Words: David Pepose

Art: Carlos Magno

Colors: Espen Grundetjern

Letters: Travis Lanham

Publisher: Marvel

Given the news that Marvel is bringing its most recent stewardship of Conan to a close, it feels like an odd time to be bringing back the Savage Avengers. That’s a shame, though, because the original run of the comic was a great deal of fun. Sure, it was more of a Conan team-up book than a real Avengers book, but it worked.

The new run of Savage Avengers by David Pepose (Scout’s Honor, The O.Z.) and Carlos Magno (Avengers Forever, Kang the Conqueror) at least feels like it’s going to be more of a team book than a team-up book. It certainly still centers on Conan, at least for now, but our first issue brings in a truly interesting team. This iteration of the savage team looks to be teaming up Anti-Venom, Elektra, Cloak, Dagger, Weapon H, and Black Knight against the threat of a Deathlok that seems programmed to hunt Conan.

While this issue is naturally full of a good bit of world-building and exposition, a significant amount of credit needs to be given to Pepose’s deft introductions of the team. While we don’t exactly dig into the backstories of any of the characters in this issue, Pepose quickly establishes the personalities and powers of each character. While this might not be necessary for, say, Conan or Elektra, it’s pretty refreshing for those who might have skipped the Weapon H mini-series.

Likewise, the art in this issue does a good job of helping to establish the darker tone of the story. Magno’s line work does lean a bit towards the action figure pose variety, but that works in a book that feels like it’s based on bashing action figures together. His facial expressions might not be the cleanest or prettiest, but there’s absolutely no question that he draws the kind of dynamic action scenes on which a book like this will live or die. I’d be remiss if I didn’t also call out the color palette being used by Espen Grundetjern, which not only does a good job of recalling Marvel’s various Conan books but also establishing some nice color themes for each member of the team.

Though it’s hard to tell where Conan himself is going to end up, this book starts with enough energy that it’s easy to see it going long after Marvel’s rights to the Cimmerian lapse. With an interesting team and a solid writer at the helm, I’m hoping that this Savage Avengers series goes on to be a long-runner.

A. S. Williamson
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