Savage Avengers #4 is published by Marvel Comics, written by David Pepose, art by Carlos Magno, colours by Espen Grundetjern and letters by Travis Lanham. In the last issue, Conan was captured and Deathlok’s identity was revealed; he is a transformed, scarred version of Miles Morales. In this issue, that history was revealed as the Savage Avengers hunt for the Hyborian.
The plot of this issue is largely split into two. There is the Avengers looking for their teammate, which actually takes a backstep in being the central story of the issue. That is reserved for Deathlok, the sudden and utterly shocking revelation of the last chapter changing everything about him. As he grapples with his programming, a flashback details the life of this alternate Miles Morales. Pepose delivers a really original storyline, one that has come out of nowhere entirely within the context of this comic. It is epic and deeply emotional, with a heartbreaking conclusion. As this story alters the villain of the comic too, one of the heroes suffers a fate that was completely unpredictable, ending the issue on an incredibly powerful note.
Deathlok’s transformation in Savage Avengers #4 is fascinating, as within a page my perception has been flipped. The unrelenting, emotionless void that did a great impression of the Terminator has transformed into one of the most likeable and wholesome heroes around. But even in his past, the Miles of that timeline had suffered a lot and was not the one from the main timeline. Seeing really devastating things happen to Miles is hard, as he is still a fresh and youthful character, but the development has to go down as a stroke of brilliance by Pepose. If there was one negative aspect of the characters and dialogue in this issue, it was the moment between Dagger, Cloak, and Anti-Venom. After the unsettling experience the whole unit went through, the members of the team acting unusual is understandable. But the confrontation feels awkward and out of character in my opinion, especially Anti-Venom.
The art continues to excel as the fantasy epic is interrupted by superhero, sci-fi, and cosmic battles. The reveal that Deathlok is Miles is so impossible to guess beforehand because there are few similarities visually. That is part of the concept of Deathlok, that they become uniform and standard, but it would have been nice for the robot to carry a feature of its past self. The flashback is incredibly dark and violent and Magno does not shy away from exposing that. The sense of scale in this comic is remarkable in both the past and the present. The battle between the Savage Avengers and their enemies is impossibly busy, with characters and monsters everywhere. The detail in these scenes and sheer variety of powers provide countless possibilities for matchups.
The colours always seem to exist to unnerve, although they are beautiful for most of the comic. Where Conan is captured, the mix of orange and browns in the sky creates a gloomy atmosphere, whilst the purple in the flashback carries an ominous vibe. Many of the characters with bright costumes maintain that vibrancy, especially Elektra, Anti-Venom, and Dagger, but also Miles brings that too when his costume makes an appearance. The lettering does not fluctuate in size or font much, but it is always easy to read.
Savage Avengers #4 has completely transformed the series. With each issue comes a different set of circumstances that changes the fabric of the book entirely, taking it in a direction that I don’t think anyone saw coming. The issue lifts off slightly from the constant Hyborian Age pages with the flashback, and that origin story may be one of the best-written parts of the series so far. Pepose’s creative decisions can often be staggering in their brazenness which is a brilliant trait for wonderful, powerful writing.
Savage Avengers #4 is available where comics are sold.
Savage Avengers #4
Savage Avengers #4 has completely transformed the series. With each issue comes a different set of circumstances that changes the fabric of the book entirely, taking it in a direction that I don’t think anyone saw coming.