The Savage Dragon #187
Writer: Erik Larsen
Artist: Nikos Koutsis
Publisher: Image Comics
I am going to apologize right now: this review is not going to be very pretty. It’s very rare that an Image comic disappoints me, and The Savage Dragon has firmly been filed in the disappointment category. The art and colors were bad, the story was worse, and the issue as a whole is frustrating and neurotic. Let’s get started, shall we?
With the turn of the cover, I thought “Oh Glob, this is a vintage style comic. A badly stylized vintage comic. Deep breath Kit, you can do it!” If you’ve read a few of my other reviews, it is known that art can sell a comic to me even if the story is atrocious. I can usually twiddle my thumbs and struggle through a few more pages if the art is beautiful and captivating. The second I saw the drab and flat color choices on page one, I knew I was going to have a bad time. I talked myself through it and turned to page two, and so on and so forth, and it just got worse and worse. I would much rather enjoy this comic if it were black and white with strong shading choices, but the color tone of this issue killed me. It was painful to read through the awkward battle scenes and character positioning, and the line work was just too blocky. I know that this style can be a choice and it can work, but in the modern age it’s rare that it is executed well. This comic just made it seem like the artists weren’t sure of where they were going with it, and the issue felt incomplete and out of place.
On top of the awful coloring and 70s throwback, the story literally jumped around every two to three pages. I could not follow the story line or characters, and I tried rereading it to see if I was missing some secret key or link, but it’s simply bad writing. I knew going into this that reading an issue at #187 wasn’t going to be easy, but I felt like I was in a whirlwind of mishaps and a hodgepodge of stories. First we see another couple spying on Dragon and his date, moving on to the Claw raging on about his world domination, then to Dragon chatting with kids who haven’t aged since they were in stasis, then jumping again to this woman yelling at her husband about their daughters, whom are made out of feces by the way; I obviously am missing some sort of secret message to this series, because I have no idea what the hell is going on. No clue. I can’t even begin to tell you how these characters relate to one another, or where this plot is headed; I’m definitely not going to start at issue one to find out.
As you can probably tell, I’m not very happy or impressed with what I read. I don’t recommend it; even if you enjoy the vintage style and matte color pallets, there are much better choices out there. I need to be honest with my readers and warn them of a bad comic; I am giving The Savage Dragon 1 out of 5 Nerdskulls, and that’s being generous.
Polarity #2 (of 4)
Writer: Max Bemis
Artist: Jorge Coelho
For this only being issue #2, I was surprised at how fast the train left the station. Right in the beginning of the issue it is revealed that Tim has been watched by his doctor this entire time and that he has a “superhuman form of bipolar disorder.” Woah, Boom; that is a huge chunk of information to find out in the first few pages… and I like it. The issue continues at full speed ahead, showing Tim’s abuse of his new power. Even though you get to witness Tim be reckless and carefree with the knowledge of his abilities, you also get to see him step back and take responsibility for his actions within the same issue. The issue doesn’t end with him just causing havoc and running amok; you get to see two sides of a character, making him dynamic and relatable. I appreciated that Tim didn’t turn into some crazy partying guy not caring about the consequences. He stepped up, took responsibility, and decides to use his superhero title as inspiration rather than an excuse.
The art has a dash of Sandman to it along with a pinch of Tim Burton. The way Tim’s face and hair is stylized really gave him a surreal and dream-like feel. My favorite paneling was toward the end of the issue; Tim is sitting on a rooftop reminiscing on his life and the panels along with writing were simply beautiful. The choice of simile and growth of character within those six panels was admirably executed. If this was a movie, you would have heard the triumphant and inspirational music playing right away. Even though it was within the last few pages, it was the most memorable.
This issue was really well done and thought out. I was highly impressed with the dynamic characters and truckload of information dumped into this. There was just enough humor to make me chuckle, and it didn’t overpower the story or ruin it in anyway. I’m really diggin’ this series, and I am interested to see how much more Tim changes by the time issue four hits the shelves. I am giving Polarity 4 out of 5 Nerdskulls.