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Catching up with Savage Dragon

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Savage Dragon No. 145

Published by Image Comics. Story and art by Erik Larsen.

The Deal: OK, if you haven't read Savage Dragon in a while, here's a newsflash: The Dragon has joined the police force again after a 12-year absence. Now, if you were never a big reader of the Dragon's comic, you probably don't give a shit. But if you're like me, and you actually used to read the series but stopped when he stopped being a cop, then this is a big deal. Oh, and President Obama makes a guest appearance.

The Good: It's good that Savage Dragon has joined the force again. The green-skinned, fin-headed hero has literally been without a steady job for more than a decade -- and the comic has consequently lacked any kind of focus. So, at least now, the book's readers (as well as its creator, Erik Larsen) will know what's in store for them every month. (Well, for the most part.) I'm aware that Savage Dragon is one of those hate-it-or-love-it kind of comics, but at its best, it was always energetic, action-packed and totally unpredictable. (Larsen was famous for introducing characters and killing them off on the same page.) From the looks of this issue (especially the last three pages), the magic appears to be back.

The Bad: Being a hate-it-or-love-it kind of comic, many people just don't like Larsen's art. And I can see their point. His work is not "pretty." He's no Jim Lee or Adam Hughes, that's for sure. In fact, Larsen's art is like the total opposite of Hughes' smooth, clean line. But Larsen's art always reminded me of workhorse pencillers like Sal Buscema and Ron Frenz. Neither artist was ever what you'd consider "hot," but -- like Larsen -- the work they produced was always dramatic.

The Verdict: Hey, check on in with the Dragon and see what he's been up to for the last 12 years.

Reviewed materials provided by Heroes Aren't Hard to Find: www.heroesonline.com.

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