First things first: no, I didn’t buy the Obama cover. Secondly, I’m impressed with Dragon’s ability to tie a necktie, as prominently displayed on the cover I did buy. Third things, well, third: this is the first issue of “Savage Dragon” I’ve ever read. Boss-man Augie has pimped it over in his Pipeline column, my buddy Nekrumah from back in the infancy of Image raved about this book, yet I never dropped my hard-earned money on it. Simply, I didn’t like Larsen’s art.
Now, however, I am a little more tolerant of various styles, having survived the 1990s as a comic fan. I understand what goes into creating a comic book much better than I did back in 1993. While Larsen’s style hasn’t changed much in that time, he has evolved in how he renders his books, but overall his style is as recognizable now as it was back in his “Doom Patrol” and “Spider-Man” days. As a matter of fact, place any of those books next to today’s “Dragon” and you’ll have no problem recognizing that Larsen stayed true to himself. He grew up within his capabilities instead of trying to be a chameleon to the market.
That said, some of this issue felt rushed in areas and for a new reader, it was a little dicey identifying characters in large group shots. Thank goodness for the masterful lettering of Tom Orzechowski. Of course he was lettering Larsen’s dialogue, which makes it much easier to comprehend such a wide array of faces and names.
The fact that Larsen drops in a cameo by Barack Obama in a much more logical set-up than the forced stunt that occurred in “Amazing Spider-Man” recently. Obama’s appearance here is a natural extension of happenings in this title, but can we please drop the comic book appearances of the current president before he achieves Wolverine-like levels of over-exposure?
As far as introductory issues go, this one has it all: a rundown of the characters involved, a brief recap of relevant prior events, and a new purpose for the protagonist to embark upon with his readers at his side.