A-story: "Lo, There shall come … an ending!"
Writer and Illustrator: Erik Larsen
B-story: "Sewing the Seeds of Doubt"
Co-Plot/Script: Gary Carlson
Pencils/Colors: Mark Englert
[note, all similarities to non-Image characters are unavoidable and intentional, so just play along]
In the "Negative Zone," Dragon must face his evil double and the doll-gone-bad Mr. Glum, while Smasher must defend her daughter from Annihilus. Meanwhile, at the dimensional portal, Dragon's police partner Alex must stop a Hulked-out Reed Richards from leading an invasion of Earth. Stop him she does, in brutal fashion.
More developments for Nurse Ann and Mighty Man in the backup, which is the reason I'm buying the book right now and which we'll get to below.
This is a girls-take-no-prisoners issue. Jenn is really pissed at Deathseed for endangering Angel, and since she's as strong as the original Power Girl was, that's bad news for Deathseed. Alex, meanwhile, is one determined Dragon ally, and uses every trick she can think of to defeat Annihilus' vile henchman Reed Banner, including plot device depowering weapons that un-Abomination him and her not inconsiderable dirty fighting skills.
Deathseed doesn't get the message about not threatening Angel, sicking his Undying Ones, I mean Absorbanoids, on her to Jenn's horror in the planet-less Void. Dragon, even with missing limbs, keeps the pressure on Anti-Dragon on Glum's world. Alex is pushed to desperate measures like eye gouging and shrapnel-wielding, in one of the book's most intensely violent sequences ever.
Mr. Glum inadvertently saves our Dragon, and seems at last content to actually become the doll-sized companion Angel always took him for (even though he's really a pint-sized tyrant from Dimension X!).
There, is that about as clear as mud? I left out lots more. None of it matters, really, because the coolness factor is seeing Dragon et famille survive yet another fearsome meta-plight, with the ripped clothes and missing limbs (Dragon loses two this time, plus his skin; don't worry, he heals like a certain Canuck) to prove it. What it all amounts to is action, boobies, desperation, loyalty, and three simultaneous battles royal, which is just about the best mix for the under-rated Larsen.
What I like most about this little back-up is that it's a bit like a revived Freak Force, the team book that Larsen wrote with Ann a prominent member. Yet again someone unworthy wants to take the Mighty Man alter ego that came to her accidentally (it's a whole Shazam! kind of thing). The script and art get nostalgic with some clever "What if he knew … my SECRET?" romance comics posturing. This back up is thus far a fun respite from the ultra-violence elsewhere in the book. The art is pretty much the same as when Larsen pencils, and, as Ann is a good person who actually deserves the Mighty Man powers, it always troubles me when creeps try to take it away, getting me immediately emotionally involved.
There's also a Chris Giarusso strip, so the usual big bang for your Image buck from one of the hardest working guys in comics. And a great dark cover with a really, really cheesed off (and toasty, poor guy) Dragon as charcoal briquette.
What did you think of this book?
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