If you look at the front cover, Savage Dragon #193 promises a “bold new direction”. That’s a big claim to make, so can Savage Dragon #193 keep its promise?
The official description from Image:
A NEW BEGINNING!
It’s the ultimate jumping on point for new readers and a bold new beginning as Malcolm Dragon takes over the title role from his famous father.
Malcolm Dragon is not your typical teenager. He lives in an apartment by himself in downtown Chicago, he’s a junior who’s just transferred to a new high school, and he’s trying his best to fill the shoes of his father, the Savage Dragon, fighting the forces of evil in the Windy City! New dangers! New adventures!
Get in on the ground level of a whole new SAVAGE DRAGON!
I fail to see what is new here. The few differences are of little effect in the long run. Okay, so Malcolm is at high school and fights crime in his spare time. Aside from being a poorman’s spiderman, it changes nothing of the dynamic seen in Savage Dragon of late. Worse off, the ‘fight of the week’ in this issue is just plain creepy. The character has no explanation or back story and the fight is over before it even begins. At the most, you’ll feel disturbed more than satisfied.
In terms of writing, the traditional Savage Dragon elements are shoved into the background. Savage is still in prison, but this entire arc is given enough room to exist, nothing more. Erik Larsen focuses much more on the high school aspect. It’s unoriginal and uninspiring – who wouldn’t prefer bigger fights and more in-depth villains at the core of the title?
Likewise, a new visual approach could of made this “new direction” much more distinct. The artwork is, as usual, sketchy with flat colors (courtesy of Nikos Koutsis). Combine this with a very structured and rigid layout, and there is plenty of areas to improve. This would of made the biggest impact – this is especially true when it comes to action sequences, which could be more fluid and dynamic.
In short, this is a typical issue of Savage Dragon. The few minor changes don’t make much of a difference, and the difference doesn’t necessarily mean an improvement.