Since his return to the pages of Marvel Comics, Conan the Barbarian has been a massive part of the Marvel Universe. Now that Age of Conan comes to an end, for now, with Savage Avengers #5.
David Pepose, Carlo Magno, Espen Grundetjern, and Travis Lanham draw their first arc to a close with a battle befitting the greatest barbarian in fiction.
With Conan’s death, the serpent god Set has been unleashed on Earth, and Thulsa Doom has effectively ended the world. The Hyborean Age’s only hope is Miles Morales, Daredevil and their team of Savage Avengers. And perhaps, if the magic works, Conan the Barbarian may provide a little help.
Pepose clearly had the mission of putting toys back in the toybox in this story arc. With Marvel supposedly losing the Conan license, it’s only natural to put him back in the Hyborean Age until they regain it, or he goes into the public domain. This could have been a straightforward “I’m needed back on my home planet” resolution, but now that this arc has drawn to a close, I’m glad he chose to do it like this.
The door is still left wide open for a Conan return in the future, but if it doesn’t happen, at least there’s this rip-roaring high fantasy adventure to close the second Marvel Age of Conan. Pepose leaned into the pulp origins of Conan for the narration, and used his cast incredibly well. These characters all come with a lot of baggage, and they each got a great opportunity to shine. Lanham is able to help tell the story so well, keeping the narrations and dialogue clean and clearly placed on the page.
Magno deserves a massive amount of praise for this arc, and this issue especially. He’s able to take the pure chaos of a Lovecraftian god and his undead army fighting a group of 21st Century superheroes and their OWN undead army, and makes it clear and easy to follow. He does it without sacrificing any of the deeply detailed work he’s known for, and while still using great layouts. Grundetjern adds to the chaos by using a palette full of reds and purples to heighten the terrifying battle being fought.
I’m excited to see what this title is like moving forward. A super-battle through time is exciting, and after they make it home, who knows, but I know I’m along for the ride.
Savage Avengers #5 is available now from Marvel Comics.
The age of Conan ends with this rollicking battle. The series had stepped up and it looking like one to watch in the long term.