Wednesday, November 13, 2019



[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

STORY: Gerry Duggan
ART: Mike Deodato, Jr.
COLORS: Frank Martin
LETTERS: VC's Travis Lanham
EDITOR: Tom Brevoort
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Akira Yoshida a.k.a. “C.B. Cebulski”
COVER: David Finch with Frank D'Armata
VARIANT COVERS: Simone Bianchi with Simone Peruzzi; Mike Deodato, Jr. with Frank Martin; Moebius; Skottie Young; Leinil Francis Yu with Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
36pp, Color, $4.99 U.S. (July 2019)

Rated “Parental Advisory”

Avengers created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

Chapter One: “Once Upon a Time in the City of Sickles”

The Avengers are Marvel Comics' premiere team of superheroes.  Known as “Earth's Mightiest Heroes,” the team made its debut in The Avengers #1 (cover dated:  September 1963) and were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Conan the Cimmerian is a “sword and sorcery” character created by Robert E. Howard (REH).  Conan first appeared in the pulp fiction magazine, Weird Tales (1932).  Conan lived in Howard's fictional “Hyborian Age” and was a mercenary, outlaw, pirate, thief, warrior, and eventually a king, but because of his tribal origins, some characters that encountered him thought of Conan as a barbarian.  In 1970, Marvel Comics brought Conan to the world of comic books with the series, Conan the Barbarian.

Conan the Barbarian teams-up with Wolverine, The Punisher, Venom, Elektra and Doctor Voodoo to give the Avengers a savage spin in the new comic book series, Savage Avengers.  This ongoing title is written by Gerry Duggan; drawn by Mike Deodato, Jr.; colored by Frank Martin; and lettered by Travis Lanham.  The premise of this team-up is that these heroes, anti-heroes, and villains must work together to put an end to the machinations of the evil wizards of Conan’s world who have start trading spells with The Hand, the infamous ninja organization.

Savage Avengers #1 (“Once Upon a Time in the City of Sickles”) opens with a famous opera singer who is kidnapped and spirited away to The Savage Land, specifically the “City of Sickles.”  There a menacing man known as the “Cult Leader” kills the opera singer and throws his body into a giant bowl.  This bowl is filled with the bloody and broken corpses of some of mankind's best artists, thinkers, and warriors.  But more is needed if this cult is going to summon a brutal dark god, “Jhoatun Lau, the Marrow God,” who resides on a mysterious planet beyond Pluto.

Meanwhile, Conan, looking for priceless jewel now in the Savage Land, runs into Wolverine.  Suddenly, two of the fiercest, most vicious, and most brutal warriors of two worlds will fight, apparently to the death.  Meanwhile, Frank Castle a.k.a. The Punisher makes a discovery that will summon his dark side.

I was interested in Savage Avengers when I read the first announcement about it, but I was not interested enough to read it right away.  I recently came upon a copy of Savage Avengers #1, and, after putting it off, decided to read it.  Wow, I must say I enjoyed it.  Most of this issue depicts a brutal, hack-and-slash, stab-and-stab-again battle between Conan and Wolverine.  Still, writer Gerry Duggan offers a dark and interesting scenario – a giant bowl containing a pool of blood and ofal – and a scary-sounding dark god.

As usual Mike Deodato, Jr. presents beautiful art.  His art is an illustrated symphony of sharp line work and precision crosshatching.  Deodato's graphical storytelling suggests classic horror comics, and Frank Martin's colors are the perfect accompaniment to Deodato's night music art.  Deodato and Martin's depiction of Jhoatun Lau makes the geek in me holler, Awesome!

Letter Travis Lanham also plays music, the ebb and flow offering different levels of intensity.  Lanham goes from intense and loud (Conan vs. Wolverine) to menacing intensity (the cult).  I'm shocked by how much I like Savage Avengers #1, but I am looking for more issues.

8 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

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