Savage Avengers is that book that gives a dose of unadulterated violence some might need in their day. Given the heroes involved — Punisher, Venom, Conan, Elektra, and Wolverine to name a few, –it’s a stacked deck as far as blood-spurting action goes. In the second issue out today readers can enjoy a new context and a lot more blood.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
The Hand has teamed up with the evil wizards of the Hyborian Age to summon a death god from a celestial hell. The only thing standing between Earth and destruction is the Savage Avengers: Conan, Wolverine, Punisher and Voodoo. Plus: Logan donates blood, changing one Avenger forever. And Conan discovers a dark secret squirming in a genie bottle. Your new favorite ongoing series is knives out in its second chapter. Parental Advisory
Why does this matter?
This series had me sold when I heard Conan the Barbarian would be actually fighting alongside these longstanding heroes. Add in that this is Michael Deodato Jr.’s last Marvel work and it’s a must-read for longtime readers.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue opens with a World War II pilot crash landing in the Savage Land. Once grounded he meets Kulan Gath, the villain of this series, and a bit of context is added to the overarching plot. This immediately cuts to Wolverine slicing and dicing as he attempts to save Brother Voodoo in an intense sequence. This issue also contains a key scene with Punisher and another with Conan who confronts Gath directly. Gerry Duggan paces this issue well jumping from one violent scene to the next further proving the title is fitting. In a blink and you’ll miss it tethering of plots some villain portal jumping links the scenes well. This may be a slower start to a team book, but it’s still delivering on what you’d expect from the title.
This issue lays on the violence quite thickly reminiscent of the early days. We’re talking Logan’s fists being blood-drenched, close-ups of gore, and more. Deodato outdoes himself with Logan in particular who gets stabbed, stabs back and has that tired “I just killed a thousand ninjas” look throughout. His photorealistic stylings of backgrounds and environments continue to help steep the series in a realistic way too. There are also some fun layouts to be had like a page with Wolverine jumping out at us, framed by the surroundings cutting off panels at the bottom of the violence continues. Or, in another, Wolverine stands on the top half of a double page layout battered and ready for more with the action continuing below him from left to right.
If you read the summary above, you might’ve noticed the line: “Logan donates blood, changing one Avenger forever.” It’s a key scene in the issue and may change how Wolverine’s healing factor can be used going forward. It’s an intense moment in the book that’s quite well done, too.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
As a team book, it’s definitely taking its time getting the characters together. At this rate, the final issue of the arc will have them fighting alongside each other, but so far there’s little progress in getting them to a place where they even know they’re all in the story itself. Wolverine is trying to save Brother Voodoo, but Conan is doing his own thing as well as Punisher. Elektra continues to be underused too. It’s a slow burn though so it’s kind of expected.
Is it good?
This is a book where I could see Duggan taping “Savage” above his monitor and asking himself, “Savage enough?” after every page. This is as savage as it comes delivering a level of violence you won’t want to miss.