“Force of One”
Plot: This is the one where Dragon rejoins the Force. The police force, like in the early days of the title after he was found in that burning field. But it does not go well. No way things could be that easy for Dragon, right?
Comments: Okay, the cover’s a masterpiece. It’s the terrorist fist pump meets the Shepard Fairey icon, and a “meet cute” moment for two of Chicago’s favorite sons as well. It’s actually the second Obama cover this title has featured (Dragon endorsed the candidate before the election), and Larsen offers some amusing commentary on the phenomenon of deciding to write about the current President in the comic book world in a letters page sidebar.
I didn’t bother with the Spidey cover with Obama, or any of the other moments of exploiting our national sentiment. But Dragon’s the dude who punched Bush in the face! And he was briefly President himself. An alliance with Obama is a political statement fully in keeping with issues always important to this series. Great way to merge all facets of a pop culture moment, Larsen!
Inside, 17 years really have passed since Chief Frank found Dragon in that field. Time passes in a version of real time at Image, after all. And the job offer comes at a time when Dragon has both his son and his daughter (if not his wife Jennifer) back together at some version of a family home. Frank makes the simple argument that cop is a better title than bounty hunter. It’s the right next move.
But not an easy one. There’s been a lot of water under the bridge in that time. The media are having a field day with Dragon’s antics, and Dragon himself doubts that his endorsement of Obama did the guy any favors. The police force is happy to welcome him back, though, and just in time, as the Vicious Circle have stepped up their game (though no-one knows who’s calling the shots).
This is pretty talking heads for a Dragon issue; we spend a lot of time in Dragon’s head in particular, with our old friend omniscient narration. And then Larsen does something that’s worthy of a Peter David request not to spoil the ending. He doesn’t telegraph this twist at all, which greatly adds to the shock effect.
You can feel Larsen’s renewed commitment to his flagship title, in his highly detailed art, and in his “what just happened?” plotting. Now’s a good time to jump on Dragon’s ride, as we near an anniversary issue.
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