Comparing Spawn #1 and The Savage Dragon #1 is like comparing night and day. This first issue of Erik Larsen’s reptilian super cop from Chicago is still an awesome comic twenty years later.
The first issue is just like a great pilot episode for a television show. It introduces you to the primary characters and sets the tone for the story. Dragon is an amnesiac who has volunteered to fight the ever increasing war on crime in Chicago, as the city is being plagued by super powered villains.
And it sets up that as the series progresses, the audience will find out more about the Dragon’s back story and why Chicago is such a hell hole.
Larsen did a great job of setting up the status quo for the series in a single issue. If there was a class on comics writing and introducing a new character and series, this would be required reading.
It’s also a textbook example of the pop culture trend in the early 1990s: the anti-hero cop. There’s a lot of Bruce Willis’s John McClane from Die Hard in this character, and he’s armed to the gills like every character Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jean Claude Van Damme ever played.
The Savage Dragon’s first issue does a great job of setting up the series. It makes me want to re-read the issues that I have and track down some more.