Cataclysmic is the only word I can find that describes the Emperor Dragon Arc of Savage Dragon and the ending for Emperor Dragon 168 is completely utterly apocalyptic. We are witness to a complete change of the status quo and an unexpected very brave final gut punch from owner/creator/writer/artist of Savage Dragon Mr Erik Larsen.
But before I get back to that point here is my review of this eight part slug fest. It all started with Savage Dragon finally getting his original personality reset back to Emperor Kurr and systematically he set about conquering, then cleansing the Earth for his people.
Story spoilers after the jump.
From the very beginning of this arc the now Emperor Kurr defeated every foe assailed against him, until he was able to release a poison into the atmosphere to kill every living soul on the planet. Even at the end when ever one had fallen we had the hope his son Malcolm would find a way to stop him. Instead even he falls Kurr’s ruthlessness and the Emperor stands triumphant on a wasted Earth. Until the Virus, a clone of the Dragon, that was the cause of Savage Dragon’s fall in the first place was unleashed and with no remorse killed him.
Maybe that was the only problem with the entire arc? Emperor Kurr was too unstoppable each opponent he faced was beaten and it almost turned into a revolving door of hero of the week. Some story elements felt hurriedly introduced almost an after thought just to move the plot forward and we had a few pieces of clumsy exposition dialog to link scenes. However this was made up by the action and art being explosive throughout and Erik brought us an Armageddon that no one really expected. Even when the Darklord came I read on expecting it all to turn out well and we would be supplied with the expected mainstream happy ending; everything would return to normal by the Magic reset button all would be well and we would wake up in the shower. Then blam! We saw the end of Savage Dragon and the status quo has completely changed.
I don’t know where Erik Larsen is going next with his childhood creation, what this means for the book, but he set us on a roller coaster ride and has blown the Savage Dragon universe wide open. Question is can Malcolm pick up the baton and carry on? In my memory there has only been on truly accepted transition in identity for superheroes that worked and that was Wally West when he became Flash. It is going to be interesting to see what happens next.
Now pick up Savage Dragon 168!!! It is everything that is right in comic book finale, pulls no punches, doesn’t blink or wimp out and slams you with an ending you never saw coming. Kudos Mr Larsen for bringing us a most excellent book!