Savage Dragon #177

A comic review article by: Shawn Hill

Yes, well, you can't get past that cover, but you must. The vague finale of Osama Bin Laden's corpse floating out to sea has been resolved finally by Larsen; it seems the unceremoniously executed despot's remains drifted along with all sorts of wacky currents long enough and far enough to be involved in Japan's recent earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster, and now he's a big green monster out to destroy the world. Or America. Or whatever he happens to step on. 

It's really just an excuse to shoot him to pieces all over again, only this time to do it on a public stage, and Angel and Malcolm do their best to get their licks in. They're actually more focused on their upcoming appearance on the Jerry Rivers show, where they'll talk about what it's like to be superheroes, siblings and high school students all at once. 

They don't have to do that quite without their father anymore, as he has finally contacted them from his alien spaceship, where he's become himself again thanks to Rex and Darklord and way too many convoluted machinations for me to ever explain. There's both alternate worlds and time travel (not to mention shape-changing and cloning) in Dragon's world, so almost nobody is exactly who they used to be when we first read about them. Larsen has taken the evil doppelganger thing to extreme points with nearly every main character, so who lives, dies, was killed and is now "our" Angel or Dragon or whoever is something Larsen and the fans sort out monthly in the letters page.

Not me, I'll just accept that Malcolm and Angel are the good guys on Earth, that Dragon will be back someday after he helps Kurr's people find a home, and that Jennifer is sadly truly dead and gone, not able to see her daughter mature into a young woman she'd be proud of. There's also a subplot about the kids from an earlier comic franchise (another of Larsen's infinite homages) including the original Daredevil, who, not to mention looking more cartoonish than everyone, are apparently permanently stuck that way, because of how they were digitally stored for way too long. 

Or something. There's always a subplot. Larsen is indefatigable on this title. This is one of his tighter-illustrated issues, so the city looks very believably threatened by the giant terrorist zombie, and several major stories have had their climaxes. Bigger ones ensue, of course, as well they should. I bought it because I'm a sucker for anytime Larsen gets political and topical on the cover (which is often more succinct and to the point than the interior, a propaganda poster itself). I'm not sure why the iconic cover image of Bin Laden also looks aged and old-fashioned (probably an homage I'm missing, maybe to a Kirby monster comic?); this comic has gone beyond meta into its own twisted brand of insanity long ago. Thank God for that informative letters page, made so by the simple tradition of the fans offering numbered questions and Larsen answering them one by one. It's that kind of trust that he's earned at this point, and he's pretty much operating in a realm of his own as far as Image goes. May his plot convolutions continue to twist!

 


 

Shawn Hill knows two things: comics and art history. Find his art at Cornekopia.net.

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