Savage Dragon #186 certainly has a lot going for it. This is one of its greatest strengths but also one of its biggest disappointments. There are many developments in these pages, but a lot harkens back to older issues and arcs. Is this perhaps too much for one issue?
The official description from Image:
“THE LONG GOODBYE”
The next generation of the Vicious Circle is rising. The city of Chicago sits on the brink of destruction. With his world crashing around him, Malcolm Dragon loses the one person he needs the most: his adopted sister Angel. Now Malcolm Dragon faces his greatest challenge ever – alone.
This issue of Savage Dragon opens up easily enough, but then bounces between various areas. Whilst Dragon himself is still in prison, there’s on going developments for Malcolm Dragon as Angel leaves. Through in a handful more characters that make a strong appearance through the issue and you have a double edged sword. Whilst Savage Dragon #186 offers plenty, it doesn’t pause at any one instance long enough to take in the full effect.
The script does what it can but, since its building upon the back story Erik Larsen has created in the Savage Dragon universe, there’s not much it can do to open itself to new readers. Many of the characters either reference past events, or have complicated relationships directly because of past events. The fact that much of this is not exposed makes it a closed issue for new readers. Older readers will surely get a kick out of it however, as it does what Savage Dragon is very good at; presenting a living, realistic universe. Although it may be called Savage Dragon, the series doesn’t need to follow the titular character for every single moment.
As for the visual presentation, there is the usual aesthetic. Its a little sketchy, but it gets enough detail in. This helps more in the detailed sequences, as its very easy to tell who is who and not get lost in a flurry of loose lines and shapes. Besides a couple of more colorful splash pages, the structure of this issue is very rigid.
In short, this is something worth picking up if you’re aware of Savage Dragon, including a decent cliff hanger ending. Someone else less knowledgeable, however, may only walk away with more unintended questions than answers.