Savage Avengers #1 is written by David Pepose, illustrated by Carlos Magno, colored by Espen Grudentjean, and lettered by VC’s Travis Lanham. It’s published by Marvel Comics. “Streets of Rage” opens with Conan the Barbarian battling the followers of the god of chaos, Set, who have stolen the weapon known as the Madbomb. However, the Cimmerian encounters a new foe in the time-traveling cyborg known as Deathlok. Deathlok has been sent to the future to kill Conan for “crimes against the timestream,” which inadvertently leads to the formation of a new team of Savage Avengers. The new team consists of Flash Thompson, aka Agent Anti-Venom; Elektra Natchios, who’s fully embraced her role as Daredevil; Clayton Cortez, code-named “Weapon H” due to the cocktail of Hulk and Wolverine genes within his body; Dane Whitman, aka the Black Knight; and Cloak & Dagger.
I freely admit that I was never a big Conan the Barbarian fan. I’ve always taken more of an interest in Robert E. Howard’s other major creation, Solomon Kane, but Pepose crafts a story that will win over any fan, showcasing Conan doing what he does best – crushing his enemies and driving them before him. The issue also wastes no time introducing its main cast of characters, mainly by pairing them up. Agent Anti-Venom asks for Elektra’s help in investigating the Madbomb theft. Black Knight, while out drinking, encounters Weapon H. Cloak and Dagger attempt to figure out their complicated relationship. That same mix of character development and intense action has made Pepose’s creator-owned works, including Scout’s Honor and The O.Z., engaging reads.
Like those comics, Pepose has a stellar art team in the form of Magno and Grudentjean. Magno is no stranger to Marvel comics with insane premises, as he’s previously illustrated Kang the Conqueror (which traveled through time and space) and Avengers Mech Strike (which, true to its name, featured the Avengers driving giant mecha). Savage Avengers leans into that outlandishness from the start. Images featuring Conan carving a path through the cult of Set and Cloak’s cape transforming into a mass of screaming faces will burn themselves into readers’ brains.
It’s also clear that both Pepose and Magno are fans of ’80s action movies, as this issue features shoutouts to Predator and Terminator – the latter is a HUGE influence on the plot! Grudentjean, best known for his work on Marvel’s Ultraman comics, delivers the darker color palette that suits a collection of antiheroes. Red is the one constant, from Elektra’s Daredevil suit to Deathlok’s armor to the blood dripping off of Conan’s sword.
The piece de resistance is Lanham’s lettering. Captions peppered throughout the issue are colored a slate grey with bright white lettering. Those captions also take a similar approach to the Conan novels, which makes this comic feel like a pulp novel one might find while combing through the shelves of Half-Price Books. Paragraphs feature sentences such as “a fearsome symbiote from the stars” and refer to New York as a “concrete jungle” – another Predator reference. It’s delightfully verbose and will draw readers into the action.
Savage Avengers #1 is a time-traveling thrill ride featuring a collection of appealing antiheroes and a premise that encompasses everything wonderful about comics. I highly encourage Marvel fans to pick this one up, as it has all the makings of a classic run. And the next issue features a Tyrannosaurus rex!
Savage Avengers #1 will be available wherever comics are sold on May 18, 2022.
Savage Avengers #1
Savage Avengers #1 is a time-traveling thrill ride featuring a collection of appealing antiheroes and a premise that encompasses everything wonderful about comics. I highly encourage Marvel fans to pick this one up, as it has all the makings of a classic run.