Double Dragon #4
Marvel (October, 1991)“Dragon’s Flight” WRITER: Dwayne McDuffie PENCILER: Steven Butler INKER/COLORIST: Brad Vancata LETTERER: Pat Brosseau ASSISTANT EDITOR: Evan Skolnick EDITOR: Fabian Nicieza
Now empowered by the Dragon Force, the Dragon Statue goes on a rampage in Oligopolis, not just taking out bad guys but outright killing them. It falls upon the Double Dragon to take him down, even if it costs them the power. However, they can’t hurt it, even with their dragon-shaped fighter jet and napalm missiles. Then a guy named Stan arrives and gives them the secret (with snark that rivals some of my fellow reviewers and bloggers) to reclaiming the Dragon Force completely. He also reveals that he was married to their mother, making who he is obvious from both a story and meta perspective.
What they got right: This was my favorite issue of the miniseries. Forget how even further from the game this has gone…it’s two martial artists fighting a dragon with a jet fighter. You couldn’t press my buttons harder and make it work for people who aren’t me. Heck, I covered this in a Friday Night Fight! Billy gets some great lines, even when Marian is repeating them. (Billy’s easily my favorite character.) The Dragon’s Wing should have appeared on the disappointing show so we could have a toy of it.
What they got wrong: Yes, people, it’s THAT Stan Lee. It looks like Stan. He uses the “true believers” line, forced at that. I know it’s a Marvel comic but somebody still should have resisted, miniseries or not. He’s also a main character for the last two issues. And if Marian just learned about the Dragon’s Wing, when did Jimmy have time to tell her about the “dragon’s breath” missiles (“napalm with a hint of mint”?
Recommendation: Remembering that there isn’t a proper adaptation of the video game, if you’re curious about this miniseries I say start with this issue, even if we don’t get to see the Lee brothers beat up a hundred guys in this one.