November 28, 2017
Review: Savage Dragon #228
With #229 coming out next wednesday, a mere 2 weeks after the latest issue, it is high time we take a look at Savage Dragon #228.
The Seeker. Savage Dragon #228 is supposedly all about the Seeker. A villain that fans have been clamouring to see again. A character we hardly know anything about. It has been nearly 15 years since his last appearance and the solicitation promises: “At long last — all of his secrets are revealed!”
Something big came up
Yeah, reread those speech bubbles carefully: “Something big came up” and “You knew this was going to happen eventually”. It’s not just a funny pun, it seems as if Erik is hiding a meta-comment on the issue itself in the dialogue between Malcolm and Maxine.
A couple of months ago Maxine’s nip-slip would most likely have raised an eyebrow or two but by now it is pretty obvious Erik has raised the bar…
The new status quo
A few weeks ago Erik went onto Facebook and posted the following:
Wondering how many Savage Dragon readers are straight up onboard with whatever the hell I do?
How far can it stray before I’d lose you?
What if it was funny animals? Animated style? Pornography? Romance comics? A Western? Those left seem to be enjoying the ride immensely.
A big part of the joy of doing this book is following my muse — be it Jack Kirby, Frank Miller or R. Crumb.
So what (if anything) would have you saying, “okay — I’m done here.”
It seems this wasn’t just a rhetorical question… The XXX cover variant for issue #225 had already reached new grounds, so to speak, but Savage Dragon #228 did something no other comic book (I can think of) has ever done before: introducing the graphic depiction of sex to a classic super hero comic book.
Let’s not beat around the bush here — no pun intended — those pages are clearly pornographic. They are openly displaying (some pretty absurd) sex scenes and Erik is doing it just for the heck of it. He stated a couple of times that he is currently influenced by Robert Crumb and anyone slightly familiar with Crumb’s work knows what that might allude to…
Sometimes I do stuff just to do stuff. Been on something of an R. Crumb jag lately and admiring his complete lack of self-restraint. That doesn’t mean that this is what the book will be like from here on out.
To what extend Erik will keep displaying sex and erotic content remains to be seen. The latest solicitations suggest that sex will remain a topic in the next couple of issues. What’s interesting — to me — is the fact that the pure display of body parts is losing its shock value and is actually adding to the storytelling. When Erik displays a topless Jennifer (after months of fighting in Dimension-X), it actually feels more realistic and believable.
So, in a way, this is liberating and, down the line, will become more natural and easier acceptable. And who knows, maybe it will help bridge the gap between the graphic display of violence and sex in american comics in general — a topic that keeps coming up…
As for the Seeker: The big reveal is — as it seems — there wasn’t much of a story behind him. Not every character is connected to someone else. Erik recently addressed something similar on Facebook regarding Star Wars — saying that connecting all the dots eventually makes a universe smaller and less believable. It’s no less true when it comes to Savage Dragon.
So while we may not have seen the last of the Seeker’s tech, the character himself was most likely really nothing more than a bounty hunter working for Cyberface — who never got the memo that the former world leader has long bought the farm…
On a closing note: that panel of the Seeker attacking Malcolm looks like a nice homage to the cover of Savage Dragon #87
REVIEWS OF SAVAGE DRAGON #228
Here are some reviews of the book
- Russ Burlingame’s interview with Erik about #228
- SciFiPulse gives #228 a overall grade A
- MajorSpoilers gives #228 2.5 out of 5 stars
- First Appearance gives the issue 3 out of 5 stars
- WorldOfBlackHeroes reviews #227 and #228 with 4 out of 5 stars
- Some of these guys wonder if Erik has lost it
- The Savage Fincast talks about #228