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June 12, 2008

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Last of the Dragons by Carl Potts and Denis O'neil

Many of you won’t be able to remember the fine magazine that Marvel published in the 80s that leads to the EPIC line of comics.
This graphic novel was the result of a compilation of the whole story of Takashi, a half American half Japanese Ninja who fights against a clan of Dragon Tamers. The story runs for about a year in Epic Magazine (1982) and then in 1988 a graphic novel was published.

This was the time of Prestige format and thin Graphic Novels. Marvel was eager to print as many novels as possible.

A young boy who lived with his mother in a port in Japan is beaten by his drunken father. He grew and become a teenager eager to participate in exciting experiences. He falls in love with a girl who is a member of a ninja clan.

Meanwhile, an old samurai is learning the ways of the dragon clan. His first encounter teaches him that kindness could lead this magnificent creatures to gentleness. But the leader of the monks who breeds and trains the dragons is a vicious person who wants power and more power.

This complex story collides when all parts meets. The ninja clan attacks the old samurai who is spying on the Dragon Clan. The young girl dies and Takashi believes that the samurai was responsible. The truth is that the girl kills herself after being caught. The Dragon Monks go to America, the Samurai goes after them and Takashi follows the Samurai.

In America, they found the native Americans in their villages. Takashi befriends with them while the Dragons terrorises and kills women and children. The Samurai interposes between the Dragons and the families. Takashi, discovers the truth and fights side by side with the Americans and the Samurai.

Dragons are hard to fight and only die when pierced in the eye. The battle is frenetic and beautiful. We can see Native Americans, Dragons, Monks, a samurai and a ninja all together. Nice idea.

Monks and Dragons lie defeated and the Samurai is deadly wounded on the ground. The final strike was his. Takashi decides to consecrate his life to take care of the remaining dragons to teach them to be peaceful far away from the Human influence in the mountains and woods of West America and Canada.

The authors.
The thinking mind after this story is Carl Potts, who plotted and pencil it. He was the editor of The Punisher, Cloak and Dagger and my favourites Power Pack and Alien Legion. I will post on them anytime soon.

Denis O’Neil give flesh to the plot by creating this incredible story. Green Lantern/Green Arrow and the beginning of the Miller Era in Daredevil are his most important and adknowledge work but he was one of the main writers in the seventies and eighties in the Comic Field.

Terry Austin is the inker and he is the inker of the most important comicbooks. He won the Eagle award more times than any other artist.

Marie Severin coloured the series and is a well remembered artist that was in the staff of E.C. Comics. The Gemstone new version of this Comics has removed their original colour, but they tried to be close to the original.

James Novak lettered the book and he can be remembered too by being the official letterer of the Creepshow movie and Elektra: Assasin.
As a curiosity. E. Nesbit write a short story of the same name.

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