**SPOILER DISCUSSED - THIS IS YOUR ONLY WARNING**
Savage Dragon #188 just came out yesterday, and some big changes took place. They're all leading up to something that Erik Larsen has been hinting at in the letter columns, interviews, and even on Facebook: Malcolm Dragon is going to take over the spotlight from Officer Dragon. Larsen calls it the "Batman Beyond phase" of the book - the next generation carrying on. To get to that though, the original star has to be moved aside, right? Well, if you've read yesterday's issue, and if you keep up with the Previews solicitations, then you'll know that Dragon has been sentenced to death!
I've been reading this title since the beginning, so for me, this isn't really a surprise. Larsen has always said that no character was safe in Savage Dragon, including Dragon himself. When he introduced Malcolm Dragon to the storyline, it was clear that this was a character who could continue the title, if Dragon were to die off. Factor into that equation that thirty days for the reader is thirty days for the characters, and that means that Dragon is getting - in the words of Danny Glover, in Lethal Weapon - "too old for this sh*t."
<-- So then there's this - Larsen's teaser for the cover of Savage Dragon #192 - Dragon being escorted to the electric chair. This is the end of Dragon? As commented on the Facebook posting by Larsen follower, Russell Burlingame, "How are they going to fit the skullcap thing on over his fin?"
Aside from that though, my question is: will it even work? He's been zapped by Rapture before and survived, although she was presumably not trying to kill him. Dragon has been impaled on more than one occasion, had his limbs ripped off multiple times, been nearly incinerated, had holes blown in him a few times, and has even had someone eat his brain, and he came back from all of it. I hadn't given it too much thought the last few months, but today I'm wondering: how do you kill this guy?
Will a sustained jolt of electricity do it? Will they stick him full of needles too? Will a well placed bullet from a firing squad do it? I rule out hanging - I'm pretty sure he'd just heal from it. So those are the traditional methods of capital punishment. If those were to fail, how do you lay Dragon down for the dirt nap?
It's got to be something pretty final. Is it like most quick-healing characters - is it as simple as cutting off his head? Do you drain him of his blood? Run over him with a steamroller? Call in Darklord to use his eyebeams to incinerate him (like he did to Rapture)? Teleport half of him to another dimension (like what happened to the adult Darklord)? Magic spell? Tie him up and throw him to the inmates?
Larsen's pretty well hinted that Dragon is doomed. That could change, but he has definitely said that Malcolm Dragon is going to become the center of the book. So the question is less "Will he," than "How will he?" Maybe multiple jolts from the chair will do it. Death sentences usually carry the verbage that the condemned suffer the means of execution, "until dead." So in short: if it don't work the first time, fry, fry again.
Ready or not, it's coming. As always, thanks for reading, and let me know what you think about Dragon's seeming death in the comments.