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Savage Dragon #159

Posted: Monday, April 19, 2010
By: Shawn Hill

Erik Larsen
Erik Larsen, Tom Orzechowski (l)
Image Comics
“Hunt the Dragon”

Plot: Dragon's bad again. Since he got eaten and later was reborn in something like his original form. Which has everyone really confused, because they needed the hero who was. But he sure doesn't seem like one anymore.

Comments: Nikos Kovtsis is going to town on the colors these days, as he's found a way to wed more realistic shading with Larsen's always heavy blacks and cartoonish expressiveness. The book is looking good, because the shaded colors give more weight to the emotional dilemmas of the characters, all of whom are at a loss as to what to do about a truly Savage Dragon, who wears the body of their friend or family member, but doesn't care to know any of them.

Where it hits hardest is Angel and Malcolm, Dragon's kids, and they each cope in their own ways. Malcolm is too distracted to study, so he reaches out for help to Rex Dexter, little knowing that Dragon has already tossed him into space and taken over his lab. Angel looks for comfort with Daredevil, and the seasoned avenger very gently lets her know that she's being inappropriate, as he's too old for her (by a few decades), and that sexual comfort isn't really what she needs right now. Poor Angel, a lot of bad things have happened to the little kid that used to play with deadly aliens like they were toys in her short life.

Things are so weird the Vicious Circle is even working with the cops, policing themselves and pleading their case (as misunderstood freaks rather than career criminals) better than Dragon was ever able to. They're too scared of what he's become not to look for allies and, well, they should be, for we all know from the finally released origin story that the Dragon who woke up with no memories in a burning field was a blessed improvement over his original (alien world conquering despotic) personality.

To which he has now reverted, and he's for some reason called all the Dragon imitators (those with some of his regenerative blood in their veins, but the others who just dress like their idol show up as well) to a summit meeting. Angel and Malcolm, reunited, show up to, and about the only comforting thought about this misadventure is that it is "penultimate" and so full of subplots because next issue is slated to be the big wrap-up.

Or game changer, as climactic denouements usually are for Larsen. I feel for the kids this issue: I want the shiny happy Dragon back, too.



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