cbishop's Savage Dragon #222 - Inferno review

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    Savage Dragon #222

    SPOILERS! You've been warned.

    Some really cool things happen this issue: Jennifer Murphy is back. We find out that Rapture had a daughter out there, and Malcolm helps her out during a battle. For more of her, see the Mighty Man one-shot that also came out this month. Alex Wilde was back. Dragon saw Alex. Dragon saw Jennifer. Jennifer proposed to Dragon.

    Then there's the other stuff. "Other stuff" meaning "lots of naked characters doing lots of sexual stuff." Now, I'm not a prude, and this title is honestly no stranger to naked characters and sex, but for the first time as far as I can remember in this title, it seemed gratuitous. There's always a context, but there seemed to be a line that Larsen crossed this time. In fairness, he does address it.

    In the letters column, he mentions the rating that has long been featured next to the bar code (which is on the back cover for this issue). It's "M / Mature," which he points out is the strongest possible rating for an Image book, and adds that it means "anything goes." So he decided, "So anything goes."

    "Teen Rapture" is introduced to us in a scene where her dad tries to do that thing to her that begins with "R" and we're not allowed to say on CV. Okay, he's possessed by Fire-Lords who like to possess "meat people" as Teen Rapture calls them. Still, when she fries him (pretty much the same as when Rapture fried her pimp) his pants are hanging off of his ass. About that time Malcolm busts in, and in the ensuing battle, little Miss Jackson manages to fry every stitch of clothing off of her body. Malcolm only manages to lose his shirt.

    Alex and Dragon get it on between panels, and they're naked when they show up. Angel gets a wet T-shirt thanks to the Dragon kids' bath time shenanigans. Later cleaned up, she and Maxine are in robes on the bed together. Maxine gets horny, tries to entice Amy, and finally just masturbates in front of her. You read that right. Her back is to the reader, but it's on panel masturbation complete with squirts and moaning dialogue. To top it off, the issue ends with Maxine going down on Malcolm before Amy can get out of the room. The fellatio isn't shown- it's the top of her head at his waist level.

    I've given this issue a lot of thought, and what I keep coming back to is: I don't get it. Was there an issue over the rating recently? If so, it would appear to me as completely within Larsen's character to do an issue like this to prove a point to whoever made the rating an issue. In the letters column, he went on about how he's trying to show a full range of human experience in the book, and he's always liked all kinds of comics (including porn comics) so he wanted to try some of everything in his title.

    I'm just...I'm really torn about this, because like I said, nudity and sex have always been part of this book. This just...it definitely came off as Larsen doing it simply because he can- not really because he felt like it was needed in the story. Was it funny? The parts with Maxine were, even with the over the top bits. Funny for what the were anyway.

    I guess I just want to know if this is going to be the new normal in this book? I'm not really under the impression that it is, but it was made into such a big deal when Malcolm finally had sex, and it was with three girls over the course of the issue. Maxine is a firecracker, and Larsen's shown her in this issue as being permanently lit in the "honeymoon phase." I don't mind a sex scene here and there. They are usually in context, and there's often something humorous about them. Just...I don't know...I don't need everything to be on panel. I don't care to know that Malcolm got a BJ, or that Maxine grunts and squirts when she masturbates. Enough.

    I should mention that there was a second feature called "Mars: Space Barbarian." There, I mentioned it. It seems a little pretentious, but it's only the second installment, and it's clearly building to something. Overall, it's better than many of those nonsensical strips that ran in the back pages of so many issues.

    The score: For great looking naked people +1. For it coming off as gratuitous "because I can" -4. For a "meh" installment of Mars -1. For Jennifer Murphy being back, +2. For the intro of Rapture's daughter +3 (I'm excited about that okay?). For the Dragon kids +1. For Jennifer popping the question +1. Final score: 3 stars.

    Click here if you'd like to read more of my reviews. :)

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