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Comic Book / Savage Avengers

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Savage Avengers is a comic book series launched in April 2019 as part of the Marvel: A Fresh Start initiative, written by Gerry Duggan with Mike Deodato Jr. on art.

After finding himself transported to the modern day, Conan the Barbarian finds himself allied with a ragtag band of... very violent people, who unite to stop the sorcerer Kulan Gath. The team consists of:

  • Conan the Barbarian (Conan of Cimmeria) — Barbarian adventurer from the Hyborean Age, destined to become King Conan of Aquilonia.
  • Doctor Voodoo (Jericho Drumm) — Master of the voodoo arts, Houngan Supreme and ally of Doctor Strange.
  • Elektra (Elektra Natchios) — Former assassin of the Hand, current assassin for hire and sometimes ally of Daredevil.
  • The Punisher (Frank Castle) — Soldier-turned-vigilante who kills criminals after the death of his family.
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  • Venom (Eddie Brock) — Former Spider-Man villain turned anti-hero, bonded to an alien symbiote.
  • Wolverine (James "Logan" Howlett) — Canadian mutant stabby man.

The team is darker and more prone to violence and killing than other Avengers teams, and is marketed as such. The series sees Conan regularly interacting with the wider Marvel Universe since Marvel regained his publishing rights in January, 2019 and the Avengers: No Road Home miniseries.

For a similar title released oddly close to this one, see Strikeforce.


This series contains examples of:

  • Advertised Extra: Venom does very, very little in the series proper. While there is a prominent symbiote for Conan and another symbiote antagonist, Venom barely has anything to do and has very little panel time. He's likely just on the promotional material and covers due to the popularity of the character and the concurrently running Donny Cates' Venom run. It's to the point that he doesn't even appear past that first arc.
  • All for Nothing: Black Widow tries to distract some cultists by unzipping her bodysuit and flashing some Absolute Cleavage, only to have Elektra simply sneak up and backstab them. Black Widow's a bit embarrassed on her own unnecessary action, as Elektra says Natasha's too used to working with lesser people like Daredevil.
  • Always Someone Better: With the expanded roster debriefing on the moon, Dr. Strange mentions that Kulan Gath is far and away the most powerful sorcerer on Earth and that the last time he had a major fight with Gath, it took him and a combined force of Avengers and X-Men teams to defeat him, with only a few people involved retaining memory of that time. Now Gath's even more powerful. Black Widow is disturbed as she thought the "Sorcerer Supreme" is the mightiest, before Stephen explains to her about Gath's route to power.
  • Anti-Hero Team: The team is filled with people who have zero problem killing and who were lured together by Kulan Gath specifically because they're bathed in death.
  • Back from the Dead: Conan's symbiote — which sacrificed itself to heal him in the first arc — is resurrected in the King In Black tie-in when he is engulfed by a symbiote dragon.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: With Magik joining the group, the three females are now Magik (blonde), Elektra (brunette) and Black Widow (redhead).
  • Blood Magic:
    • Kulan Gath needs the blood of people soaked in death to perform his summoning ritual, and is happy with the Savage Avengers turnout given their histories. Wolverine in particular is a nice bonus for him, having a healing factor and all.
    • Doctor Strange uses a spell on some of Kulan's blood to astral project through his history.
  • Body Horror: There's quite a few instances in this Marvel foray into Dark Fantasy, but perhaps what takes the cake was actually done for laughs. When Conan and Deadpool are held up in Ryker's prison, Deadpool pickpocketed a guard but got the guard's house keys. So Conan comes up with his own plan...which was to shove Deadpool through the tight bars. The result ripped and crushed Deadpool's body so badly that his ribs and intestines were hanging out, leading the hardened cons of the prison to gape in horror, with one puking up.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Conan is less concerned with being trapped in the modern-day and more curious as to where Wolverine got those wonderful claws and killing people.
  • The Brute: Before Cain Marko joins, the Savage Avengers are a Dream Team... when it comes to sorcery and combat skill. But when their mightiest member was Venom followed by peak human (or better) Wolverine and Conan, kid teams like Champions (2019) and Runaways have more muscle. Enter the Juggernaut, with him on the payroll the team has one of the most elite Class 100 powerhouses in Marvel.
  • Cannibalism Superpower: In issue 0, Doctor Strange tells Magik that Kulan Gath has grown stronger since their last encounter with him. He says this is from him cannibalizing other mages, including some previous Sorceror Supremes. Strange finds out that this is how he's always increased his power, starting after being expelled by his teacher for demanding more power and literally getting a taste of it from a drop of blood from their fight.
    • Strange gives Conan a special mission, Strange needs a major boost in power to deal with Gath's new plan. So if Conan can cut off a piece of Gath, he's to give it to Stephen as a munchie.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Kulan Gath is using the Third Eye of Agamotto in his ritual which Stephen corroborates as well as the second eye being in the possession of a dragon. This dragon was seen boasting of the second eye in Tony Stark: Iron Man in its War of the Realms tie-in.
    • Kulan Gath had captured a symbiote to lure Venom into his trap, evidently remembering the antihero from their encounter in the Spider-Man/Red Sonja crossover.
    • When the unnamed symbiote bonds to Conan, it manifests a Necrosword to help him slay the eldritch god Jhoatun Lau. Malekith and Eddie Brock would use the Venom symbiote to manifest Necroswords during the War of the Realms and Absolute Carnage respectively.
    • When Venom appears towards the end of the first arc, exposure to Jhoatun Lau's cosmic energy has transformed the symbiote into a draconic form in what was intended as a nod to Donny Cates' Venom — though Venom's dragon form looks nothing like those of the other symbiote dragons.
    • When Kulan Gath injures Doctor Strange, Doom calls in some equipment to help him. Strange is encased in some armour that heals him, and it's revealed to be Doom's Infamous Iron Man suit.
    • When Juggernaut and Magik meet up, Cain is still pissed off at Illyana for the events at the end of Uncanny X-Men (2018), where she lost control of her powers, ripped out the Gem of Cyttorak and sent him to Limbo.
    • Magik decides against killing Sadurang, since one of her best friends is a dragon, referring to Lockheed.
    • Conan eventually wanders off in New York while they wait for Kulan Gath to make his play, ending up at the Bar With No Name, the popular villain bar featured in Spider-Man's comics.
    • Conan constantly losing his weapons is something that features heavily in the Robert E. Howard original stories.
  • Covers Always Lie: The first cover indicated Elektra would still be in her new, MCU-inspired outfit. In the series proper she's wearing her classic outfit.
  • Curbstomp Battle: Black Widow's team massacres Kulan Gath's earthly forces. The team just sends out Wolverine and the Punisher to easily wreck 'em, while Natasha, Elektra and Hellstrom go after the high priest. The cult did manage to shred Wolverine's costume while the nearly immortal high priest managed to stab Hellstrom in the chest with a sickle (which barely did anything to the hellspawn sorcerer).
  • Dark Fantasy: Anti-heroes: check (with even the more heroic members willing to use darker methods than they normally would), Crapsack World: check (the comic features various cities in their worst light where modern slavery and gangland control of whole towns is common), Religion of Evil: check, Eldritch Abomination: check and so on, etc. Pretty much every checkmark for Dark Fantasy gets marked.
  • Darker and Edgier: Even for the 2010s, this is one of the darker Avengers line-ups and series. All of the main cast except Voodoo have body counts numbering in the hundreds at least and are completely fine with killing.
  • Death from Above: Against Sadurang, Magik teleports a charging Juggernaut far up in the sky. Cain then crashes so hard into Sadurang it leaves a huge, burning crater.
  • Deal with the Devil: A symbiote dragon engulfs Conan and revitalizes the codex of the symbiote that had bonded to him in the first arc. The symbiote tells Conan that Kulan Gath had tortured it for a century and tells him to bond with it once more to seek revenge against the evil sorcerer, threatening to kill him if he refuses.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: In the first annual, Conan gets very into Black Widow. He's also so into Elektra that he doesn't notice Doctor Strange walking behind him.
  • Does Not Like Magic: A recurring joke throughout the series is Conan's, per usual, disdain for magic. He takes an immediate disliking to Doctor Strange, though he does express fondness for Doctor Doom, due to Doom's more warrior-like apparel and more boisterous attitude when fighting. Similarly, he doesn't hold anything against Magik, probably for the same reasons.
  • Drugs Are Bad: During the debrief on the moon, Conan mentions his experience with a couple of prostitutes. He likes his booze but doesn't approve of some the girls' vice with narcotics, likening it to slavery with no collar. He calling it the "cursed poppy" was more right than he realized, the girl doing a line then turned into a Shuma-Gorath monster which he had to kill. Turns out Kulan Gath has been getting drug dealers murdered and having their stashes tainted with Shuma-Gorath bits, this angle lets the Savage Avengers bring back the Punisher to the team.
  • Eldritch Abomination:
    • The first arc involves Conan, Wolverine, Elektra, Doctor Voodoo, Black Widow, the Punisher, and (eventually) Venom teaming up to stop Kulan Gath from summoning an entity called the Marrow God, Jhoatun Lau. They fail, but manage to vanquish it nevertheless — though it marks them with a curse before dying.
    • Shuma-Gorath of the Many-Angled Ones pops up, with Kulan Gath treating it as cosmic calamari in order to assimilate its power and become a god himself.
  • Easily Forgiven: When Elektra and Dr. Strange teleport to Mexico to recruit Conan, the Cimmerian is rightfully pissed at Stephen for banishing him back to Brazil and wants to know why he shouldn't gut Strange. A few words of reason and a firm handshake after and Conan is actually friendly towards Strange from then on. Also Juggernaut had beef with Magik after she depowered him and dumped him in Limbo, he was initially declining working with them, but once Conan hands over the bag of jewels from Strange, Cain Marko is happy to help them and was hunky-dory with Illyana.
  • Everyone Has Standards: The rest of the team including hard-asses like Magik, Wolverine and Elektra, are disturbed to hear how nonchalant Conan was at just having killed a possessed prostitute and then went back to having sex with the survivors. Black Widow was so troubled that she was still stuck on that when the others returned to the problems at hand.
  • Fire-Forged Friends:
    • Conan and Wolverine start out trying to kill each other but eventually come to respect each other after fighting Kulan Gath.
    • The same can be said of Conan and Frank, on their road trip back to America, with Conan consoling Frank regarding his family. Conan is also getting that way with Deadpool in their arc for King In Black and Venom rather likes Conan and was glad to see him in Mexico during the Empyre event
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Conan in the modern era takes some time to adjust, but finds small comforts where he can — such as beer and peanut butter (he notes that one pleasure is he eats like a king here).
  • Foregone Conclusion: As is the norm with Conan, and even he brings it up here as a dream he had — he needs to live long enough to become King Conan. Whatever happens to him in the modern-day, he needs to somehow end up back in the Hyborean age for further adventures.
  • Great Escape: During the King In Black event, Conan gets arrested shortly after partying at the Bar with No Name. There he meets Deadpool and through a rather grotesque plan, they manage to escape jail. Before they leave, a fellow inmate Night Flyer has an adventure prospect for the two.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: When Wolverine passes out and leaves Conan to fight on his own, Conan just swings Wolverine around by his legs to make use of his claws.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Against Gath, there's no such thing as too much firepower. Doctor Strange and Elektra had been busy recruiting more members like Black Widow, Magik and Daimon Helstrom. The expanded roster is barely enough and when Black Widow suggests bringing on the Punisher on account of the drug-dealing angle, Strange approves with the caveat they keep him on a short leash to prevent too much human blood being spilled. At the Sanctum, Dr. Strange sends Widow and Hellstrom to recruit Frank and gather even more members and material for the teams - the preview of the next issue has the Punisher Kill Krew getting involved.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Since he doesn't have a grudge against most modern-day villains, Conan doesn't mind hanging out at the Bar with No Name with several lesser-known villains, and the Juggernaut.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Dr. Strange and Elektra have sex before they start their actual campaign against Kulan Gath. Both are very pleased with the experience though neither think it's likely they will have any further encounters as their odds of surviving the fight against Gath is really bad.
  • Good vs. Good: Partially...Conan and Deadpool (plus criminal mercenary Nightflyer) end up in a fight with some of the Marauders when Conan and guests were robbing an "abandoned" Hellfire Club mansion that was actually a safe house/money stash for Krakoa.
  • Guest-Star Party Member:
    • The first annual features Conan teaming up with Daimon Hellstrom and Black Widow.
    • A multi-part story has Conan teaming up with Doctor Strange and Doctor Doom, who weren't part of the team. Solicitations later revealed that Strange would be joining the team.
  • Hijacking Cthulhu: Kulan Gath's evil plan in the second arc is summoning Shuma-Gorath in Brother Voodoo's body so he can consume it and steal its power to become a god.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In the second arc Kulan Gath is defeated by placing the third Eye of Agamotto on him and letting the curse he had placed on it do the rest.
  • Home Base: Conan gets one for himself during the King In Black arc. The Marauders and Conan's group fail to save Cyclops and Storm, but Conan's group put in a good effort so Night Flyer and Deadpool happily got a duffel bag of cash and left. Conan didn't want any...he really likes the Hellfire Club mansion and its liquor collection, so he claimed it as his prize. Wolverine admired Conan's ballsiness and agreed.
  • Honor Among Thieves: When Night Flyer reveals his big adventure for Conan and Deadpool is...looting an abandoned Hellfire Club mansion. Conan gets very suspicious and asks why they're needed for such an easy outing. Nightflyer gets where Conan is coming from and explains. There's too much money for one person to carry and he owes them both for getting him out of Ryker's. Plus if he gets them a big score now, they'd perhaps consider working with him again in the future (Night Flyer ain't much of a fighter, having a pair of wily enforcers will go a long way in keeping this version alive).
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The Marauders and Conan's group try to rescue Cyclops and Storm. Not a chance, the possessed X-Men are too hostile and powerful to take alive and it's only through some quick thinking by Conan and Iceman's powers that they're able to escape with their lives (Deadpool was temporarily reduced to a stump). All they could do is return to the Hellfire Club mansion and lick their wounds over some fine whiskey.
  • It's Personal: Kulan Gath took the bodies of Frank's deceased family for his ritual, which is why Punisher enters the story.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: With the roster expanded, Stephen tells the team that they'll need to split up. One team will barter or steal the 2nd Amulet of Agamotto from Sadurang, an Asgardian dragon (leaving it alive is preferred but not necessary) and the other will defend the planet against Gath's earthly forces while Dr. Strange works with Shuma-Gorath.
  • Mission Briefing: The team has one that starts on the moon and finishes at Dr. Strange's Sanctum Santorum. Strange gives background on modern encounters with Gath, Voodoo explains to newcomers that Gath gets power from cannibalism, Elektra mentions the murder and consumption of the Hand leader and an Egyptian Cult. Black Widow mentions that Gath's cronies are decapitating South American cartel members and is puzzled. Voodoo believes it somehow involves Gath's boast he'd consume Shuma Gorath. Conan has a tale that gives context to the Widow's and Voodoo's input and then the team is given their particular assignments.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Even after Doctor Voodoo warns that spilling even one more drop of blood into the stone cistern will allow Jhoatun Lao to cross over, Conan proceeds to bisect a hand ninja with his Necrosword and dump his corpse into it.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: After Black Widow's team had their Curbstomp Battle against Kulan Gath's cult, Wolverine wonders if his buddy Conan and his group did as well. Cue next scene, a triumphant Sadurang in humanoid form stands over Magik who's on her knees while Conan, Juggernaut and the Black Knight are all knocked unconscious.
  • Pet the Dog: Conan declines the deal with the symbiote and is unimpressed with the symbiote's threats. The symbiote then reveals its history on Earth. It had been put in a glass bottle and put on the market as a djinn for sale. Its only moment of kindness on Earth, was when that era's Sorcerer Supreme bought and freed him, with the symbiote staying on as a guest and cultural exchange student...only to have Kulan Gath invade and murder the wizard. Kulan Gath tried eating the symbiote and when that didn't work, he took to torturing it for fun for millenniums and not the century that he previously metioned. Now the symbiote is old and broken. Conan is touched by the tale and agrees to join with the symbiote, until they finally kill Kulan Gath.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Dr. Strange uses his magic to have some levitation sex with Elektra.
  • Punch-Clock Hero: The Juggernaut joins the team after getting paid with a bag full of jewels courtesy of Dr. Strange. Without that payment, he was going to see them out.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: After Conan kills Kulan Gath with the cursed Eye of Agamotto, Strange and Doom decided it was best to get rid of the ancient barbarian. So they teleport him back to Brazil which greatly inconveniences an incensed Conan.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Bishop is leading the small group of Marauders and after a fight with Conan's group, he doesn't hold a grudge and hires them for the rescue attempt of Cyclops and Storm. Even after they fail, he still pays Deadpool and Night Flyer a small fortune and Conan ends up with a mansion to squat in.
  • Sentient Weapon: Conan bonds with an unnamed symbiote during the first arc and uses it to form a sword, but it dies after the fight with the Marrow God is done.
  • Series Continuity Error: The first arc was published at the time when Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote had parted ways, with the implication being that the Venom who appeared to help fight Jhoatun Lau was the hostless symbiote. However, the tie-in for Empyre has Eddie Brock — who is missing the beard he sports in Donny Cates' Venom — ask Conan if he remembers him from that fight; which leaves where the first arc fits in to the timeline something of a mystery since at the time Eddie was preoccupied with looking after his son Dylan.
  • Shout-Out: The first issue features a shout out to Pabst, which Logan mentions is the beer that he and Conan are drinking.
  • Slave Liberation: The Black Knight was found beating up a bunch of KKK members, when Conan's squad teleports in. Conan requests Whitman's aid and throws the Black Knight a bag of jewels. Whitman is actually insulted and says he only fights for those oppressed by tyranny. Magik hands him a photo of who they're taking on (the photo is actually of Sadurang who had conquered a city and oppresses its inhabitants). A dismayed Black Knight quickly joins the team. So the team now has both heavy hitters from the Punisher Kill Krew.
    • With Wolverine and Punisher fighting the cultists, the rest of Black Widow's team free the girls who were enslaved into making the drugs then Elektra tells the women to help themselves to all the money in the cult's mansion as reparations..
  • Squishy Wizard: Averted, no spellcaster has a glass-jaw especially Kulan Gath. Conan, Dr. Doom and Strange triple-team the guy and the three really lay into him, including Doom spraying him with an acid blaster from his armour. It took Conan decapitating Gath to stop him.
  • Straight Gay: Nightflyer reveals to Conan and Deadpool, that he's gay and is in a relationship with his lawyer. Nightflyer asks if it'll be a problem. Conan has no issue, he knew lots of great warriors who were homosexual.
  • Sword & Sorcery: This series is essentially a take on Sword & Sorcery featuring one of the genre's greatest protagonists but in a contemporary world with superheroes.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Black Widow's entire team gets their own lethal hits on Kulan Gath's near-immortal high priest. The priest is unimpressed with their efforts, until Wolverine tunnels through the guy and then feeds him into a wood chipper. Daimon Hellstrom then incinerates the remains with hellfire.
  • Token Good Teammate:
    • Not that the cast is evil, but Voodoo is definitely the most moral of the main cast and is less prone to stabbing or shooting his problems away. Notably, he's one of the guys who isn't there because Kulan Gath needs a murderer to sacrifice.
    • Strange fills this role among the team-up with him and Doom and Conan. He wants to save the people who have been possessed and asks the two to not kill, which they ignore.
  • Took a Level in Badass: When he first came to the modern age, Conan had no idea how to use a gun and if he got his hands on one - he'd use it as a club. Some time before the King In Black event, he learnt how to use one. After the jail break with Deadpool and Night Flyer, the three of them went to the confiscated weapons locker. While the other two got their old gear back, Conan was unarmed when he went to Rykers. So he helps himself to a machete and a sawed-off shotgun, which he uses against a symbiote dragon. The next issue, Conan gets another level up when he agrees to bond temporarily with the symbiote dragon. It then becomes a Morph Weapon that's linked psychically and physically with him.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The solicitation for issue 13 said that the Savage Avengers would finally assemble, complete with the list of members. While this includes the original cast and Doctor Strange, it also includes characters who have only made brief appearances, such as Black Widow, Daimon Hellstrom and Magik.
  • Unexpected Character: The Night Flyer is a D-list mercenary who's only had a few appearances and hasn't been around since 1981. This particular Night Flyer appears to be a Legacy Character (the current one is black with facial hair while the original is white and cleanshaven). With the exception of Daimon Hellstrom (though his stock is rising) and Doctor Voodoo, everyone else in the series is A list or B at worst.
  • With This Herring: Sometime after his exile to Brazil, Conan lost the Cool Sword that Doctor Doom traded to him. So when Mexico is under attack by Cotati and the only ones who can save the day are Conan and Venom, Conan is given...a broken parking meter to fight with. He quickly took the opportunity to upgrade from that by taking a machete from a slain food vendor.
  • Would Hit a Girl: After Callisto stabs Deadpool in the head, Conan punches the Morlock leader in the face making her gush out a fair amount of blood.


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