A Town Called Dragon

A Town Called Dragon
A Town Called Dragon review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Legendary Comics - 978-1-937278-40-3
  • Release date: 2015
  • UPC: 9781937278403
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes

So why is there a town called Dragon in modern-day Colorado? Well, the truth as told by Judd Winick and Geoff Shaw is surprising and horrific. As far as the town knows, their history dates back to the 19th century when the skeletal remains of a group of Vikings were found, along with a story about them concealing a dragon’s egg after having killed the last of the beasts in their homeland. No-one believed that part, but we’re shown it, and in 2014 a bunch of Germans, who do believe that part find the egg.

Geoff Shaw is an artist who at the time would have really benefited from an art editor looking over his pages. The talent is there, the detail is there and the storytelling ability is there, but what prevents his pages being as good as they might be is the constant choice to show events in dramatic close-up. For any other artist this would be a time-saving device, but Shaw works hard at supplying detail on people’s clothing and their surroundings, and pulling the viewpoint back a little would have meant his pages looking more interesting. Especially with a dragon on the rampage.

Winick uses an extended opening chapter to lay out the past and introduce the cast and threat. As A Town Called Dragon begins the major problem is those eaterie and shop owners who just refuse to buy into the dragon theme the town uses to attract tourists. By the end of the second chapter they realise they have a slightly more urgent problem at hand.

Because he’s an experienced storyteller, Winick switches scenes well, always away from what the reader is expecting, but it’s not just an artificial injection of suspense. There’s a purpose to these scenes, either establishing a person’s capabilities or a limitation on the town. That achieved, Winick drops back into the film template of ordinary people faced with an extraordinary threat beyond any conventional means of being dealt with. He sustains the tension well, while adding extra levels to the primary cast to ensure we’ll miss them should they step in the dragon’s way, and has a good extra surprise at the end. It’s an enjoyable action thriller, although fantasy fans lured in by the promise of a dragon may not be as satisfied.