After a short break, the Marvel Universe’s most brutal team returns in Savage Avengers #1. It’s a new squad, a new mission and an intense new adversary.
In his Marvel debut, David Pepose is joined by Carlo Magno, Espen Grundetjern, and Travis Lanham to wage war between Conan and Deathlok.
The Sons of Set have stolen a Madbomb, an AIM device that could cause untold devastation in any urban center. Luckily, Conan, Daredevil, Anti-Venom, Black Knight, Weapon H, and Cloak & Dagger are all hot on the trail. Unfortunately, Conan is also the prey of one of the multiversal soldiers, the Deathloks, and it may lead the entire group into untold danger.
I had to read this issue twice to get my true feelings for it in order. On my first read, I didn’t think I liked it. But on the second read, I enjoyed it quite a bit. The narration is extremely purple, but that’s actually Pepose taking pulp-fiction tropes, including the bombastic, extremely wordy narration and making it almost a character itself. He also avoids the standard trope of a “gather the team” first issue by making it feel significantly more natural- they all happen to be searching for the Sons of Set or the Madbomb, and Deathlok’s involvement draws them together as a group.
Beyond that, Pepose gets his characters. Each vignette before the team is pulled together could stand on their own and be fully fleshed out into full stories. I want to see more of what he’s doing with each of his cast members, and it seems like we might, given the end of the issue. I love what Lanham does with Pepose’s script, using fonts and captions that make it feel more epic. He’s a great thematic tie to the other Conan books, but he doesn’t descend into going too bombastic or unusual in his lettering either, which helps it feel like an Avengers story as much as it’s a Conan story.
I’ve always liked Magno’s work, and his shift in style here is great. Though it’s still recognizable as Magno, he’s a lot more loose. The figure work is still tight, but the characters are moving a little more wild and savage (yes I said it) than his more restrained past work. A big part of that may also be Grundetjern’s work over his pencils. He adds a level of grit over the pencils that thematically still feels like the Marvel Universe, but the corners of the universe that we don’t usually see.
Now that I’ve had time to digest it, this is jumping up on the list of my favorite debuts of the year. It’s a lot of fun, and gives a lot of reasons to return to the rest of the series.
Savage Avengers #1 is available now from Marvel Comics.
Conan is joined by a new team, in a very fun and brutal debut issue. The writing is pulpy fun and the art is hard hitting. This is a must-read.