Savage Dragon #150, a 100-page monster of a comic book, was released to shops last week and saw some huge revelations. The introduction of a mysterious new Overlord (the “Who is Overlord?” question teased in promos was not, in fact, answered in this issue), the death of one hero the the apparent death of another were just some of the many twists and turns that this epic, sprawling issue took. With a 30-plus page main feature followed up by a number of supporting stories and reprints featuring everything from The Savage Dragon’s and the Golden Age Daredevil’s origins to new stories featuring Thor, Vanguard and G-Man, plus a ton of guest-artists and a Savage Dragon pinup by Spider-Man superstar John Romita, Jr.
So it’s a HUGE issue.
In order to keep comments manageable, we’ve decided to break down the commentary into two chunks: the first (today’s installment) on the main feature—Dragon’s first confrontation with the new Overlord—and the second, coming tomorrow, looking at the backup features, what they mean and why they were chosen.
Oh yeah–and SPOILERS ON, folks. Remember, this is a commentary piece and assumes that the reader has read Savage Dragon #150.
Blog@Newsarama: Whoa–there is a LOT of content in this issue, but I’m going to focus
Mainly on the central feature. I guess the first big question has to be—is Dragon, or are being led to believe that he is, dead at the end of the issue?
Erik Larsen: I can’t possibly answer that question. I need to avoid spoiling things which may occur.
Blog@: Some of the “chapter shifts–where the action moves from one group of characters to another–seem kind of abrupt. Is it just a matter of trying to maintain the suspense from scene to scene?
EL: Yeah. There’s a great deal of thought put into placement and pacing. One page may need to be on a left hand page and that may necessitate generating a spacer page on the right. It’s a careful balancing act. I’m very aware of the order in which pages fall. Readers see an entire spread when they turn the page and I take a lot of care not to spoil things. A lot of writers try to treat a comic book like a movie and write it as though they’re writing for the screen but in a movie you aren’t seeing a lot of scenes simultaneously–in comics you are, and if you have a big reveal in panel three of a right hand page you can’t count on a reader’s eye not to wander that direction and find out early what’s coming up. Writing for books, comics, TV and movies requires different approaches because of the different format restrictions and advantages. In TV you pace it to build to ad breaks. In comics it’s ideal to pace it to the flip.
Blog@: Why didn’t Daredevil and the Little Wise Guys bring Alison to a hospital? If they had no idea she needed to be hid from society, wouldn’t that make the most sense?
EL: This was something that came out of the old Golden Age Daredevil comics. They would routinely take in strangers and try to help them. Had she had broken bones or obvious problems that were beyond their ability to deal with–they might have taken her to the hospital but they tended to deal with problems themselves.
Blog@: So is it safe to assume that Octopus and Openface DO NOT know who the new Overlord is, or he’d have dispatched them?
EL: Yes. They don’t know.
Blog@: Should we read anything into being dismembered after saying “You never know when I might need spare parts?”
EL: Pretty much every line I write is deliberate. I like to plant seeds and let the readers mull things like that over.
Blog@: Part and parcel of the memories stored in the damaged brain–could we see a return of a villain like Emperor Kurr?
EL: There are a lot of unanswered questions there. The body is in some kind of liquid–what is that and what is it doing? Given that months have passed–is it even possible for there to be life in that withered husk?
The Emperor Kurr persona was wiped clean, or so the scientists believed–could there be any residual memories buried in there? Certainly that was enough of a fear that Kurr’s body was dumped on Earth.
Blog@: Has the Overlord armor gotten an upgrade here, or is he just using it with more abandon? It seems like just about everybody takes a single shot to obliterate!
EL: There’s been some work done, as stated, and visually, we are no longer seeing eyes through the eye holes or a human mouth where there was one before. This new Overlord is better shielded than his predecessor once was. Overlord states that the armor has been “given a complete overhaul. Power boosted–fail-safes eliminated.”
Blog@: In this first conversation–Overlord makes some valid points, he makes some
comic book references…are you trying to set up the readers for a fall a little bit by saying, “Hey, look, he’s not an entirely mad, evil bastard?” He really is–to use one of his own references–a bit more Magneto here than the old Overlord.
EL: Purely evil characters can be fun too but most folks tend to have shades of gray. A character can mean well but go at things in such a wrong way that a conflict arises. Overlord may “mean well” but in the context of the story he still killed three people. It’s that classic conflict, really, of saying that “if you’re going to make an omelette you’re going to have to break some eggs.” Dragon has the, perhaps naīve, notion that he can make the world a better place without doing any harm. Overlord accepts that there will be collateral damage–there will be casualties but that the end justifies the means. If Dragon is in the way of his ultimate goal, no matter how much the two may see eye-to-eye on a number of things, he’s expendable. For the “greater good” –he’s expendable.
Blog@: Is the Dart subplot–well, frankly, it’s looking like it may end up pitting Daredevil against his sidekicks ultimately. Am I reading that the wrong way?
EL: It’s just possible. Time will tell, eh?