Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Savage Dragon

When I was in middle school my best friend Frank introduced me to the Savage Dragon and the Image Universe in general and I fell in love with this fin-headed hero. The character combined the best of The Hulk, Spider-man, and Wolverine. There were hundreds of characters running around and just as many plotlines. The book was violent and graphic but still fun. It didn’t take itself too seriously. Eventually, the story took a turn for the worse with the whole “Savage World” storyline and I stopped reading the book.

Now, in my late 20s, I got a hankering to reread the series, but was afraid hindsight was going to destroy all my fond memories of the book. I recently gave in and bought the first and second Archives reprinting the whole series in these massive phonebook-like collections. I’m happy to report that dreaded hindsight did not ruin my memories of the book. On the contrary, I was surprised over how well it all holds up. Yes, it's very early Image in that there's plenty of splash pages and mindless fight scenes, but they're always fun and they work with the plots. The story moves at break-neck speed with lots of subplots moving in and out of the main Vicious Circle story. The more ridiculous villains, like Brainiape and Powerhouse, are the best! I miss the bright superheroy colors but, Erik Larsen’s art looks fantastic in B&W.

Hell, I’m even looking forward to the third Archive… Bring on the lame Savage World story!

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