When the last issue ends on a fairly decent cliff hanger, a comic like Savage Dragon #197 has a lot to live up to, or at least open up to something action packed and explosive. Savage Dragon, however, might be a little in the middle.
The official description from Image:
Malcolm Dragon is transformed into a hideous freak as he faces his greatest menace yet—a deadly virus that turns average people into mindless monsters! Get ready for a whole new Savage Dragon!
The main problem with this issue is it’s pacing. Savage Dragon #197 opens up where the last issue left off, with Malcolm Dragon transformed into a monster and a lot of destroyed buildings. However, by the end of this issue everything more or less get’s resolved. That’s not to say there isn’t any action or eventful action, but it all feels resolved much too quickly. There’s no sense of lingering consequence or responsibility – just another open and shut case.
I guess this is stock in trade for the title, so it’s hard to judge it too harshly this late into its run. Erik Larsen at least does his best to provide new plot lines and experiment where he can, but this “whole new Savage Dragon” isn’t that much different from the old one. Sure there are a few moments here and there, especially concerning Malcolm’s age when compared to his father, but they nonetheless add up to very little when looking at the overall script.
Visually, the title is it’s usual self. While I don’t think the loose art lines doing any favors here, the pencils are easy enough to follow while the inks add enough color to keep each page vibrant and appealing. It’s not much, but it’s a small benefit – Savage Dragon has a very versatile setting so it’s nice to see a color palette that accepts this.
All in all, this is a poor issue for the title, although there isn’t any one feature that majorly went wrong. Perhaps it feels ‘more of the same’ than specifically bad.