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Comic Book / Savage Dragon

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A series for Image Comics by Erik Larsen. The title character first appeared in Graphic Fantasy #1 (June, 1982). The character continued appearing through The '80s in either self-published works or works by minor publishers. When Image was launched, Larsen had the opportunity to launch a regular series based on the character. An initial 3-issue miniseries (July-December, 1992) sold decently, leading to an ongoing title. It was launched in June 1993 and (as of 2019) is still ongoing, albeit on a scattershot schedule. It is the longest-running American full-color comic by a single creator/creative team.

The Dragon is an extremely broad and muscular green guy with a fin on his head, who was found in a burning field by Lieutenant Frank Darling of the Chicago Police Department. With "Superfreaks", genetically and/or cybernetically-modified criminals running loose in the streets, the Dragon eventually takes up the fight against them. Not as a superhero, mind you, but as a member of the Chicago Police. This allows him to legally and openly fight crime of all sorts, and has also resulted in him being "loaned" to the Police Departments of other cities, which has led him on other adventures (such as an encounter with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). At first, his primary Arch-Enemy was Overlord, the leader of a superpowered gang called the Vicious Circle. The Dragon defeated Overlord, only to create an Evil Power Vacuum that resulted in a city-wide gang war as factions within the Circle fought each other for dominance. Since then, he has met other heroes, such as Wildstar and The Maxx, gotten sent to Hell, where he encountered Spawn and witnessed God and Satan throw down over his soul, had a son, lost his son, met Hellboy, fought off a Martian invasion, and was finally suspended from the Police Department.

Since then, Dragon has become a bounty hunter, formed a government super-team composed of many of his friends, traveled to alternate universes, found his son again, adopted a daughter, nearly been elected President of the United States, and many, many other things.

In issue #150, Dragon was seemingly killed off by the newly returned Overlord. Despite Larsen's insistence this did not stick, but shifted the focus of the series on Dragon's kids Malcolm and Angel as the protagonists. This was finally cemented in issue #193 where Malcolm officially took over the book.

In 1995, an animated series was aired for the USA Network's Cartoon Express. It was much Lighter and Softer than the comic, and aimed at a younger audience. It was actually rather good, due to maintaining the comic's odd humor. (Sentient leeches?)

Savage Dragon is one of the two original Image Comics Series that is still being published since the company was formed, the other being Spawn, mainly because it, like Spawn, managed to develop a loyal fanbase, and quickly broke away from the stereotypical Image fare of the time. It is perhaps notable as the only founding Image Comic to still be written and drawn by its creator Erik Larsen, a fact that Peter David, who once feuded with Larsen, has applauded.

This series has a large cast so it naturally has its own Character Sheet.

Savage Dragon provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: The God Sword can cut through absolutely anything until Malcolm breaks it after a Bare-Handed Blade Block.
  • Accidental Misnaming: On the Savage World, Dragon keeps getting the name of Ann Stevens' boyfriend wrong.
  • Actual Pacifist: Kurr's people are loath to take any life at all, to the point that they refuse to colonise a planet if it means killing a single indigenous life-form there (even if it is a mindless predator). As a result, they kept wandering the cosmos because it turns out the only planets without life are uninhabitable. Kurr (and Dragon) do not share this mindset.
  • After the End: Darkworld is mostly uninhabitable, and has an unstable core that's weeks away from Going Critical. The Savage World looks like this when Dragon first arrives, but eventually it gets better.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: The humans are restricted to the normal range of skin tones, but freaks come in all colors.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: Dragon is of the Mythical Monster Motif variety, although there are many side characters who fit other types such as Widow.
  • And This Is for...: Dragon, She-Dragon, Angel, and Alex Wilde do this while beating up Dragon's Evil Twin
  • Another Dimension: The Void
  • Anyone Can Die: No character is protected against death, and deaths tend to stick (at least for the original characters: duplicates can replace a dead character, but they usually are markedly different from the original).
    • The best example would be Rapture who was a major character in the series and Dragon's ex-girlfriend. She was killed in a single page in one of the most shocking scenes in the series. The effects of her death resonate even today.
    • Another strong and literal contender would be the destruction of Earth. And Darkworld. And Godworld. And Warworld. Each of these events killed off a number of significant character. Heck, the destruction of Earth wiped out almost the entire cast.
    • As of the most recent issues, it is shown that anyone even includes GOD!
    • As of issue #261, it seems that Dragon's death in issue #225 is going to stick.
  • An Arm and a Leg: dismemberment is fairly frequent when the superpowered freaks battle one anther. Dragon has lost enough limbs to be a quadruple amputee many times over. His Healing Factor lets him grow back any missing pieces so its not a big deal for him.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: Malcolm manages to catch and break Dart 2's this way. Considering she was using the God Sword at the time, this is no small feat.
  • BFG: Used frequently when Dragon's on the police force. Justified in his case, since he's super-strong. But human characters also tend to heft around giant bazookas from time to time.
  • Big Bad: Dragon's universe is full of villains, but some are tougher than others.
    • Overlord.
    • Darklord.
    • Cyber Face.
    • New Overlord.
      • New Overlord is somewhat of a subversion, in fact though he has killed people, he has very good intentions, and has been shown to be failing in the area of evil planning.
    • Emperor Kurr.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Savage World's Australia has plenty of giant bugsnote , which they've domesticated.
  • Blackmail: Ever since Lt. Darling engineered The Call Knows Where You Live, he's been under the Vicious Circle's thumb.
  • Body Backup Drive: Has featured a number of characters with Power Armor who had previously downloaded their brainwaves into the suit, allowing them to continue fighting long after death.
  • Brainwashed:
    • Everyone in Covenant of the Sword.
    • The psychotic and cruel Emperor Kurr was brainwashed by two of his scientists to save the Earth. He is, in fact, the titular character.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Horde's victims tend to go on killing sprees.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Lt. Frank Darling had to give the call Dragon's address. After Dragon Refused the Call to join the police, Frank paid some Vicious Circle members to threaten his cousin (for whom Dragon was working) to bring home the threat of the supercriminal crime wave. Instead, they blew up the cousin's warehouse, killing him. Dragon was convinced to join the police, but Frank's scheme got him blackmailed by the Vicious Circle.
  • Captain Ersatz: Many, but one of the most notable is Mighty Man, who at the beginning appears to be an obvious nod to Fawcett/DC's Captain Marvel (the one who, until recently, was not Shazam). However, Larsen tweaked the idea to make the superhero form an actual, separate entity that resides within a host body, rather than the Older Alter Ego that Captain Marvel usually appears as. Thus, when the dying host of Mighty Man transfers his powers to his attending nurse (believing her, in his dying stupor, to be his grandson), her Superpowered Alter Ego is the same blond-haired, alpha male Mighty Man, but with her mind in the driver's seat. Another twist is that, wherever the host body "goes" when the Mighty Man form is summoned, time still passes for that body; thus, if the host spends all of his or her time as Mighty Man, their own body will waste away from starvation, dehydtration and muscle atrophy, to the point where their effectiveness as Mighty Man will decline (as the effects on the body also affect the host's mental state) and, in a severe case, their own body will be so weakened that they will expire near-instantly when they change back. Ironically, in trying to make Mighty Man less like the modern DCU Captain Marvel, he ended up becoming more like the original version of the character.
  • Cartwright Curse:
    • The women Dragon dates or simply sleeps with usually end up biting the bullet (Debbie Harris, Rapture, Normal!Ann Stevens, Jenniver Murphy in two realities... the list goes on). The first time it happens actually affects him a lot, and he tries avoiding relationships for a while to avoid this (it does not stick).
    • Invoked by Tierra when she breaks up with Malcolm. She recaps some of Dragon's dead relationships to make her point.
  • Chick Magnet: A lot of women tend to fall for Dragon. In the Original Earth, almost every female character fell for him or at least slept with him at one point.
  • City of Adventure: The comic's version of Chicago seems to be one big Weirdness Magnet. God City also counts for obvious reasons.
  • Clothing Damage: Clothes (even superhero outfits) are definitely not as durable as the people wearing them in this comic. Dragon and most superpowered female character usually lose part of their clothes during a fight (not that it stops them).
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Jimbo Da Mighty Lobster; Wesley during a cross-over.
  • Condemned Contestant: The participants in the Forced Prize Fights.
  • Comic-Book Time: Averted, events have progressed and characters have aged in realtime since the series was launched in 1992. Larsen has said this makes crossovers with series that have Comic-Book Time a brain-straining nightmare.
  • Continuity Nod: In issue #24, the Chicago Bullnote  attacks a Bad Guy Bar, where he's killed easily. In issue #75, when that bar is shown in a montage depicting the effects of the Nega-Bomb on Chicago's freaks, the Bull's head can be seen mounted on a wall.
  • Crossover: There have been several that have happened in the pages of this series: Hellboy, Spawn, Madman, Bone, Megaton Man, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Mars Attacks!, Destroyer Duck, The Maxx, Wildstar, Youngblood and more.
  • Cross Through: In the cartoon,a "Warrior King" appeared at one point, chasing a powerful orb; he also chased it through the other USA Network action cartoons at the time: Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm, and Wing Commander Academy.
  • Deader than Dead: Years after Debbie Harris' first death, she resurfaces as an angel. Then she dies in a hovercar crash.
  • Deadly Dodging: Dragon tricks a giant robot into blowing off its own head this way.
  • Differently Powered Individual: People with powers are known as "superfreaks", or just "freaks".
  • Diner Brawl: Between Zeek and Rock, the first time they meet in the Savage World.
  • Death Is Cheap: Averted with almost everyone else, Larsen has strong feelings about reviving characters left and right (comically brought up when Gwen Stacey appears serving Norman Osborn and Lex Luthor lunch at a diner).
    • Dragon himself "dies" a fair bit. Ar at least, he's believed dead by the characters even though the readers know what really happened. Happens so much that it's a running gag.
      • Played with recently in the current storyline inwhich Dragon's revival has lead to him returning to the evil persona of Emperor Kurr. Whats more, Larsen claims that he may be fully intending to have Dragon's son Malcolm take up the mantle.
    • It should be noted that this trope mostly only applies to Dragon. That said, in most cases, the audience knows for a fact that he isn't dead. It's the world around him who believe that he's been killed. Otherwise, if someone dies, they stay dead.
    • Since dimensional travel is a recurring theme within the book, dead characters are often replaced with their counterparts from another dimension. Arguably that could be counted as resurrecting, but most of the time the new version is in some way different than the original, often quite drastically.
  • Draconic Humanoid: Dragon comes from an alien race of dragon-like humanoids.
  • Dragon Rider: The Skyriders on the Savage World.
  • Dung Fu: Dung, who fires hot faeces from his arm cannons.
  • Earth All Along: Darkworld — Dragon makes this realization when he finds a Coca-Cola vending machine.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The fate of Darkworld and Godworld and Earth and Warworld
  • Elaborate Underground Base: In Savage World, the Liberty League headquarters is underneath Dragon's house.
  • Enemy Mine: On a few occasions, Dragon has to team up with the Vicious Circle to defeat a greater threat: on the original Earth, it's Darklord; on Savage World, it's Cyberface.
  • Exact Words:
    • When Angel says that she wishes she would be big so that she would do anything she wants, Mister Glum concots a potion for granting her wish... which does enlarge her to three storeys tall. She has to explain that she meant being a grown-up.
    • When Mister Glum finds a way to force the entire population of Earth to do his bidding he orders Mighty Man to "go after Dragon's blood". Mighty Man (whose alter ego is a nurse) takes this opportunity to retrieve Dragon's blood and inject a comatose Dragon with it, thus reviving him.
  • Fake Static: On Savage World, Vanguard does this to cut short an awkward conversation with Dragon, except without the tunnel, since Vanguard's on a spaceship.
  • Faking the Dead: Lt. Darling sends a shapeshifting drone to get vaporized by Overlord in his place. Later averted due to the drone's resilience; it regenerated and repeated its prior actions, tipping off Overlord to the switch.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Superpowered people are called "Freaks" and usually discriminated upon, for instance having to live in derelict parts of the city.
    • When Donald Trump becomes president of the United States, all aliens are expelled from the country, with "alien" in this case including normal humans born on a parallel Earth.
  • Fish People: Atlanteans.
  • Floating Continent: God Town
  • Flying Brick: Mighty Man, Solar Man, Powerhouse, The Fiend, Overlord, Dread Knight, Kid Crimson, Vanguard, and Superpatriot to a certain extent.
  • Flying Car: Dragon has one in Savage World.
  • Flying Saucer: Martian ships
  • Forced Prize Fight: Gladiatorial combat in Savage World Australia.
  • For Want Of A Nail: Various flashbacks show in detail how the events of the Savage World timeline can be traced back to Dragon having killed the time-traveling Darklord.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Special Operations Strikeforce, the government-sponsored superhero team Dragon leads for awhile. When Erik Larsen came up with the idea back when he was a kid, it was called Society Of Superheroes.
  • Full-Frontal Assault:
    • Dragon being attacked by an army of naked, pregnant Alternate Universe Jennifers that have been brainwashed by the Covenant of the Sword.
    • Also Dragon himself whenever his clothes get destroyed.
    • When Angel, Alex and Jennifer are trapped in Dimension X for some time, their clothes get progressively shredded as they fight their way through hordes of monsters. After a couple of issues they are fighting in their birthday suits.
  • George Lucas Altered Version: The original miniseries was rewritten once collected in a trade, with several new scenes (including Dragon's famous speech where he berated a bigoted police officer) being added and the flashbacks being collected at the start of the story rather than interspaced within it, so that the entire story is in chronological order.
  • Giant Spider: One of the first of many monsters Dragon faces upon arrival in the Savage World continuity.
  • Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex: Battle Girl and Mr. Glum engage in passionate sex amidst the battlefield in celebration after winning a battle against an alien horde.
  • God's Hands Are Tied: In the Savage World timeline, the gods of every pantheon live together in God Town at the top of a mountain in the USA. But because their leader long ago forbade gods from interfering in mortal affairs, they won't do a thing to help overthrow the Evil Overlord Cyberface.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: When Horridus dies of COVID, Dr. Bradford gets the idea of using Malcom's blood, which had been meant to cure her, on the other patients on respirators, then use Freak Out to turn them back to normal after they're cured. Unfortunately, Freak Out can only be administered orally, and the respirator covers the patient's mouth. The first patient explodes and the COVID virus merges with Malcom's blood, making the "Dragon Variant", which spreads so rapidly that it kills everyone in the hospital.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: During the Mars Attacks! Image crossover, Superpatriot's daughter Liberty is abducted and raped by Martians in a crossbreeding experiment, but she's so staunchly pro-life that she keeps the Half-Human Hybrid. Though this turns out to be a bad idea, as the baby grows up to become Darklord.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars:
    • Psychotic Vigilante Man Mace used to be an Alternate Company Equivalent of Bucky, but a bomb that killed his mentor left his face severely burnt from the nose up, ruining his chances of joining the image-obsessed superteam Youngblood.
    • The main visual difference between Dragon and his Evil Twin from Darkworld is that the latter, having lost his healing factor in the nega-bomb, is covered in scars.
  • Gratuitous German: Brainiape who is the Brain of Adolf Hitler transplanted into a glass bowl on an ape body takes ze trope and runs with ze trope all ze way to the fuhrer hauptquartier.
  • Groin Attack:
    • Satan kicks God in the crotch during their fight over Dragon's soul.
    • And in the Savage World timeline, Rapture kills her former pimp by grabbing his crotch and electrocuting him through it.
    • In the first run, Savage Dragon literally crushes the groin of an antagonistic, racist police officer who had previously almost gotten thrown off the force out due to Police Brutality, then lectures him on how his bigotry is only making their job harder. Bearing in mind that Savage Dragon has Super-Strength and the cop is last shown on the floor in the fetal position, the damage may have been beyond the hope of medical intervention.
  • Guarding the Portal: Regarding the interdimensional portal built in Dragon's basement:
    Angel: How come we have one of those?
    Dragon: I'm in charge of it. I have to make sure no monsters escape.
    Angel: If we didn't have it, no monsters could escape.
    Dragon: Uh... yeah, well, you see... why don't you go bother your mother?
  • Harmful Healing: When The Savage Dragon's bones are prevented from setting, they simply heal in whatever position they're already in, so having all his bones broken and being stuffed into a smokestack leaves his body horribly malformed, requiring that he have his bones broken again so they can be set properly.
  • Healing Factor: Deconstructed. Dragon can regenerate lost body parts, and generally heals from injury faster than a normal person, but he doesn't heal instantaneously, and severe injuries still require medical treatment (suturing wounds to prevent death from blood loss, setting bones so that they heal properly, etc.). Thus, after breaking nearly every bone in Dragon's body, the Fiend has time to stuff Dragon's mangled body down an industrial chimney, and force the bones to heal....wrong. Though he still manages to climb out of the chimney under his own power, Dragon's body is horribly and painfully misshapen, and barely able to move. The worst part? Since Dragon is also much more durable than the average person, it required someone with superhuman strength to re-break his bones so they can be set to heal in their proper positions, forcing Dragon to suffer through the pain of it all a second time. Luckily, Mighty Man is a nurse in her secret identity (see Captain Ersatz above).
  • Heroes "R" Us: SOS
  • Hidden Elf Village: On the Savage World, Atlantis and Australia are this way during Cyberface's rule, and Godtown remains isolationist even after he's overthrown.
  • Hurl It into the Sun: How Savage World Vanguard disposes of the remains of Cyberface.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Dragon has a field day with this when he fights Powerhouse, a Flying Brick with the head of a chicken.
  • Hypocritical Humor: When Dragon receives an offer from Marvey Comics to adapt his life story into a series of comic books, Jennifer responds "Have you seen some of those comic magazines? They're nothing but T&A! Every square is a cheesecake shot emphasizing a shapely body part of some overdeveloped bimbo". Note that Jennifer herself has the Most Common Superpower, and the panel in which she says this consists mostly of a shot of her ass. Heck, the comic does this constantly, so it's not just her.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Amnesiac-Kurr-Dragon says this to Malcolm after killing Darkworld-Dragon and eating his brain to ensure he doesn't come back.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: On a church steeple, back in 1997.
  • Improvised Weapon:
    Dragon: There wasn't a gun. No bullet, either. I didn't have one on me, so I chewed on a dime while I was scaling the building and I spit it through his forehead.
  • Indecisive Parody: The comic tends to lampoon quite a few superhero tropes, from the '90s Anti-Hero type that Image was partly responsible for popularizing to the generally ridiculous nature of C-list supervillains (Dung and his diarrhea-cannons, for example) — not to mention the inclusion of fan creations like Jimbo de Mighty Lobster — but sometimes it's ambiguous as to whether Larsen is making fun of a trope or playing it totally straight and trying to tell a more-or-less serious story.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Although first appearing to be a wasteland under the rule of Cyberface, Savage Earth eventually comes to look a lot like Original Earth, down to having the same US Presidents.
  • Invisible President: Averted for every sitting president since the series started. When Dragon wakes up in the first issue, he mentions that George Bush (senior) is the president but has no information regarding his own name. Later in the series, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama all make appearances while in office. Even Al Gore appears as president in one issue (he was appointed after Clinton got killed). This trope is also played with since Dragon himself nearly became the president at one point.
  • It's All My Fault: Dragon angsting over the destruction of his home Earth in his absence.
  • Killed Off for Real: With the exception of the title character himself, who has made revivals a habit, people who die, usually stay dead and when they don't, usually they are practically a different character. Larsen claims that Dragon's most recent demise at the end of the Emperor Dragon storyline will be the last we see of him. And yet again averted; Dragon (or at least the clone with his mind; long story) has been revived by his alien species, but has decided to help them instead of taking back the book.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: Due to Universo's Energy Absorption powers, the only weapons it's safe to use against him are guns. Apparently, he can't absorb kinetic energy.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Dragon thought he was sterilenote .
  • Literal Genie:
    • Angel wishes she was "big" i.e. an adult, so adults couldn't boss her around. But Mr. Glum misinterprets her wish and concocts a serum for her that makes her grow to giant size, destroying the house and hospitalizing her mother.
    • Lampshaded later by Angel when Mr. Glum is trying to decide what to use the God Gun's third wish on. She figures out the precise way to word his wish to allow him to Take Over the World.
    • Even after wording his wish correctly and acquiring a Compelling Voice, Glum's commands sometimes don't result in the desired effects. For example, when he tells Mighty Man "You should be out for Savage Dragon's blood. Go take care of him!", Mighty Man goes to the hospital to get some of the blood Dragon donated back before he lost his healing factor, and injects Dragon with it, returning his original power level.
  • Magma Man:
    • Volcanic, a Vicious Circle freak.
    • And on the Savage World, the Lava Lords and the Magmanites are two whole races of magma men.
  • Made of Plasticine: Characters without some form of superhuman resilience tend to die rather messily when punched by a superpowered freak. Even the really tough guys are not safe, when enough force is applied.
  • Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex: Dragon is a massive green-skinned humanoid with superhuman strength who is shown having sex with multiple human females in the comic without problem. This trope comes into play when his backstory revealed he so strong compared to the rest of his kind that he would tear any women that he slept with his strength alone! It's possible he restrains himself when getting down to business. There's also the fact that he was a Monster before, so he probably didn't care about restraining himself.
  • Mass Super-Empowering Event: Inverted with the Nega-bomb, which permanently removes the powers of every one in Original World.
  • Misfit Mobilization Moment: Ruthlessly averted when a tycoon decides to recreate Freak Force in the Savage World after reading Dragon's memories from the Original World. After his attempt horribly fails due to Savage Freak Force members' utter inexperience and lack of cooperationnote , causing his complete financial ruin and the death of his wife, he gives a rousing speech on how the experience may still have created a bond between them and that maybe they will make Freak Force live even though he can't pay them any more (which was their original motivation for participating in the team). They unanimously bail out right after his speech ends, leaving the poor man crying over the corpse of his wife
  • Mobile Fishbowl: A group of Atlantis characters popped up in the series from time to time, with aquatic "breathing" gear to use to go on land for an invasion. This was a Running Gag in which the gear always malfunctioned in some way, killing all of them.
  • Monster Modesty: Strongly averted. Dragon and several characters look monstrous but are usually fully clothed.
  • Most Common Superpower: It's not restricted to superhuman women by far. Lampshaded at one point when Dragon's dating one of the few women with a normal sized chest to appear in the comic: "the girls he dates usually look like they'd bounce right back onto their feet if they fell forward"
  • Must Not Die a Virgin:
    • Angel tried to pull that one on Malcom. He declines. Rex and Horridus go through with the Pre-Climax Climax a few pages later.
    • In Issue #184 it's revealed that Frank jr. is just as unfaithful as Angel and got Tierra pregnant. Angel does not take this well.
  • My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: Oddly, despite his various near-death and actual-death experiences, this doesn't happen to Dragon until the relatively uneventful issue 63, when he's abducted by Overlord.
  • Nazi Hunter:
    • Super-Patriot's side job.
    • A Crossover with Hellboy also showed this side of the character.
  • Nebulous Evil Organisation: Covenant of the Sword
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot:
  • No Ontological Inertia: When the God Gun is destroyed, the wishes it granted are undone.
  • Noble Bigot with a Badge: Officer Howard Niseman hates blacks, gays, and freaks, but gets partnered with a gay black man, and later with the freak She-Dragon, and apparently does his job well to the satisfaction of his black commanding officer. In fact, in She-Dragon's case, he's often more annoyed with being saddled with a rookie officer for a partner than the fact that she's a super-freak.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Happens a lot to Dragon, but on the Savage World, it becomes a Running Gag for these two guys to show up, look at the footage of his supposed death and argue about whether he could've survived.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: Dragon has to do this several times in the Savage World timeline, since he keeps having to explain the events that led to him being on this alternate Earth.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: The Status Quo has changed several times during the series’ time. For example, the original Dragon had been Killed Off for Real and the current hero is his son Malcolm.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Mendosa, who, as The Mole, did this intentionally. Stephenson later plays this role in SOS.
  • The Only One: Justifiably invoked in issue 65, since Dragon is the only one immune to Simon Kane's mind control.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: Mjölnir. Merely touching it with his bare hand causes half of Dragon's body to melt away.
  • Origins Issue: Dragon's origin was finally revealed (to the readers; his past was unknown in-continuity until he regained his original memories in early 2010) in 2005, 13 years after The Savage Dragon began.
  • Phlebotinum Overload: When Dr. SivanaNirvana's power draining AmazoAbsorbanoids are shot by DarkseidDarklord's ParademonsDevil Dogs while they're already busy draining Mighty Man, they overload and explode.
  • Pinned to the Wall: This was lampshaded and averted in an issue. An ally of the Dragon's, known as Star, uses bladed stars to stab some criminals along their arms to disarm them. When they complain, he admits he can't do this trick.
  • Power Nullifier: There are a lot of way for characters to lose their powers in Savage Dragon universe:
    • The bad guy called "The Nullifier" can permanently remove the powers of anybody he touches. Savage World Jennifer loses her powers that way.
    • The "Nega-bomb" can depower every being caught in its radius. This is how every superpowered character in Normal Earth save for Dragon and a couple of others lose their powers.
    • The "freakout" drug can reverse a mutation when injected to someone (multiple doses may be necessary).
  • Powers as Programs:
    • Billy Berman uses a Dr. Nirvana-constructed-device to steal Ann's Mighty Man powers.
    • Most powers seem to be transmitted through blood. Children usually receive their parents' powers (an even more literal example with Ann, who unknowingly passes on her Mighty Man powers to her daughter at her birth), and characters who have been depowered can regain their powers through a transfusion of their own blood (or a relative's) if it was drawn while they were powered. Injecting baseline humans with Dragon's blood grants them Dragon's power and appearance until they explode.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: On Savage World, fanboy Augie De Blieck Jr. tries this with Freak Force. Except in this reality, there never was a Freak Force— he's trying to rebuild a team that he only knows about from Dragon's stories about his original Earth.
  • Redshirts:The SWAT team that accompanies Dragon to arrest Overlord. Human cops in general have a tendency to die by the bucketload.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Due to having spent several decades in suspended animation, Daredevil (no relation) and the little wise guys do not age any more (at least until Dart 2 murders the little wise guys).
  • Recursive Canon: The Savage Dragon comics exist in the Savage Dragon universe and present a fairly accurate report of Dragon's actual adventures, to the point that an amnesiac Dragon uses them to get up to date with what he has been doing. The issue numbering is also the same as the real-life comic, so Malcom and Maxine are occasionally seen discussing with the writers and commenting on how some events were described in a particular issue.
  • Reset Button: Supplied by Darklord after Kurr completely massacres the human race and most everyone else on Earth except himself and Virus!Dragon.
  • Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: The title started off being dark and edgy since it was first published in The Dark Age of Comic Books. As the series came into its own, it became much lighter.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Justified — Dragon doesn't remember the past of the Savage World timeline because his mind switched places with that of SW's original Dragon.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: Megaton Man in a crossover.
  • Room Full of Crazy: The home of Gertie, Jennifer's friend in the Savage World timeline.
  • Public Domain Character: Golden Age Daredevil and the Little Wise Guys, along with a few others.
  • Running Gag: The Atlanteans keep trying to invade the surface world, only to keep exploding from Explosive Decompression.
  • Ruritania: Lieberheim, a small country ruled by Doctor DoomDread Knight.
  • Scenery Censor: In play whenever a character suffers Clothing Damage and Magic Pants is averted. Averted after issue 220 or so for female characters.
  • Schmuck Bait: Dragon, before going to attack the Covenant of the Sword, leaves BatmanSgt. Marvel with a sealed envelope and tells him to open it if he doesn't hear from him in three days. He opens it as soon as Dragon leaves the room, only to find that the note says "Sgt Marvel, You prick— I knew you couldn't wait three days. I went after the bad guys. I'm on a rescue mission. You're the hotshot detective— you figure it out."
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Supernatural Powers!: The explicitly stated rationale of some of the criminal freaks.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: The SWAT team that accompanies Dragon to arrest Overlord has a couple of guys arguing about Forrest Gump.
  • Sex Equals Love: Dragon and Alex's stint as Friends with Benefits eventually ends when Alex wants something more and Dragon doesn't.
  • Shared Universe: Larsen considers all of comicdom to exist in the same universe, along with his own series (and any spin offs). This has led to creator owned characters such as Hellboy to make appearances and every few issues, there is a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo or two from characters who are most certainly not a part of the Marvel Universe or The DCU.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Alex keeps having to correct the Vicious Circle goons holding her hostage that she's not his girlfriend. At this point, she and Dragon are technically just friends with benefits.
  • Shifting Voice of Madness: The title character's Distaff Counterpart, She-Dragon, would to all appearances be talking to herself in different voices, all of whom, had their own distinct word balloons and personalities. She was believed to be crazy for years but it turned out, she was speaking to inter-dimensional beings.
  • Shoot the Hostage Taker: In the first issue, the hero is taking down a group of hostage takers, only for someone else to shoot the lead criminal: the vigilante known as Star.
  • Side Bet: In issue 64, Dragon asks out Marcy Howard, the assistant director of a commercial he's starring in. His friend Chester, who he leaves behind to babysit Angel, doesn't think she'll give him the time of day. When Dragon and Marcy get back and appear to have hit it off, Angel says "That's five bucks you owe me."
  • Society Is to Blame:
    • Powerhouse is really desperate to convince Dragon that Fantastic Racism against freaks makes it okay for him to establish a criminal syndicate.
    • The new Overlord makes the same claim, and actually backs it up pointing out that normal work isn't really an option for "Freaks" thanks to all the Fantastic Racism
  • Space Police: The Cosmic Cops
  • Spoof Aesop: After Dragon and Angel's run-in with Candyman:
    Dragon: Well, I hope you learned something today, Angel...
    Angel: Oh, I did. I learned was that you need good traction to run on chocolate.
    Dragon: That's not really what I meant...
    Angel: That, and it's possible to choke down broccoli if it's properly prepared.
  • Spotting the Thread: Dragon is approached on two separate occasions by imposters impersonating dead lovers of his. Both times, he can tell by their mannerisms, inflection, and choice of words that they're fakes.
  • Super Gender-Bender: Ann Stevens, a nurse who becomes a tall, blond, male superhero when she taps her wrists together.
  • Superpowerful Genetics: This series has been running in real time for nearly twenty years, and by now, there are plenty of second-generation superhumans running around.
  • Super-Soldier: Baby Darklord kidnaps women carrying superpowered fetuses from all over The Multiverse in order to create an army of Super Soldiers.
  • Super-Strength: There is a variety of powers on display here but nearly every superhuman has super strength to one degree or another. Since this is the Dragon's main power, it makes sense that it's the most common... well, second most common.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Dart 2 is an incredibly skilled martial expert, to the point that she poses a challenge to Dragon, and sometimes is even the one who walks away from their fights. Normal humans don't have chance against her in melee, and she's shown multiple times to slaughter her ways through hordes of police officers. She eventually meets her demise when an anonymous police sniper puts a bullet in her head from a distance at which her martial expertise is useless to her.
  • Take That!:
    • There have been several against John Byrne and Marvel Comics.
    • The Lawyer-Friendly Cameo of The Sandman (1989)... who Dragon promptly punches in the faced, calling him a "hair-teased Tim Burton reject" and saying that "any boob can come up with a cheap knock-off like you."
    • Issue 3 of the original miniseries has Bedrock/Badrock show up and start fighting dragon for seemingly no reason. The two brawl for a while before Bedrock stops and reveal it was just a test to see if he was Youngblood material and offers him to join them. At which point Dragon arrests him for for assaulting a police officer and all the property damage caused during their fight, all while also berating Bedrock and youngblood for being a bunch of fame obsessed idiots.
    • George W. Bush is usually depicted as incompetent, and also ready to wage a war on the floating city where the descendants of the Gods live, claiming they are of harbouring weapons of mass destruction (he's technically correct given the nature of some gods, but they were led by Hercules at the time).
    • Donald Trump orders all aliens living in the US to be expelled out of the country or dumped into Dimension X, with aliens in this case including normal humans born on a parallel Earth.
  • This Cannot Be!: spoken by some big-headed mind controller after Dragon figures out that he's the one controlling his opponent in the Forced Prize Fight.
  • Three Wishes: The wish-granting God Gun can only be fired three times per user.
  • Time Skip: 2 years pass in issue 96 while Dragon is trapped for what he perceives as a few minutes in a gelatinous bubble in the Void. This allows the Savage World's recovery from After the End to a normal state to happen entirely off-panel. Later, the world recovers from Mr. Glum's reign of terror during a 1 year Time Skip.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Malcolm's school bully Witherspoon. He constantly harasses Malcolm for apparently riding off his father's success, being a virgin, and according to him, a lame superhero, constantly egging him on. This is despite the fact that after punching him in the face, he broke his hand.
    Malcolm: You just punched a brick wall.
  • Transformation Ray: In the wake of Mars Attacks! Image Comics, there are Martian shrinking rays floating around. Dragon shrinks a bunch of villains with one, and later gets hit by one himself.
  • Unfortunate Names: The Chicago PD's roster has at one time or another included Rita Medermade, Ben Dover, Richard Head, Semore Heiney, Mike Rotch, Bea O'Problem, Mike Litoris, Eileen Ulick, Urassis Itchy, Anita Mann, Dick Hertz, Hugh Jass. There was also one-time appearance by a reporter named Michael Hunt, and a recurring talk-show host named Harry Paratestees.
    Dragon: [bursting into a seedy bar] I'm looking for Amanda Love!
    [bar patrons flee in a panic]
    Dragon: [facepalms] Oh, for Christ's sake...!
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Savage World Angel helps Mister Glum formulating a wish that allows him to effectively take over the Earth by pointing out to him the flaws in the various ideas he came up with first.
  • Warrior Undead: Dragon and Hell Boy get swallowed by a giant sea monster and must face the undead pirates who have been reduced to skeletons inside its belly.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Issue 76, the comic's setting suddenly changes to The Savage World, the page layout changes, the sex and profanity is gone (for a little while, at least), there are a lot more thought bubbles, and the comic acquires a new third-person Narrator.
    • As a rule, issues that are close to a multiple of 50 deal with a shocking event of sorts, such as one of Dragon's deaths or the return of a dead character (usually a duplicate from another world). Eventually lampshaded in issue #247, where Malcolm and Maxine are seen discussing with the authors of the in-universe Savage Dragon comic book, who ask Malcolm to drag a fight out because they want it to be the main event of issue #250.
  • Why Won't You Die?: Overlord's response after vaporizing a shapeshifting robot disguised as Lt. Darling for the second time is "How many times must I kill you?"
  • World in the Sky: The Void/Dimension-X appears to be a bunch of planets, planetoids and various debris floating around, with characters apparently able to breathe normally when floating between them.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Dart 2 has now issue with murdering the little wise guys in cold blood. Granted, they spent decades in suspended animation so their actual age is more that of an adult's, but they still look and act like children.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: After returning to the Savage World from an attempt to Set Right What Once Went Wrong on his Earth, Dragon has to destroy the machine that would've allowed him to return home in order to prevent Darklord from coming through, and the only characters capable of powering the machine have been abducted. And later, an Earth-Shattering Kaboom ensures that Dragon has no home world to return to.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Overlord and Darklord have each done this at one time or another.
  • Your Head Asplode: too many instances to list them all. Notable victims include Dart, Solar Man, Simon Kane, Chaos, the whole atlantean army and Dragon himself (more than once!)

Alternative Title(s): The Savage Dragon