Savage Dragon #199 Reviewed: “Bold, Big, Powerful, and Full of Awesomeness”

dragon review finalThe Comic Bastards website recently posted a review of Savage Dragon #199 on their website. The reviewer stated:

“…It is bold, big, powerful, and full of awesomeness that really has to be experienced.  Seeing is believing as within these pages, Larsen has created one complete series of dual page spreads to present this comic just like he stated that he would.  All I can say from reading it and  in what Larsen himself states was 20 years in the making is that it is seriously good, well written, well placed and an epic primer to what should be a very impressive 200th Issue next month.”

“Everything about this issue pops.  It has snappy dialogue, mega action of the smash mouth variety, and some of the most impressive artistic renderings delivered by Larsen that I have seen in a long time…”

Read the entire review here: http://comicbastards.com/review-savage-dragon-199/

  • Nicholas Grayson

    I just can’t get behind this issue. I am a big fan of Erik’s experiments. I don’t think I ever disliked one before (even #187 tickled me,) so maybe I was just due. But those who are talking about #199 online are raving, so I don’t know what to think. I guess I can just list gripes in no particular order.
    1.) The color. This issue is just a wash of red, The result is all the detail and character renders are lost to the eye. When the unnamed Kong-sized Demon is already going to cover much of the page in red, I don’t see why the other Demonoids need to be the same hue. Hell, Even Barbaric, Ricochet and several of the public-domain S.O.S. members are red, so some variety could have really made the issue pop. The Demonoids bathed in hellfire can all be red-tinted below, but how cool would it have been to see them on the surface in a variety of grays, tans, yellows, and blues.
    2.) The writing. I know, this seems like low-hanging fruit, griping about a double-page spread issue’s story. But Erik did a bad job. He really had me wishing for panels. I don’t know why every character on the page has a word balloon, especially since what they’re saying doesn’t matter. All the content this issue delivers is that Frank Jr. called the S.O.S. Malcolm doesn’t like Maxine following him into battle. Angel’s still bitter about Frank Jr to some degree, and surprised no one told her MJ and Malcolm were back together. (Oh, and she and Daredevil might be dating.) All those word balloons were distracting and confusing. I kept feeling like I was reading them out of order, even though it was clear there was no order. Similarly, the non-hand-drawn sound effects stuck out badly in this issue, especially when they were the length of two pages. Finally, having the S.O.S. appear in the nick of time was cool, but not right after Malcolm mentions them maybe coming. He’s been on his own for several issues. Why on earth would he threaten they might show up? The foreshadowing was a bad idea.
    3.) The continuity. I hate the fact that there is no consistency from page to page. All the Demonoids look exactly the same, with small variations. But large enough to know that aside from the Kong-sized Demon and the Demonoid from the cover, no one is fighting the same guy twice from page to page. The chaos of a double-page spread issue has to be managed somehow if the reader’s going to have any story to follow. I mean, that’s the real place a story in this type of book is going to happen: in the visual narrative, Maybe this is the right time to mention that I thought a lot of the page layouts were just mediocre. The art’s good, but this is my chance to see Rock clobbering a giant demon. Give me at least one page where he’s the focus as the battle continues.around him. I would have liked to see stories happen in the back- mid- and foreground of this issue. Don’t tell me Horridus is down on page 6 when I had no idea she was even in the issue from previous pages. Show her fighting a kick-ass demon, trading blows and getting KO’d on panel the page before. Page 6 is great example of Rock and Barbaric both getting knocked in the air by demons. Make these four figures duking it out the focus of the page. The spreads and the action in them are just nothing special. It’s a lot of figures flying through space, fists out. And a few too many shots from above looking down at a mob of bodies doing nothing in particular. Last gripe and I’ll move on: With only 10 pages of action I cannot believe one of them is basically a remake of the cover.art. If you want to put that scene in the comic, put it in the mid- or background, and show us someone else in action. At least draw it from a different angle!
    4.) The solicitation. I thought Ant-Menaces, Lava-Lords and Demonids (and trolls?) were going to be duking it out for world domination. That didn’t really pan out. It would have been nice if only to provide some variety of figures on each page. I can imagine all sides attacking each other while Malcolm and the S.O.S. take on the Kong-sized demon. (Actually, when I think about it, the only action the Demonoids were taking was punishing Malcolm for invading their kingdom. They seemed to have no interest in the other underworld dwellers, or in conquering the surface world.) That large scale a brawl also requires a double-page spread issue. I don’ think S.O.S. versus demons really does. The only way a giant free for all works is if you introduce all the players the issue prior and prime the reader for one big fight. Erik did an amazing job of this with issue #7. And I thought that’s what he was doing with #197. But the other players introduced are totally absent.
    So yeah, not my favorite issue. Times like this I wish Erik had someone helping him take his brilliant ideas and producing an equally brilliant final product. The execution on this one showed it wasn’t quite ready to go.