Story: Judd Winick
Art: Geoff Shaw, Jamie Grant
STAY ALERT, STAY CALM, every hunter knows, ready to act in an instant to stand and reach one’s aim without flinching even should the target be a dragon with monstrous teeth in your face. These are the cool rangers prepared for ambush who strode with Garibaldi through Uruguayan jungles during civil war, or Daniel Boone ranging the Kentucky woods, or as shown here, among stalwart ancient Vikings implanted in modern hometown versions of themselves in the current era schlepping through modern society, yet solidly true to themselves, ready to stand and defeat the dragon destined to come.
This story by Judd Winick, and art by penciler Geoff Shaw and colorist Jamie Grant absorbs attention from the first instant without hesitation. An air of suspense hangs over every page, so it seems there must be more, some fascinating mystery to reveal. Yet it all revolves around the handful of heroes who stand to face the dragon born from an unearthed egg in a mountainous cavern just outside of town.
And this is all there is to the plot really, etching each of the characters and their eventual teamwork in gradual grooves, combining a wonderful diversity of talents to face down a real, live dragon, and thus, the legends in a town called Dragon come true.
The heroes achieve, and those that survive resume their lives. I tend to expect my heroes to stay heroic, like we sometimes see in geriatric versions of famous characters using their fading skills to keep serving the good: “Dang, where was I?”
I know I am sometimes surprised, maybe disappointed when I see a hero retire to start shuffling around the garden like Candide, content to believe this is unmovably the best of all possible worlds. Yet this is what the heroes here do, as I recently discovered Daniel Boone did, too, spending his last twenty years from age 65 in a small cabin along the Missouri River, near his son, in the way outback across the Mississippi where few could find him, ever alert and calm hunting and trapping in the woods, though his place in history ceased. One might wonder where today we find our retreated heroes, if this tale be an augury, when the next dragon hatches nearby. The message here is that you have to stay ready, and you stay ready best by staying yourself. Wake up now, not later.