Savage Avengers throws its hat into the King in Black event this week, and it finds its characters locked up in a common police jail cell. To be fair, it’s nothing new for Conan the Barbarian or Deadpool, but with rampaging Symbiotes taking over the world, it’s a touch of an inconvenience. The latest issue is a great first part of the team-up you didn’t know you needed, but Gerry Duggan and Kev Walker certainly knew you’d love. I sure did.
You certainly don’t need to read the main event to understand this comic. Aliens are rampaging outside the police department, but what else is new at Marvel Comics? The beauty of this issue is how it leans into the characterizations of Conan and Deadpool and riffs off them. They’re both killers (and quite good at it), but they’re also realists in their own way. Conan has been involved in superhero stories for a good chunk of time now, and Duggan utilizes that to show how Conan has been normalized around their behavior. Meanwhile, Deadpool is his usual kooky self and plays the part of a clown, but with easily hurt feelings.
Plotting-wise, the story doesn’t have too many scene changes, but as the first part of a small side story, it does well enough to change up the focus. First, Conan and Deadpool are stuck in a cell, and soon they’re moving on from there to more dangerous situations. The beauty of this issue is how Duggan writes Deadpool, be it off the cuff jokes or commentary on the situation, or Conan’s deadly serious but honest nature about killing. It’s a good combo. Duggan delights with more than a few great gags and riffs on comics history. His Deadpool continues to be one of the best ever, and it shows here.
This issue’s art by Walker is good at capturing volume within space. Conan’s face is carved from a block for stone and 3D in its articulation. Layouts are simple, but explore the focus getting closer or further away, to let the reader take in the characters. There’s an almost caricature nature to Walker’s work here, with an overly expressive Conan and how Deadpool’s ability to heal is taking to some gruesome places.
Backgrounds are simple, which helps bring the focus on the characters. Color artist Java Tartaglia keeps colors muted in brown grays and darker colors. Deadpool is the brightest thing in the book, but even the red of his costume is darker in tone. Given the circumstances of the event, the color choices match the atmosphere well.
A third character is introduced, who plays the part of the straight man to the Conan and Deadpool duo. He’s a deep cut for Marvel fanatics and should be an interesting character to follow if he can make it out of this story arc alive. He’s introduced rather quickly but does well to serve as the barometer in the room so we can be properly aware of how insane Deadpool or Conan can get.
The King in Black tie-in stories have been the best part of the event, and Savage Avengers #17 continues that trend. This is a great team-up book between Deadpool and Conan that ties into the event just enough — especially for Conan fans — to be well worth a look.
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