Move over, Alpha Flight and Justice League United -- it's time for North Force to step up as the next big Canadian superhero team. Image Comics today announced that Savage Dragon creator Erik Larsen will "rework and reformat" Savage Dragon #259, originally set for release in April, into North Force #0, which will be released the first week of May and which will be offered to readers for free. The issue's solicitation had previously teased that the issue would center on North Force, Canada's government-sponsored superhero team not unlike Freak Force, a team that used to feature Dragon, the original Savage Dragon lead and father to the series' current hero, Malcolm Dragon.
More specifically, North Force will attempt to recruit Malcolm Dragon to the team. In recent issues, Malcolm and the team have found themselves in an uneasy alliance, facing some very powerful foes, and standing shoulder to shoulder to do so -- all while trash-talking one another.
"When North Force was introduced in Savage Dragon #255 I knew they were something special and reader response has been overwhelming," Larsen said in a statement. "This representation of Savage Dragon #259 focuses on the team in a more in depth fashion with bio pages and more!"
According to Image, North Force #0 is "a new presentation of the highly collectible issue in the long running series, and will shine a spotlight on an all-new Canadian super team." Letters pages and the backmatter, like funnies pages, that Larsen consistently brings, have been replaced with bios for team members, helping bring casual fans up to speed with the characters in the book.
It appears as though the Savage Dragon issue will still be published, without the North Force-centric changes, so if you want to see the story earlier, you'll have to pay for it. Free copies will omit content created by creators other than Larsen, replacing it with the North Force backmatter.
The last time Savage Dragon ran as the Free Comic Day book for Image, when Larsen released Savage Dragon Legacy #1, the comic was actually printed well in advance of when the events would take place in the comics. The result was that, by the time Savage Dragon #211 finally hit the stands in early 2016, Larsen reworked and rewrote the whole thing to better service the needs of the ever-changing Savage Dragon storyline.
North Force #0 (Diamond Code MAR210085) will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, May 5.
North Force #0 will also be available for purchase across many digital platforms, including Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, comiXology, and Google Play.