Jab’s Image Deep Dive: Savage Dragon’s Rogues Gallery And Others!

Overlord exists as the first “Big Bad” in The Savage Dragon , though he’s very clearly drawn from the “List of Generic Super-Villain Cliches”- a big armored dude with a cape and a metal mask. I mean, it’s a big “Doctor Doom” thing and that’s it. He turned out to be a Mafiosi in his secret identity who realized that the “Freaks” of Chicago were soon becoming dominant figures in crime- smartening up quickly, he donned a metal costume and became the lead figure in this new order. His second-in-command was a master of cybernetics and built him a Doom-Knockoff suit that made him nearly invincible, and he led a crime cartel of super-powered freaks called the Vicious Circle. They ran roughshod over Chicago, maiming the hero SuperPatriot, until the Dragon joined the Chicago PD- in their first battle, a year into the comic’s run, Overlord brutally beat the hero, impaling him upon a church spire, making it clear who the superior was. Say what you will of Image Comics, but Erik Larsen knows him some damn story structure.

Overlord, a classic “Bad Boss” who was full of “You have failed me for the last time!”, killed one too many henchmen, leaving the Circle disgruntled, and so his #2 became Cyberface and formed a new group to oppose him. Cyberface then fed the police information on Overlord, allowing the Dragon to deactivate his armor’s defenses- a single shot to the mouth killed Overlord instantly. The villain semi-returned after allying with “The Fiend” (a demon), while both were in Hell, but this failed. He successfully downloaded his mind into his armor before death, leading to a return that way, too. In the rebooted continuity following the “DarkLord” situation, Overlord never faced the Dragon- he was instead killed by Cyberface in front of the rest of the Circle, and took over the group and Overlord’s armor himself.

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Cyberface was the #2 of Overlord’s operations, having worked with Cyberdata (from Cyberforce ) to build Overlord his invulnerable armor, but was cast aside as Overlord comprised an army of “Freaks” to fight for his Vicious Circle. Enraged, Khan used Cyberdata’s resources to turn him superhuman, and formed a rival group called The Annihilators, recruiting many of the Circle’s disgruntled agents to his cause. However, he was poisoned to death by an assassin- “Project: Born Again” (from Bloodstrike ) resurrected him to stand trial against Overlord, but he escaped custody and wandered around as a mentally unstable vagrant until some “Underground Freaks” took him in. Finally recovering, he took over Overlord’s organization, but his body grew increasingly unstable and it finally disintegrated- his head was saved by minion The Octopus, and placed on BrainiApe’s body while wearing Overlord’s armor. However, he was then killed by BrainiApe’s brain, better known as Adolf Hitler.

-The Dragon encountered him again while he was on the “Savage World” alternate Earth, as Cyberface was now the King of the World. After many long years, the Dragon led a successful rebellion to depose him, sending the villain scurrying. He took refuge in a cell in Vanguard’s ship, but Vanguard’s robotic ally feared Cyberface’s Technopathic powers would eventually control him, and instead executed the villain, firing his corpse into the sun.

Oh, that wacky Erik. Only he could have come up with this one- a Supermanalogue who has a chicken head. And of course he has a tragic backstory- he was a bullying victim whose entire family was driven to suicide by voices in their head. He went from foster home to foster home and was tormented by his school bullies at his convenience store job, too… and then the voices hit him, too. However, unlike his family, who killed themselves to get away from them, he instead LISTENED to them- he sought out his birthright, which was a mask that attached to his face, turning him into a chicken-man. Because, of course, he was a descendant of the Egyptian Sun God, Ra.

Calling himself Powerhouse, the lad became one of the Vicious Circle, acting as a mere goon. He then joined Cyberface’s organization, becoming a trusted lieutenant, and opposed the foolish, rebellious BrainiApe. Eventually, however, Cyberface was killed and Overlord resurrected, and Powerhouse was one of three men vying for power- he set up BrainiApe & Overlord for the police, thus taking charge with resourcefulness, intelligence, and pragmatism. He was surprisingly cordial with the Dragon, keeping things quiet in Chicago and helping when he could. However, when a Nega-Bomb went off, all he worked for was broken- the Vicious Circle mostly lost their powers- he and Fever (the only other member to keep their powers) agreed to help the heroes in a fight against the Covenant of the Sword, and he even joined Strikeforce!

In the new, post-“DarkLord” timeline, he mostly stuck with Herakles and other Gods on the “God Squad”, then rejoins the Vicious Circle. He seems to become a much more minor character after that.

What’s with the Man-Hands, though? Are they like that in every panel or just when Larsen’s getting weird?

Smasher is one of the mid-term “Dragon Love Interests”- she had married a man who turned abusive, and accidentally splattered his head with a single punch when she defended herself- the result of newfound mutant powers. She was framed for a series of murders, but the Dragon proved her innocence. She ended up on the “Strikeforce” team that replaced Youngblood, but was trapped in alternate realities for a while. When she returns, she and the Dragon get engaged (a manipulative effort on his part to get her to leave Strikeforce), but before the wedding, she is replaced by an imposter (called “Imposter”), who dies. Dragon mourns her, and is then surprised to be attacked by Smasher herself! Now brainwashed by the Covenant of the Sword, she fights the Dragon until being freed from their control. She dies when Universo destroys much of the Earth.

In the new Earth post-DarkLord, Smasher shows up alive, as she & Dragon had been through a much happier relationship. Despite their difficulties (as they have a very odd situation), the two marry. Both join the Liberty League. Eventually, she was rendered powerless during a battle with Negate, and disappeared after being hospitalized. She has yet to return in the comic.

Appearing semi-late in the Savage Dragon book was She-Dragon, your classic “Female Counterpart” to the hero. She started out as a hero called “Sensation”- a life-threatening disease was cured by an evil scienctist named the Creator, who gave her super-powers, but made her his sex slave. She was abandoned when five voices from another world started speaking through her, and she joined several of the Creator’s other agents, called the “Nixed Men”. She became obsessed with the Dragon after he defeated their group, who was beating up homeless people- she started calling herself the “She-Dragon” and grew a fin-like mohawk to “prove” herself to him. She actually became a pretty well-trained superhero, being mentored by others and joining the Strikeforce, but married a normal man after she was de-powered by a big “Nega-Bomb”.

When the Dragon moved to another Earth for a while, she turned up never having matured out of her “valley girl” days, but was abducted by an evil Space Emperor and was enslaved for years, but escaped before becoming a sex slave. She then got de-powered and joined the police force as a normal person.

3 thoughts on “Jab’s Image Deep Dive: Savage Dragon’s Rogues Gallery And Others!

    1. Unfortunately I haven’t read enough of the series to detail most of the guys. I did read the weird one where it’s basically hardcore porn that somehow Image is fine with releasing, lol.

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  1. Larsen was great at introducing villains in the background for a single panel or something and then making them huge threats later. Powerhouse and Abner Cadaver were both introduced that way.

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