular character, shows him in actions, gives us a bit of an "origin" (at least how he came to be a cop), introduces us to some "minor"/supporting characters, gives us a villain (in this case, several!), and sows some seeds of what’s to come and makes you want to know where things go from here.

The art is solid…the character is very recognizable, of course…and though I’d expect a certain "roughness" to it, there are panels that I’d swear you could show me out of context and I wouldn’t be able to concretely place them as 1993, 2002, or 2017. Larsen‘s work is definitely more refined 225+ issues later, but it’s quite cool to see that he’s held a consistency across 25 years with the character and book.

I definitely look forward to diving into the series and seeing how far I get…whether I do a lengthy read now or "soon," but at least the rest of this mini-series!

I know I got this issue at least a couple times from quarter bins/50-cent bins…I don’t know if (for whatever 3 or so copies I have throughout my collection) I’ve even paid cover price for the issue TOTAL yet. It’s definitely worth a quarter, and if you can get the whole mini-series, I daresay it’s at least worth cover price per issue to get the whole story.

It’s also interesting to note that even though this bears the Image comics "i" logo on the front…this was actually published by Malibu!

For a general reading experience, I’d recommend the collected edition…I know Larsen did some slight revisions and reordered the pages into a story-chronological order for the collected volume and fleshed thinks out a bit…so you’ll have a more thorough and refined story reading that way. Still, I enjoyed reading this as a single issue…and even found that there’s a bound-in mini-poster ripe for framing and hanging on my art-wall!

Advertisements

5 Responses

  1. Considering I had fun reading Wild C.A.T.S. recently, I’m thinking I should give Savage Dragon a go. I read that Eric Larsen has remained the artist for the entire series, which is a nice show of continuity and support.

    • I’m certainly biased at the moment–I’ve read around 60 Savage Dragon comics since reading #225, with another 50-some in the queue for the near future. 🙂

      Image had done a swap-month, where the creators swapped books–Jim Lee did an issue of Savage Dragon, Larsen did WildC.A.T.s, etc.–but Larsen later put out a “replacement” of that issue, plugging what otherwise would have been a hole in the run.

      His being the writer/artist for the entire series was a HUGE draw to me! I’d read #2 (guest-starring TMNT), #75-77ish, 163-170ish, #200, and a couple issues last year that crossed over with Spawn (which Larsen was also doing at the time)…so it’s been very cool diving in the last few weeks (and once an order arrives this weekend, I’ll have accumulated well over 100 issues SINCE #225 came out!)

      I would definitely recommend the collected edition of the first mini-series: “Baptism by Fire,” as that’s sort of a “director’s cut” edition–Larsen re-arranged some pages for better narrative flow, and added his segment from the mail-away Image #0 issue (pretttttttty crucial for the early issues of the ongoing series, and resonating into the #40s).

      Most issues (at least to #50) also have center-bound pinups with story-art intentionally not on any part of them, so they’re prime for pulling out of the issue and hanging as mini-posters.

      (geez, look at me gushing…)

      Love to get your thoughts on the early issues if you do give it a go!

      • After your passionate response to this series, how can I not pick it up???

      • Just be forewarned that among other things–at present age, I was still quite amused at the Dragon fighting a villain whose superpower was super-flatulence… 🙂

  2. […] best to start off with. Before I get started though, I encourage you to read Walt’s posts The 90’s Revisited: The Savage Dragon #1 and A Lengthy Stay in the 90’s: Savage Dragon, for his love of this comic will give you a […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: