Emperor Kurr (Savage Dragon) took on Thor (not to be confused with The Mighty Thor) in this week’s Savage Dragon #163, as our savage roundtable enters its second year, a year in which the main character of the comic has been dead, either physically or mentally or both. Still, critics (including this writer) have maintained that it’s been a terrific year—one of Larsen’s best, signaling a real renaissance for the character and its creator. This issue featured some of longtime fans’ favorite characters, with Dimension X and the God Squad featuring prominently and the Emperor Kurr and Daredevil stories picking up speed. Plus, this is the first part of the new “Emperor Dragon” storyline. After a month like that, you can bet that Gavin and I had a lot of questions for Erik…!
Russell Burlingame: Rex’s exposition dialogue toward the beginning of this issue is all stuff that we learned/assumed during the last arc; is that mostly for the benefit of readers picking up at part 1 of a new story?
Erik Larsen: That and to catch up anybody that might start reading here or to keep folks up on what’s going on–I’ll do my best to keep readers up to speed.
Gavin Higginbotham: Rex and Horridus have discovered that Mister Glum has begun conquering Dimension-X. Evil Angel only made mention of plans of conquest a couple of years ago, those two must really have stepped up their efforts to have transformed so many planets into new Glum Worlds. Have they got their own army now? Perhaps the Absorbanoids and the rest of Deathseed’s army? Or is Glum’s armor more powerful than we know?
EL: We’ll find all that out as things unfold but typically, conquered peoples join up with the new power and things snowball from there. Certainly Glum isn’t defeating everybody in hand-to-hand combat.
RB: Skipping ahead a little bit, what’re the odds that the Battle Tank Armor will play a big role with Emperor Dragon being a little worse for the wear after his encounter with Mjolnir? He doesn’t seem like the type to be too upset about tearing his lackey out of it…!
EL: True but Kurr also heals relatively quickly so it’s not all that necessary and he does want somebody playing the role of Rex. There’s a better chance of him building his own armor, I’d think but I don’t want to get ahead of myself here.
RB: Does Glum’s willingness to assist Thor suggest that Rex Dexter is right in seeking him out, or wrong because now Glum is likely to say, “Someone more powerful than you is already on the job?”
EL: Glum can look in on what’s happening and he’d know Thor isn’t “on the job” at this point–plus Glum is not above stacking the deck and sending a hundred guys after him. With Angel on the premises, Rex would likely be allowed to return.
RB: Is the face of Glum’s “beloved” hidden to obscure something specific that we’ll see later in the story?
EL: We’ll see later.
GH: The re-use of the Thor back-up in Savage Dragon #150 to cement this story’s place in continuity. With Evil Angel’s appearance here, as well as the discussions between Malcolm and Angel about seeking her out, will this mean that Mister Glum and Evil Angel could return to the book soon on a more regular basis? Glum seems like a perfect candidate to want to take the fight to Kurr.
EL: “Regular basis” and “soon” are two entirely different things. While I am planning on getting the two back into the mix–having them be a constant presence might be a bit confusing given that Angel and her twin are identical. There also comes a point where it would strain credibility to have Kurr fight everybody that readers want to see him fight. And at some point the novelty of that might wear itself out. Again, there’s this whole balancing act. Ultimately, I want this to be a satisfying story. If it goes on too long it gets boring–if it’s too crammed with characters and events then scenes and characters get shortchanged–if it’s too short it feels anticlimactic. There are a lot of factors at play here and if the right balance isn’t struck the whole thing falls apart.
RB: Assuming that Angel and Malcolm do head to Dimension-X, will they have company? Seems like they’d be hesitant to face off against Glum alone, even if Dragon is gone.
EL: Again, we’ll have to wait and see. Part of the way I work is to write up elaborate divergent plans and then pick the best path when I get there. I don’t necessarily have everything nailed down at any one time. I could go any number of ways with that one.
GH: Considering the outcomes to recent blood transfusions, specifically the return of Emperor Kurr and the ill-fated Dragon Army, was it wise for Angel to give her blood to Daredevil? We won’t be getting anymore “SPUT” reactions will we? And it seems that Daredevil may be more formidable should that blood have augmented his body.
EL: I don’t know if it was wise so much as it was necessary. Unlike with Dragon there would have been more supervision from the medical staff since he is in a proper hospital. One might assume that some kind of tests were run or what have you. We’ll have to wait and see just what side effects (if any) there are. I weighed the notion of showing the transfusion and Angel’s thought process but ultimately chose to skip that in lieu of getting Daredevil’s reaction. It’s always a balancing act, trying to figure out what’s essential and what isn’t. The real time aspect makes it especially challenging because, ideally, a month should equal a month and that means taking some pretty big steps and leaving a lot of scenes up to the readers’ imagination.
RB: For the first time, we see Daredevil out of his costume–and Angel calls him creepy. Will the revelation of her role in his recovery turn the tables and have him pursuing an Angel who’s not interested?
EL: It changes the dynamic somewhat, to be sure. Part of her attraction must have been that he was a mysterious figure to her and that mystery is no longer there.
RB: As much as we’ve seen hints of Dragon’s memories peeking through, it’s clear that Kurr doesn’t have access to them (not only does he make the Mjolnir gaffe, but when Thor appears he doesn’t even seem to recognize him). Is that a quiet hint that perhaps the “real” Dragon is in there somewhere?
EL: It’s clear that Dragon didn’t write down every detail of every adventure in his book and that Kurr didn’t read )or have access to) every issue of his comic book series. If Dragon is in there somewhere, keeping that info from Kurr would be a deliberate but dangerous attempt to sabotage him. Killing Kurr would litterally be suicide, after all.
GH: Kurr’s durability after that onslaught from Thor was impressive, as was he managing to both deafen and blind Thor. Presumably the Gods can heal Thor’s injuries?
EL: That remains to be seen but while the gods aren’t like you and me, Odin had one eye in mythology–so things don’t always magically heal themselves. On the other hand, Prometheus had his liver pecked out on a daily basis and had it regrow over night.
GH: Kurr’s lack of Dragon’s memories meant that he suffered the same fate as his alter ego when he took a hold of Miolnir. That burning to cinder scene from SD 69 was reworked nicely. Kurr will no better for when he next faces Thor. If “Toady/Lackey” doesn’t get to Kurr fast, he could be in all sorts of trouble. Dragon needed a stay in Hillman Hospital to recover from those injuries back then.
EL: Yeah, Kurr blew it that time.
GH: This is the first time we have seen the original God Squad together in over a hundred issues. The Gods themselves have not been around for many years now. Does their appearance here herald a return for the Gods or was this a one-time (for now) return? Now that Kurr has faced the Gods directly now, he has a greater understanding of their threat to his plans. Having a massive army of immortals opposing him cannot be good for Kurr’s schemes… he really does seem up against it in this “Emperor Dragon” arc.
EL: True. And you’ll have to wait and see just how this all plays out.