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'Savage Avengers Vol. 5: The Defilement of All Things by the Cannibal-Sorcerer Kulan Gath' review
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‘Savage Avengers Vol. 5: The Defilement of All Things by the Cannibal-Sorcerer Kulan Gath’ review

The bar is set very high here and it’ll be hard to top it.

Gerry Duggan and Patch Zercher’s epic Savage Avengers came to an end back in January, but it continues on for trade-waiting readers this week. The series was a violent and pulse-pounding adventure, especially for an Avengers series, but what else would you expect from a series that hosts Venom, Wolverine, and Conan the Barbarian? In this final collection, Conan takes the center stage as he faces off against Kulan Gath with all of the Marvel heroes (and villains) by his side.

This collection is a nonstop thrill ride of an adventure. So much so, it ends in a way that makes a strong statement that tales like this never actually end. Kulan Gath is Conan’s greatest nemesis and in this collection, we see he is far too powerful to defeat than any villain that has come before the Marvel heroes. There is incredible ultra-violence, but also fun moments like learning Man-Thing really likes cupcakes or learning about the Kang Corps. Duggan is clearly having the time of his life coming up with bigger stakes on the fly and figuring out ways for the heroes to circumvent them.

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This collection opens on Savage Avengers #23 with Doctor Strange trying to sort out the threat of Kulan Gath. This leads to a showdown between Gath and Marvel’s heroes that’s incredibly well drawn and epic in every way.

Like a good Elseworlds tale, the heroes don’t necessarily win, or at least it takes a while to get there. It’s fun to see how Conan goes it alone for a long stretch of the narrative. It’s also fun to see a supervillain like Kang enter the narrative and interact with Conan. As a send-off for Conan and Kulan Gath from the 616 universe, this collection does that and so much more.

Savage Avengers

More powerful than anything the Marvel heroes have come across.
Credit: Marvel

Duggan also makes a statement about how Conan could ever defeat Kulan Gath. I won’t spoil what happens, but in the final chapter, there’s a smart tactic taken to defeat Kulan Gath. It’s decided to kill Kulan Gath while he’s a baby, but after Doctor Strange and others disagree with this idea, Conan comes up with something that suits his character and actually makes a statement about how his perspective on life is also a solution.

The narrative turning from team book to solo series can feel a bit off-putting. Dr. Strange starts the story as if he’s the main character with his demise turning everything to Conan. It’s a good story, don’t get me wrong, but large portions feel like a solo series.

The art by Patch Zircher meets the epic nature of the story head-on and delivers big time. Limbs are lopped off, blood gushes from eyes, and all of the heroes look great standing against Kulan Gath. Java Tartaglia backs him up on colors, giving everything a darker tone that suits the edgier, violent story. For a superhero story, Zircher delivers in all regards from incredible full-page splashes, to crowded scenes of our characters surrounding a table.

Savage Avengers Vol. 5: The Defilement of All Things by the Cannibal-Sorcerer Kulan Gath is a nonstop thrill ride. Just as you think the heroes are defeated, a new plot development sprouts to give the heroes another slim chance, only to be defeated again. Duggan and Zircher should be proud of how entertaining this last story arc is and to go out on such a high note. The bar is set very high here and it’ll be hard to top it.

'Savage Avengers Vol. 5: The Defilement of All Things by the Cannibal-Sorcerer Kulan Gath' review
‘Savage Avengers Vol. 5: The Defilement of All Things by the Cannibal-Sorcerer Kulan Gath’ review
Savage Avengers Vol. 5: The Defilement of All Things by the Cannibal-Sorcerer Kulan Gath
Savage Avengers Vol. 5: The Defilement of All Things by the Cannibal-Sorcerer Kulan Gath is a nonstop thrill ride. Just as you think the heroes are defeated, a new plot development sprouts to give the heroes another slim chance, only to be defeated again. Duggan and Zircher should be proud of how entertaining this last story arc is and to go out on such a high note. The bar is set very high here and it'll be hard to top it.
Reader Rating1 Vote
8.8
High-octane action, violence, and stakes
Great art with plenty to enjoy like team shots, gore, and more
Keeps upping the ante or throwing new twists at the reader
Not really a team book as Doctor Strange is the main character to start with Conan taking over for much of the rest
9
Great
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