From the Golden Age of comics, powered by the boost of energy in a delicious Tootsie Roll, comes Captain Tootsie! And the Dragon’s life will never be the same. Your Major Spoilers review of Savage Dragon #241 awaits!
Writer: Erik Larsen
Artist: Erik Larsen
Colorist: Nikos Koutsis
Letterer: Ferran Delgado
Editor: Gavin Higginbotham
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 2, 2019
Previously in Savage Dragon: From the Golden Age of comics comes the preeminent product pitchman: Captain Tootsie! The good Captain has taken on a new role-that of a government operative sent to Toronto to capture and retrieve Malcolm Dragon… but the son of Savage Dragon has other plans.
REVENGE OF THE SEX-BOTS
We open Dragon #241, as Savage Dragon issues so often do, in media res with Malcolm Dragon fighting off a rogue sex-bot left over from a previous antagonist. This does double-duty in allowing a little bit of exposition and some of the adults-only visuals that Erik Larsen has chosen to add to the book in recent years. At the same time, Malcolm and his wife Maxine are still having problems after her assault at the hands of demons in recent issues, a terrible encounter that has left her understandably shell-shocked. Unfortunately, the dialogue around it all is very awkward, especially Angel accosting her about not sleeping with Malcolm and threatening to sleep with him herself and take him away from Maxine. Malcolm sees the police footage of the rape, which adds even more awkwardness to the story before we finally get to the story promised by the cover: Captain Tootsie, now an official government operative after being awakened from decades of suspended animation, arrives in Canada and invades a Genetech facility. At first, it seems like he’s attacking Malcolm, but he’s actually trying to call back his kid sidekicks, The Secret Legion, from years in space, where relativistic speed kept them young as well. As the issue ends, Malcolm’s extended family has assembled to finally explain to his three kids that they have different mothers, during which Maxine is offered the ability to get superhuman powers and immortality herself.
NOT THEIR FINEST HOUR
I am really REALLY uncomfortable with the treatment of Maxine’s assault, especially given how this book has handled sex and sexual issues in the past. There’s something that feels juvenile about this title’s usual take on sex and adding in sexual assault but somehow conflating it all with Maxine’s rape makes a lot of Savage Dragon #241 hard to read. The Captain Tootsie part of the story is cute and kind of fun, which somehow makes the other part even worse, and I can’t help but be enraged when Angel threatens to steal Maxine’s husband away if Maxine doesn’t suck it up and start boinking him again. The one thing that helps to mitigate it all, though, is Erik Larsen’s ability to have his characters be rude or stupid or racist or awful and have it feel authentic and less staged than many stories. On those terms, you can accept that Angel is just being a selfish ass, and Malcolm’s contrition after seeing the tape helps to balance it. Artwise, this issue is fascinating to look at, as Captain Tootsie is drawn in the simple style of CC Beck (his creator, probably best known for the art on classic Captain Marvel) while Malcolm and the regular players all look like they’re designed by Erik Larsen. The crossover of bigfoot cartoon characters with Larsen characters with the stylized Beck tributes makes every page fascinating to look at, and the Doc Samson homage on the cover is a fun piece of tribute/trivia. (Doc Samson’s visual was based on Captain Tootsie by his creators, Roy Thomas and Herb Trimpe.)
BOTTOM LINE: KIND OF A MUDDLE, BUT STILL NOT TERRIBLE
Any discussion of this issue needs to come with the caveat that the material may be upsetting to those who are sensitive about the topic of sexual assault, especially as it comes to the dialogue, but all in all, it’s not a bad comic. It’s just not a particularly sensitive one. Savage Dragon #241 makes incremental progress on a number of plot point, gives us a sudden moment with a new/old character, has some really good-looking and thoughtful art but just can’t quite pull off a problematic plot point, earning 2.5 out of 5 stars overall. I’m not at the point where I drop the book, as I periodically do, but this issue is enough of a muddle that I am wondering if Savage Dragon might disappear from my hold list again in the near future.
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SAVAGE DRAGON #241
One of those issues that you have to have on the way from one story to another, but there are a couple of plots in here that are truly unpleasant, even with the return of Captain Tootsie.