I’m no reptile…!

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MINK

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Realm: Unnamed (Presumed to be stereotypical fantasy world)
Featured In: Dragon Half (1988-1994)
Voiced By: Kotono Mitsuishi (Japanese) & Jessica Calvello (English)

Admittedly, Dragon Half is not one of the first anime I had ever seen, that honor goes to either Sailor Moon or Dragon Ball, but it is the first one I had ever purchased for myself and holds a nostalgic piece of my heart even to this day. Dragon Half is both a direct to video production, or more commonly referred to as OVA (original video animation), and a surprisingly long running manga that had seven volumes to its name. Not that many admittedly compared to the more mainstream ones but considering that it ran during the height of said mainstream manga, that’s quite a feat.

The story of Dragon Half follows after the titular heroine herself, a half dragon and half human girl named Mink and her quest to find the legendary potion that can turn her fully human. Unfortunately, the “People Potion” as it is called is in the hands of the most powerful demon in the whole land, a dreaded creature by name of Lord Azetodeth.

As epic as that sounds and looks thanks to the above image, Dragon Half is actually a tongue-in-cheek fantasy comedy that pokes fun at every anime and fantasy RPG cliché known with the most prevalent being in the major characters, including Mink herself.

For you see, Mink wants the potion solely so that she may earn the heart of a legendary pop singer and monster slayer, Dick Saucer. Unfortunately, Dick Saucer is not strictly a monster slayer as he is a dragon slayer due in part to his parents having been slain by an imperial red dragon, one that bore a remarkable resemblance to Mink’s grandfather…

Speaking of Mink’s lineage, contrary to popular assumption, her father is the one who is human whilst her mother is the “monster,” otherwise known as the dragon. What makes her parents’ all the more hilarious/unbelievably odd is that her father, Rouce, was once known as “The Red Lightning” for his uncanny speed that made him appear as a crimson bolt to his foes. Rouce could, and still can, move at such speeds that he can leave a bloodied “R” wound upon his opponents before they even realize he’s moving and, like Dick Saucer, he was an accomplished dragon slayer before meeting Mana, Mink’s mother, and running away with her.

In dragon form no less…

But I digress. Being a dragon half, Mink is distinctly unique even amongst other half humans in the manga. While mostly human in body shape, but Mink also has many draconic traits and abilities. Her traits include a small dragon’s tail, an equally small pair of wings that she can retract into her back but allow her to fly at incredible speeds, and a pair of horns upon her head. Aside from these features, the most distinguishing sign of her heritage is her blazing red hair and eyes, a hue that no full human could possess. Mink is able to breathe also impervious to fire to a limited degree and can breathe a rather impressive stream of it herself.

Yet, Mink’s most impressive ability is her strength that starts off as borderline draconic and eventually grows into being absolutely legendary. When we first meet Mink, she can break through stone golems without even realizing it. Mink’s strength grows in such incredible leaps and bounds that she actually undergoes ecdysis, a form of draconic metamorphosis by way of “shedding” the older skin, twice something that was only said in prophecy and myth amongst dragonkind.

However, there is one other thing about Mink’s character that needs to be said.

She’s jinxed.

No, seriously, like, she had to have been an incredibly bad person in her previous life because she honestly cannot catch a break. She inadvertently makes enemies wherever she goes and, for the longest time, every time she tried to paint herself in a better light to Dick Saucer she ended up making his opinion of her worse than it was previously.

The world that Mink inhabits is a literal stereotyped world of fantasy. I say stereotyped because, one common trope throughout the manga is that whatever Mink and her friends kill, they later cook and eat. This includes creatures that are sentient but are otherwise not human be they half breeds or baring remarkable resemblance to humans i.e. elves or dwarves.

Speaking of elves and dwarves, Mink’s two best friends happen to be an elf mage-in-training Lufa and a dwarf-half named Pia armed with a fairy mouse named Mappy. I mention these three because, in order, Lufa’s parents happen to be named Link and Zelda while Pia’s are Mario and Peach. As to Mappy, I say “armed” because despite being a creature inappropriately named fairy mouse, Mappy possesses the ability to shift between cute and cuddly teddy bear sized mouse to full grown grizzly with the attitude to match at the drop of a hat.

Overall, the manga and the anime both are quite enjoyable. Would I say that they’re the absolute best of their respected media? Hrm… I’d say yes if one were looking for a good laugh at the expense of many a cliché and stereotype but as far as story and character are concerned…

It is a product of its time and there are times where one feels the need to slap one’s face at the characters’ antics and responses to certain situations. Honestly, the second time Mink met Dick Saucer, she was so busy gushing over him that she failed to realize that he was trying to kill her for a solid five minutes before he called her out on being a dragon in disguise and not a half human.

Finally, I’ll wrap up this review with one final note. As many can attest, most anime themes, both opening and ending, have little to do with the actual anime itself. This has change in more recent years with some being so freaking good that they can be purchased on iTunes and the like but Dragon Half is perhaps the most infamous of them all as the ending theme is sung, via Mink herself, about an omelet sung to the music of Beethoven’s Symphony No.7, 4th Movement.

Don’t believe me, see for yourself

A Change in Venue

I have decided that, henceforth, any and all future reviews/posts of mine shall be done on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I’m making this change because I feel that I can put more effort into the reviews when I’m not scrambling to see them completed after a long, long time spent either at my job or at work with my novel. That and after today’s review, there will be another change in genre throughout the month of October. As many whom have followed me on Fanficiton.net are aware, I am a devote fan of Halloween, so what better way than to celebrate all of the ghastly ghouls and haunting hosts that I love and adore? But first, one last draconic character to review…

Now you’ve done it…

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NECROSAN


Titles:
Primal Beast God of Death
Realm: The Graveyard, Urth
Featured In: Primal Rage: The Avatars by John Vornholt

While many of my generation were exposed to the brutality of video games by the ever-popular Mortal Kombat series, my own first experience with a truly bloodthirsty fighting game was Primal Rage. The story of Primal Rage is an interesting one insomuch that it was first and foremost, an arcade game only before being released into home consoles like the Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis, but the real breadwinner was all of the commercial tie-ins to the game. Comic books, a board game, and action figures were released within years of the game. It was also a game that was rather notorious for having a fatality so utterly vulgur and disgusting that the Super Nintendo version had it removed.

And no, I’m not saying what it is, if anyone is that curious, look it up for yourselves and be disgusted at your own discretion.

While it sincerely looked like a sequel was to be made, with action figures of two new beast gods released with the rest, Atari felt that a sequel would not garner much in the way of sales so they cancelled it. However, Atari still felt it prudent to showcase the story of what it might have been in some form or another and thus we get Primal Rage: The Avatars.

The novel’s story is not much different from that of the game beyond a minute detail we’ll get to in a moment. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, tragedy befall earth via an impact from a meteor that resulted in such utter devastation that the very continents were shifted and torn asunder until only one new continent remained. One shaped like the skull of a Tyrannosaurus Rex no less. Fortunately, mankind managed to survive this Cataclysm and had come to rename their changed world to “Urth.” Unfortunately, the shifting of the continents and the loss of civilization as we know it was not the worst that would befall mankind.

For the Primal Beast Gods had been awakened from their eons of slumber at long last. These Primal Gods, otherwise known as “dino-gods,” are ancient creatures whom had someone attained a strange form of immortality unique to each of them and they had all, in turn, become a form of living embodiment.

Necrosan is one such Primal Beast God… and yet, he is not. For he was not sealed in the Earth nor had he awoke in the days following the Cataclysm. In point of fact, Necrosan was the one responsible for it in the first place with the meteor being an egg-like ship that carries him through the stars. Despite being alien in origin, Necrosan bares a horrible resemblance to dragons if dragons lacked anything remotely resembling skin and were composed entirely of bone, muscle, and sickly glowing organs.

Whereas most of the Primal Beast Gods are rather tame with their powers and abilities, Necrosan’s greatest and most terrifying ability is what he does to humans. Like most of the other dino-gods bare a select few, Necrosan has a taste for humans that shoots to beyond infinity in disgusting depravity. For while some of the dino-gods devour people for food, like Sauron as he is forever plagued by hunger to keep his immortality, or as punishment like the vile Diablo or wicked Vertigo, Necrosan eats humans to amass for himself an army.

An army of the undead…

Yep, you read that right folks, Necrosan is, essentially, an alien skeleton dragon who eats people and pukes up zombies.

The 90’s, gentlemen and ladies, it was an odd decade to say the least.

Still… despite being a very dangerous Primal Beast God the likes of which actually requires the cooperation of the dino-gods working together to defeat him, something that even the virtuous ones couldn’t accomplish during their thousand year reign, Necrosan is… Really stereotypical as far as villains but I’m not sure if that’s a result of a game that never came to be or a novel that was written to try and fill the gap it left behind.

Speaking of the novel, I’ll end this review with yet another fine piece of incredibly random trivia. The author of the book, John Vornholt, has had his hand in many literary works but he’s also been a screenwriter for a few notable cartoon series. The two that immediately caught my eye and had me laughing myself hoarse were the cartoon adaptations for The Super Mario Bros. 3 and Dennnis the Menace. Trust me, if anyone has ever read Primal Rage: The Avatars, you’d be laughing too. It’s like finding out that Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood was written by Stephen King.

Then again, with those puppets…

Hail to the Emperor…!

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DRAGON COMMANDER

wallpaper-5-Dragon-Commander-1600x1200
Realm:
Rivellon
Featured In: Divinity: Dragon Commander

The Dragon Commander is the titular character of the game Divinity: Dragon Commander that though is the latest of the game series chronologically takes place far into the past before any of them. The game in itself is remarkably akin to the likes of such games like Mass Effect in that everything that you, as the Dragon Commander, does affects everything from the effectiveness of your troops, to the admiration of your citizens, and even the love of your wife.

However, unlike Mass Effect, there is no true voice or form truly given to the Dragon Commander insomuch that while the player may chose how to respond to inquiries, decisions, and the like, they never truly hear the Dragon Commander speak them.

As to form, while there is a shadow of the Dragon Commander’s human form in the game’s cutscenes, such is not the case anywhere else beyond that. His draconic form is also variable by the player, given distinctive choses of three distinctive dragons to chose from though it is the first one, the “Sabre Dragon” that is shown in the cutscenes and box art the most.

The story of the Dragon Commander begins with the love affair of Sigurd, the Emperor of Rivellon, and Aurora, a dragon hailing from the realm of the ancients who came to Rivellon to satisfy her curiosity of how the once war-torn realm had been given peace through the united actions of Sigurd, the wizard Maxos, and a man known simply as the Architect. Disguised as a human woman, Aurora unwittingly allured the hearts of both the Emperor and the Architect but it was the king himself who in turn won her heart despite being a married man with three children of his own.

Upon the Dragon Commander’s birth however, Sigurd bade for Maxos to take the child away lest the boy meet an untimely end at the hand of Sigurd’s wife, the Queen. This would be both the Dragon Commander’s salvation and his doom as the Architect at last returned and poisoned Aurora with a toxin that he had to literally sell both his body and his soul to get from the very demon who taught him all the mechanical wonders that he supposedly invented.

Yet while the Architect had his final revenge, there was more that the demon desired of Rivellon. Walking into the dreams of Sigurd’s children, now grown and rulers of various divisions of the Empire, the demon Corvus drove them all to madness and bade them to murder their mother and father both before fighting for the right to rule all of Rivellon as was their dues as proper heirs to the throne. So the demon whispered and so it came to be and war once more returned to Rivellon.

Speaking of Rivellon, it is a most distinctive place with quite a few humanoid races. While there’s no clear cut dominance between them, in that one race holds higher power than another, they are each rather clear on how they stand and what their respected councilors represent in the game itself. In order, there are the humans which… in hindsight are never really talked about beyond that those not behind the Dragon Commander’s demented siblings, all stand gladly behind him.

Then there the imps whom are all goblin-like mechanics of the steampunk degree and are pretty much behind the Dragon Commander because of his flagship, the Raven, and all the technological marvels that they can create to aid him and the races of Rivellon including, but not limited to, techno-vegetables and mechanical limbs. While there was no goblin princess in the game itself, there was one intended… and that’s all I’m going to say on that matter thank you very much.

Next are the lizards that are basically humanoid reptiles with a huge superiority complex and are, generally, the most democratic minded of the races. The “princess” of the lizards is named Camilla who serves as a judge amongst her people and makes no qualms that her marriage to the Dragon Commander was a purely political one in her own opinion. She has the fewest options as far as where she develops as a character and are summed up as becoming either the “Letter of the Law” or the “Spirit of the Law.”

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Next are the dwarves, whom are all money grubbing politicians who’d sooner charge a mint than pay a dime. The princess of the dwarves is named Aida and though she desires to be the Dragon Commander’s wife for monetary gain, she has a huge chip on her shoulders thanks to the cruelty of her father. She is easily the most vindictive of the princesses and has a lot of different outcomes that generally boil down to her either being a crowned queen or a banished princess.

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The elves are… for lack of a better comparison, hippies. Not in the stereotypical sense but in the “chain themselves to a tree” kind of sense. What makes their princess, Lohannah, a delightful reprieve from all the others is that she is the only one who wants to marry the Dragon Commander for love and nothing else. While she has only two paths to end up, there is still quite a lot of character development placed upon Lohannah that results in her either becoming a pragmatic or spiritual individual by game’s end.

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Last, and certainly not least, are the undead who are all skeletons and are, ironically, the most religious race in the entire game and are borderline zealots. Though they all appear to be made of the more humanoid races, that being humans, elves, and possibly dwarves, the undead are all firmly united in their faiths though such is not the case for the princess Ophelia. For contrary to popular assumption, the undead can die by certain types of disease and one such plague afflicts Ophelia and has made her determined to find a way to save her life even if it means going against everything she and her people ever stood for. Of the princesses, she has the highest variety of outcomes ranging from simply dying, to becoming a quasi-cyborg, to a living girl, to a patchwork monster, and, surprisingly, the first vampire.

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Going back to the main character though, the Dragon Commander, being the result of a union between man and dragon, is neither one nor the other in the strictest sense of either species. He is what Maxos and many others call a “Dragon Knight,” one whom possesses a human’s heart but a dragon’s soul and is naturally capable of shifting between them both at the slightest whim.

As I stated earlier, there are three different dragons the player can chose for the Dragon Commander to become with the first being the Sabre Dragon. The Sabre Dragon is the most humanoid of the three, and is shown to stand upright or on all fours. Its most distinctive feature is the bladed claws of its wing fingers, but is otherwise a versatile and well-rounded dragon.

The second form is known as the Zephyr Dragon and bares a strong resemblance to the Metallic Dragons of Dungeons & Dragons renown in that its wings give it a distinctive kite-like shape. Its greatest strength likes not in physical prowess but in magical abilities and is also the fastest of the three draconic forms.

The last form is that of the Mountain Dragon, a creature that literally looks like a fusion of a dragon and a bulldog with the attitude to match. Whereas the Zephyr Dragon focuses on magic and attacking from a distance, the Mountain Dragon is physical might personified and is geared towards direct confrontations but is also the slowest of the three despite the one addition all three dragon forms share.

A jetpack.

No, I kid you not, the Dragon Commander’s first gift from his chief engineer, an imp of all things, is a jetpack.

It is both ridiculously awesome and awesomely ridiculous.

As a character, the Dragon Commander is based solely upon the choices and actions undertaken by the player and so can be considered to be a literal clone of the player’s own self. When I said that this game featured everything one could possibly conceive in the role of an aspiring emperor, I meant it. There is nothing that this game won’t touch upon and I can’t even begin to address them all.

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I have become… something more…

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DRAGON MAN


Premiered:
Fantastic Four #35 (1965)
Realm:
Earth-616 (Mainstream Marvel Universe)
Affiliation: Future Foundation
Featured In: Fantastic Four (Comics), Ultimate Spider-Man (Cartoon)

Dragon Man, despite the name, is neither a man nor a dragon but was originally an android created by Professor Gregson Gilber of Empire State University and had been created solely as an experiment that the professor secretly hoped would see to the machine becoming fully alive. Why on Earth he would create something that resembled more of a gargoyle than an actual dragon, let alone a strange human hybrid, I’ve the foggiest.

The professor ultimately got his wish via the aid of the wicked alchemist Diablo via a series of alchemic potions that gave the android a form of quasi-sentience and actual life insomuch that while it was still a machine in body, it now possessed something akin to a soul. Whether or not this makes Dragon Man something akin to a homunculus I cannot say for certain as such monstrosities of nature were meant to be the absolute alchemic recreation of human life. Dragon Man is, to his core, a machine. An incredibly empowered machine the likes of which make me question why the heck his creator was doing wasting his time at teaching in a university but a machine nonetheless.

To begin the short but quite surprising list of abilities that Dragon Man possesses, his musculature structure is great enough that he can life up to an excess of one hundred tons and has been able to stand claw-to-fist with the likes of the Thing and Hercules. However, Dragon Man’s synthetic musculature is also capable of becoming fatigue but only after a period of several days before any actual impairment occurs.

Dragon Man’s skin is made up of organic polymers that are capable of resisting ballistic impacts of 300 pound of TNT and most bullets. Its also thick enough that he can withstand extreme temperatures of -200° to 1,000°+ Fahrenheit and atmospheric pressure ranging from .02 to 12.5. His wings don’t actually empower his flight but actually aid him in the air by way of stability and direction. His actual method of flight is provided by an internal antigravity generator that allows him to reach heights of 1,800 feet but given his heavy weight can only reach a speed of 30 miles per hour.

Again, this was a university professor’s creation.

Sweet Sugar Honey Ice Tea, people.

Whether thanks to his creator’s designs or by the miracle of the alchemic potions used to grant him life, Dragon Man rejuvenates his energies by way of eating… well, anything he finds edible. Thank goodness he hasn’t developed a taste for humans…

What I find to be incredibly hilarious about Dragon Man is that he breathes fire by way of the “traditionally scientific” method that most modern media has depicted of dragons. Basically, Dragon Man’s stomach uses the leftover wastes to produce methane gas that once ignited by a special set of teeth at the back of his jaw can reach temperatures of 8,000° F. That’s hot enough to instantly melt iron by the way. On a full tank, Dragon Man can sustain this flame for a full seven minutes before he needs to refuel.

Whence compared to the likes of Fin Fang Foom and Lockheed, Dragon Man is… a bit player. True, while Lockheed and Fin Fang Foom are not the first to come to mind when thinking of Marvel Comics let alone the X-Men in Lockheed’s case or Iron Man in Foom’s, Dragon Man is… He’s just too forgettable and a history arc that bounces him, quite literally, all over creation and back again. In point of fact, though again I’m not much of a comic book enthusiast as others, I’ve only ever read one issue that even had Dragon Man in it and that was more of a cameo than anything else.

Still it should be noted that compared to the savage beast he was before, Dragon Man has since grown by whole leaps and bounds thanks to the actions of Valeria Richards, daughter of Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman. Born with a superior intellect the likes of which make me pray most fervently that she never turns dark, Valeria was able to not only reprogram Dragon Man firmly to the side of good but increased his intelligence to a point where he has become an avid member of the Future Foundation.

Oh, and a pacifist too.

This planet is ours now…

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FIN FANG FOOM


Real Name:
Unpronounceable
Name Meaning:
He Whose Limbs Shatter Mountains and Whose Back Scrapes the Sun (Rough Translation)
Species: Makluan
Home Planet:
Kakaranthara, Andromeda Galaxy
Realm:
Earth-616 (Mainstream Marvel Universe)
Featured in: Pet Avengers vs Avengers, Iron Man (Comics/Cartoon)
Voiced By: Neil Ross (Iron Man Cartoon)

Fin Fang Foom, like Lockheed of the X-Men/Pet Avengers, is an alien dragon but whereas Lockheed is the atypical dragon as far as form and function are concerned, there is no such thing as atypical for the likes of Fin Fang Foom. To start with, he is a member of an alien race known as the Makluan of the planet Kakaranthara located somewhere in the reaches of the Andromeda Galaxy. As a species, Makluans are all draconic in form insomuch that each and every member of them all resemble a dragon from Earth legends from the East to the West with Fin Fang Foom himself resembling an anthropomorphic Chinese dragon wearing purple shorts.

No. I have no idea as to why just… just go with it people…

What I found to be particularly interesting about Makluans is that they don’t actually breathe fire but a type of combustible mist that is in actuality a highly corrosive acid. The strength of this combustible mist is variable by the Makluan but Foom himself has shown that he can channel it into powerful, combustible blasts.

Makluans are also incredibly hardy with some members, such as Fin Fang Foom himself, being nigh immortal. If their spirits be strong enough, Makluans regenerate their bodies so long as their consciousness finds a suitable host to house them before restoring their original bodies by means of amassing enough quantities of similar DNA. Fin Fang Foom once had to do this when he had been slain by the joint efforts of the Mandarin and Iron Man.

Speaking of the Mandarin, those “Rings of Power” of his? They belonged to Fin Fang Foom or, more specifically, he and his people whom had arrived on Earth somewhere about 4,500 years ago. Originally, Fin Fang Foom and a select number of his kin whom shared his beliefs intended to conquer Earth and had, in a way, succeeded. For a time, they were revered before being nearly driven into extinction with many being forced to disguise themselves as humans. Fin Fang Foom, refusing to allow such an indignity to befall him, was instead tricked into eating a rare herb that would put him into a state of hibernation for several centuries to come.

Fin Fang Foom has also demonstrated abilities that could be almost magical in nature though are likely an inherent ability distinct to his race. Sad as it is for me to admit, magic, as far as Marvel and even DC Comics are concerned, has undergone so many changes and retcons it’s hard to keep track of what is actual magic versus technology/abilities beyond our mere mortal comprehension.

I’m looking at you Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Fin Fang Foom is… an odd character to say the least. It’s difficult to say if he is outright evil or not for though he has done bad things, he has never crossed certain lines. Case in point, in his more recent return involving the Pet Avengers and the Avengers themselves, Fin Fang Foom had been confronted by the likes of Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America (or Bucky as the case actually was at the time). Rather than kill them for interrupting him and despite assuring them that despite their peaceful intentions that they would die, Fin Fang Foom chose instead to turn them into frogs.

There’s a joke hidden in there somewhere, I just know it…

Fin Fang Foom is a bad person but… I can’t in good conscience call him a villain to the same degree as characters like Carnage or the Red Skull. He has done bad things but in the end, there were done strictly for the well being of his people be it because he believed himself to be the last or, again in a recent storyline, to continue their legacy. As it turns out, Makluans eggs can only hatch after hundreds of years incubating in a specialized pocket near the core of a planet as the heat and pressure on the surface can kill the young inside.

Upon approaching their time to hatching, a psionic signal is sent out amongst the adult Makluans on or near the planet and the adults must find the eggs and carry them back out into the depths of space in order for them to hatch. Of course, the eggs are still sensitive to the outside heat and pressure so a Makluan must first devour them and protect them before expelling them out in a cloud of their combustible mist, weakening the outer eggshell enough for the young within to finish the rest on their own.

If Fin Fang Foom is guilty of anything it is arrogance. The entire affair involving the Makluan hatchlings that ultimately led to the Avengers and Pet Avengers fighting with one another could have been avoided if Fin Fang Foom had simply explained the situation. Instead, he kept instigating if not outright aggravating the situation by way of speaking in a way that could be taken the wrong way. True, he and his kin were pressed for the time but would it have been so hard to simply say that his young were in danger of dying and they needed to be excavated from near Earth’s core posthaste?

Ah well, even if the situation had begun badly, at least it ended well for all parties involved. The Makluan hatchlings were born and they alongside their parents left for the stars once more, the Pet Avengers were officially recognized by the Avengers and given their own lucrative mansion besides the Avengers’ own, and Fin Fang Foom…

Well, in the immortal words of Throg, “he has found peace.”

Oh, here we go…

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LOCKHEED

 

Real Name: Unknown
Age: 170 (Human Years?)
Home Planet:
Unknown
Realm:
Earth-616 (Mainstream Marvel Universe)
Member of: Pet Avengers, X-Men, S.W.O.R.D.
Featured in: Pet Avengers, S.W.O.R.D.

I’ll admit, I’m a fan of comic books and a longtime fan of the Marvel universe with characters like Spider-Man and Nightcrawler being the first to come to the forefront of my mind when I think of comic book heroes. Much its rival company DC Comics, Marvel has also created many a draconic character but unlike DC Comics, of whom I cannot honestly recall any dragons, there are three that come immediately to mind from Marvel. While each of these dragons are distinctive to themselves they all share one common trait.

They are not dragons.

Not as the common belief depicts them at any rate. In the case of Lockheed, he is a dragon in body but not so in stature, being close to the size of a large house cat if anything else. He is also not a native resident of Earth but hails from a, thus-far unnamed, planet that houses his species and was an accomplished individual of his kind. Unfortunately, his race has something of a hive mind mentality insomuch that while Lockheed accomplished many great deeds, his presence alone was enough to send members of the Brood fleeing for the hills.

Just to clarify for those unaware, the Brood is a race of demonic alien insects on steroids with a reproduction style that is reminiscent to those of the Xenomorphs. They also take an extreme delight in the suffering of their victims. They average around eight feet in height and have fought claw-to-fist with heroes like Wolverine and Ms. Marvel. But they ran from Lockheed, a dragon no bigger than a housecat. Though, to be fair, even when drunk out of his little mind, Lockheed proved to be a capable enough fighter to successfully fend off individuals specifically trained and geared towards capturing/incapacitating him.

That’s the sound of a dragon’s ego hitting the all-time peak by the way.

Found on the alien world by Kitty Pryde, the young X-Man secreted Lockheed away to the Institute and managed to successfully ensure his status as a pet for several long years as no one, not even Xavier, would realize the truth of Lockheed’s origins let alone his sentience. As a species, Lockheed’s species are highly empathic and have mental shields strong enough to repel the likes of Professor Xavier from reading their minds.

Professor Xavier is one of the most powerful telepaths in comic book history.

Dang, Lockheed is getting OP here isn’t he?

Well, unfortunately, Lockheed is not the typical Gary Stu type. As I had mentioned earlier, thanks to his individuality attitude and wishes, Lockheed was banished by his people and he had kept his secret from Kitty Pryde for several years. In point of fact, the only reason it was revealed at all to her was because of the involvement of the Sentient World Observation and Response Department.

SWORD for short and yes, it is an offspring organization born from SHIELD but is in no way connected to them beyond that.

SWORD had approached the X-Men, that is to say forced them, into aiding them in stopping another attempt at destroying Earth. It was then that the X-Men, and Kitty, learned that Lockheed was not only intelligent but was also a mole for several years. Though he had only done so out of duty towards his home world, to which SWORD had promised aid, the betrayal still stung deep in the heart of Kitty Pryde and made all the worse for poor Lockheed when it appeared that Kitty had sacrificed her life in defense of Earth.

This especially wounded Lockheed to the point where his small drinking problem grew exponentially because he, in his own words, felt that Kitty was his kindred spirit. That there’s was a love truly true and combining his betrayal, he and Kitty coming back together as friends and Kitty’s “death” shortly thereafter…

It was a miracle that the little guy’s heart hadn’t shattered completely by that point.

In more recent times, Lockheed has found new friends and allies in the appropriately named Pet Avengers, a team of animal sidekicks that together had accomplished… quite a lot actually. Brought together by a combined effort of Lockjaw and Throg, the Pet Avengers sought to find the Infinity Gems. While they did manage this, they also managed to bring the attention of Thanos but together managed to defeat him and send him packing to an alternate dimension

However, Lockheed’s loyalty was again tested in a more recent venture that had him fighting not only against his allies but the Avengers themselves. Yet it was not for groups like the X-Men or even SWORD that brought this sudden and seemingly inexplicable change in the alien dragon, but a single individual.

I’ll give you three guesses…

Game on…!

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SPYRO


Realm:
Skylands (Currently)
Featured in: Spyro the Dragon, Legends of Spyro, Skylanders, etc.
Voiced By: Elijah Wood (Legend of Spyro) Josh Keaton (Skylanders)

I’m sure that there isn’t a video gamer out there that hasn’t heard the name of Spyro the Dragon. He was, and still kind of, a staple character for the Sony Playstation systems now that a certain bandicoot has gone to the wayside. Whereas Nintendo has Mario, Sega has Sonic, for the longest time, Playstation had Spyro. Up until more recent years at any rate but that’s neither here nor there.

Contrary to Mario, whom has never truly had a straight up storyline from game to game beyond Bowser’s obsession with Peach and locking her in a variety of towers, Spyro does in fact have a storyline and, like Sonic, has more than one to his name.

The first generation of Spyro consists entirely of the games that premiered in my generation, otherwise known as the PS1 to the younger masses. In those particular games, Spyro was simply a dragon whose circumstances allowed him to combat against the various evils attacking his world. In essence, far more like Mario insomuch that little to nothing made sense in the grand scheme of characters and monsters never mind the actual storyline.

Out of everything that came from the original series, the one thing that I remember most above all others was the constant joy one had with sheep. Sheep, in most Spyro games, are a source of income or health depending on the game in question. The one thing that is constant throughout is that they are so far down on the bottom of the totem pole they might as well be sitting under it. Seriously, I played most of the original Spyro games and the only thing that I can remember at all about any of them was how much fun it was chasing those fluffy things down and burning the ever-loving sheepskin out of ‘em.

However, much like Sonic the Hedgehog is currently undergoing, Spyro received a serious makeover/reboot in the form of a trilogy known simply as The Legends of Spyro. Here is where most, if not all, of Spyro’s true character comes to shine and where we get a full understanding as to why he and no other dragon, is capable of combating such great evils.

To put it simply, it’s because he’s purple.

Nope, nothing else, it’s because he’s purple as a grape. Dragons, in the Legends trilogy and in Skylanders are all aligned to certain elements based primarily upon the colors of their scales. Red for fire, blue for ice, green for earth, etc. In the case of the exceedingly rare purple-scaled dragons, they are the essential culmination of all these elements made whole in the form of pure, raw, magic.

Basically, whereas most dragons are only ever capable of learning one particular element and its variety of uses, Spyro can learn and use them all with the only limit being his own experience and stamina. It is even mentioned, and a major plot point, that Spyro can even learn to bend the very sands of time to his bidding, a feat that no one thought possible.

The Legends trilogy is often proclaimed as being the most tedious and unimaginative as far as gameplay is concerned but its story is never doubted as being one of the greats. The voice acting is superb and the story itself is one that I shan’t spoil for anyone beyond saying that it is truly a game trilogy that could have been made into a film. No, seriously, they were plans to make an actual Spyro animated film based on the second generation of games but it eventually fell through when Activision decided to go in an entirely different direction with Spyro.

This of course leads to the current incarnation of Spyro seen in the Skylanders game series. Now, I’m not going to lie, I both love and hate these games. I love them for their original character designs and playability that is, overall, both fun and distinctive. I hate them though because they have made far too many of those little guys for me to keep track of and please forbid any one of them having a name that isn’t something of a pun towards who/what they are.

Spyro himself is both changed and unchanged insomuch that his design is made to fit in with the rest of the characters, making him look more childish but a heck of a lot more draconic in my opinion, but his backstory is… Not really touched upon. All that we learn of it is what can be read either in game or in a game guide, both of which only tell the bare necessities of the events that transpired in the Legends trilogy. Nothing in the games outright indicates anything of Spyro’s character beyond him likely being a favored Skylander to the Portal Master Eon.

That’s another element that I dislike in the Skylanders games frankly. What’s the point of having such a wide variety of character to play as when they are just carbon cutouts in the games? There is nothing, and I mean nothing that ever occurs to make the gameplay distinctive based on the chosen Skylander.

I’d settle for someone shouting, “You the dragon, Spyro!” at this point.

And now, my friends, a dragon’s toast…!

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BASILGARRAD

Name Meaning: Basil the Great Heart
Titles:
Wings of Peace, The Greatest Dragon of All Time
Realm:
The Great Tree of Avalon
Featured in: Merlin’s Dragon by T.A. Barron

Basilgarrad, or simply Basil to his friends, is a dragon with a remarkable history behind him never mind those closest to him. As the title of his featured book might suggest, Basil is a close friend of Merlin the wizard, specifically the Merlin told of in T.A. Barron’s The Lost Years of Merlin and The Great Tree of Avalon series. More to the point, it was the book Merlin’s Dragon, that begun the trilogy that used the same name. As a whole, the books are in order of: The Lost Years of Merlin Series, Merlin’s Dragon Trilogy, and The Great Tree of Avalon Trilogy though are so incredibly well written that one doesn’t need to strictly read any particular one to understand the gist of what is occurring in any one novel.

Though it certainly does help.

Especially considering that all of the books are a fantastical read the likes of which I’ve yet to see of any writer in this age. I say this because of T.A. Barron’s imagination that lead to an imagining of Avalon I doubt any one else could conceive let alone define so that it makes some lick of sense.

Avalon, in the works of T.A. Barron is both a place… and a tree. See, the basic backstory of Avalon summed up in as few words as possible is that Merlin planted a seed given to him by powers beyond our mortal comprehension and from that tree grew Avalon: The World Between All Worlds. Avalon itself is split into three distinctive sections: its roots, its trunk, and its branches. The seven roots are the… “Midgard” as it were of Avalon, the various realms that mortal creatures inhabit and are only divided based on whichever of the seven elements empowers their respected environments.

It was deep in the reaches of one root, which properly translated is named “Woodroot” where Basil was hatched from an egg no bigger than a baby’s pinky nail. Throughout his journey to save the life of Merlin the wizard, Basil was tasked to take a swallow of each respected realms soil, its essence, into himself. Something that he didn’t understand at the time but did so regardless and it was a good thing he had, for surely he’d never become what he truly was meant to be.

Upon his hatching, Basil was a creature that no one, not even those who’ve lived long enough to seen just about everything, could name. For you see, despite living for quite some time before his adventure that led to the saving of Merlin and Avalon. Like, no bigger than a butterfly tiny. Like, he looked more like a common lizard with crumpled leafs for wings than a proper dragon of any sort. It was until he saved Merlin’s life and the wizard rewarded him by growing him to Basil’s adult size that the truth of his nature was revealed.

Basilgarrad is not a mere dragon but the first, the last, and likely the only of his kind to ever exist. Whereas most dragons were either of fire or water, Basilgarrad is of élano, the sum of all seven sacred elements combined into one, the most powerful magic to be found in any world, and the very life’s blood of Avalon itself. As a élanodragon, Basilgarrad is incredibly long lived to a point where he will likely be the last living thing on Avalon before the world itself crumbled. His scales are infused with that same emerald green energies, are incredibly sturdy to a point where they can withstand practically anything. Yet what makes Basilgarrad a sight amongst most dragons is his gargantuan size.

Though never outright stated, Basil has been described as being large enough to swallow a village with ease, his chest making most hillsides look small, and earholes large enough for a full grown man to climb into with frightening ease. In point of fact, it has been described on many a page that Basil’s great wings are large enough to literally engulf a fire dragon and toss them away like they were nothing more than fluffs of cotton. A single smack of his tail was all that was needed to completely level a generous length of forest.

Needless to say, Basilgarrad is, if nothing else, the world’s largest dragon.

Yet there is one unbelievable quirk that Basilgarrad possesses. One that actually earned him his original name of Basil and that quirk is his ability to cast smells. Yes, whereas Merlin can cast spells, Basil, the Wings of Peace, can cast forth smells. From the sweet tang of lemongrass to the deliciously sweet scents of freshly poured honey, so long as Basil himself has smelled it, he can recreate it perfectly and in enough abundance to fool even a giant when he was but the size of a butterfly.

However, despite all of Basil’s incredible prowess and feats, nothing is more renown about him than the size of his heart. Whether at his tinier size or his mountainous large stature, Basil has a heart greater than the world itself and cares about everyone in it from the small and meek to the large and gruff. Admittedly, Basil tends to look after the littler ones first before anyone else but considering the majority of his life had been spent at such a size himself, he has a better perspective of what such a life can entail.

While I did say that I was torn between having Kazul or Shimmer as being made in film, I can say wholeheartedly that I would pay top dollar to see Basilgarrad be brought to life be it through a live action or animated retelling. However, I sincerely doubt such a thing could occur simply for the sheer enormity that is the entirety of the Avalon book series that is, at the time of this writing, a sum total of eleven books, not including one informative guide.

Goodness knows how many movies that would become considering the popular trend of stretching out one book into multiple films as of late…

Still… if anyone can do it, Disney could

Dragon up…!

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JAKE LONG


Full Name:
Jacob Luke Long
Titles:
The American Dragon
Realm:
New York City
Featured in: American Dragon: Jake Long (2005-2007)
Voiced By: Dante Basco

American Dragon: Jake Long was a cartoon that was infamous in two particular ways. The first being that it shared many similarities with another cartoon that aired, quite literally, at the same time on Cartoon Network but that can be blamed more on similar thought processes. That or someone switching teams somewhere but that’s more rumors than actual fact at this point.

The second, and far more obvious, trait was the drastic artistic style change between seasons one and two of the show. Changes that would have been minute, rather a lot like the change of art style for the 90’s Batman cartoons to match that of Superman but unfortunately… Well, we’ll get to that in a minute.

Originally, I hadn’t planned on doing a review for Jake as his particular species of dragon are a bit quirky to say the least. Dragons in his world are more akin to shape-shifters than proper dragons in that they are born and raised as humans that can transform into a more draconic form. However, this ability is not wholly magical nor is it fully genetic as, for reasons that are never really delved into, Jake’s mother can’t turn into a dragon nor does she possess any draconic powers despite her father, Jake’s grandfather, being able to.

Another odd bit of distinction is that dragons are diverse in their shape and coloration with the most obvious differences being shown in Jake and his grandfather Lao Shi. Jake’s grandfather, the former Hong Kong Dragon, has the form of a Chinese dragon, while Jake was, initially, a western dragon. In the world of Jake Long, dragons serve as protectors/mediators of the magical world, which is oftentimes hidden in plain sight rather like the aliens of M.I.B. now that I think about it… What makes it particularly odd, and a bit stupid in my opinion, is that there is only one dragon for any set country designated as the official protector.

More than one dragon can live in that country and should help if the situation calls for it but are otherwise not required to be the one in charge of any SNAFUs that might occur. I can understand the need of designating dragon protectors in set places like Hong Kong or Atlantis but for an entire country? Particularly those who are still in middle school no less?

Jake himself is the stereotypical New York teenager. I say this because due to both Dante Basco’s adlibbing and the writers of the show that wanted to emphasize Jake being a wannabe MTV gangsta. I’m not going to lie, I had to look up a lot of the slang that Jake was using, when I could understand the words that were coming out of his mouth never mind those of his friends. Besides his absurdly overused street slang, he’s the atypical teenager trying to find his place in the world and learning several life lessons along the way. Particularly, if not especially, when he’s trying to use his abilities for personal gain in some manner.

As a dragon, Jake’s form was initially that of a western dragon and is drastically bigger than his human form. That was an aspect of the show that I actually found to be quite humorous really. Jake, as a human, is quite short for his age with most others, humans and magical creatures alike, being quite taller than him whereas his dragon form puts him somewhere close to six or seven feet tall not including his spikes. With season two however…

He became an eastern dragon with wings and rather silly looking as well. In season one, Jake’s dragon form was drastically different than his human body with the only common trait between them being the green highlights in his hair and spikes. In season two, it honestly looks like Jake’s human head was given a beak and placed on the body of an eastern dragon. The main reason that was given for this drastic change was that it was felt that Jake’s initial dragon body was too powerful looking compared to his actual age and experience and so they turned him into a lankier and more inexperienced looking dragon to emphasize this point.

Seriously?

I just… No. No, that makes no sense to me. Jake Long is a dragon, no matter what way you paint it he’s still going to be drastically more powerful than his human form whether you give him a buff body or not. While you can change a cartoon’s art style one cannot change the appearance of its main characters so drastically without serious fallout. It’s one thing to change a hero’s costume but you cannot change a character’s freaking species between seasons.

 

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