How do you celebrate an 200th issue? Because I bet that’s a better idea than what Savage Dragon #200 has done. Before I get into the meat and bones of this downright dissapointing issue, I should throw up a fairly big spoiler warning. Okay…
First, the official description from Image:
Savage Dragon is out of prison and the Vicious Circle is gunning for him. Malcolm Dragon and his stepsister Angel join forces to keep their father alive against an all-out assault in this movie-length epic. Back up stories include an Angel and Mr. Glum story drawn by Batman alum CHRIS BURNHAM, Malcolm and Savage Dragon in WWII by legendary Incredible Hulk artist HERB TRIMPE, Special Agents Strikeforce by NIKOS KOUTSIS, Vanguard by GARY CARLSON and FRANK FOSCO and Malcolm Dragon by TRAVIS SENGAUS.
Okay, for Savage Dragon #200 we have a number of comic strips; the main issue and a number of side stories. Having read all of them (from back to front, there’s 100 pages here) I can tell you some are good and some are bad. A worrying number, however, are borderling sexist in their portray of women – especially Angel – as sex objects.
Let me get to the writing. The ‘main’ issue – written by Erik Larsen – opens up normally then instantly swings into a bunch of sex-related drama. Different, but bearable. However, once Angel enters the scene it only takes a few panels for this to develop further. While nothing is shown, Larsen then goes to write a bunch of action sequences that allow Malcolm and Angel to make a bunch of retorts about their sexual encounters. It’s not funny, it’s not clever and it’s not erotic. It doesn’t fit the tone of Savage Dragon at all. Later stories in this title follow this up with more women related themes – again, with Angel appearing a few more times as a damsel – or women appearing in minor points (at one point an alien wants to take the female aliens to breed). Guys, I get it, you like women. Can we get back to potrayaing them as deep, rounded characters rather than simple tittilation?
Visually, this is just as bad. While the ‘main’ issue doesn’t show anything – Larsen gracefully spares us that one – aside from a few carefully angled sex sequences, that can’t be said for the other stories. Again, Angel is the defacto feminine form on a pedestal – the rest of the time she appears, you can damn well be sure her skirts up in the air. Sure, some artists throw in lots of muscle bound men, but they’re not portrayed as needy. Angel always needs protecting and, while vulnerable in this state, there’s beef cake to the rescue.
Everything in this issue reads, looks and feels like fan fiction. The bad kind of fan fiction. It’s poorly slapped together in places and the sudden urge to bring more adult themes into the mix is simply out of the blue.