Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Mike Deodato
Colorist: Frank Martin
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Publisher: Marvel Entertainment
Iron Man. Thor. Captain America. These are the names synonymous with the Avengers. In recent years, however, a number of … shall we say, unorthodox characters have joined their ranks. And while folks like Wolverine and Brother Voodoo have each played a role on an Avengers team at one point or another, it’s not a stretch to say there hasn’t been a roster quite like this one. Wolverine and Voodoo are joined by the likes of the Punisher, Elektra, Venom, and Conan the Barbarian. Yes, THAT Conan.
At first glance, there is no way a team like The Savage Avengers could work. At best, they’re a group of morally-ambiguous antiheroes; at worst, they’re a bunch of mass-murderers who would sooner kill each other than work together. And yet, the idea of a lineup that should never work has fueled the core concept of the Avengers since the team’s inception. Writer Gerry Duggan is no stranger to handling misfit teams effectively, but it remains to be seen how he writes a team such as this. Duggan is clearly taking his time forming the team, with both Venom and Elektra being noticeably absent. He does set up an interesting dynamic between Wolverine and Conan, with the obligatory fight between the two that ultimately leads to a team-up of sorts. The idea of Conan running around the Marvel Universe is a strange one, but it’s hard to deny how cool it is to see the Cimmerian hero laying out Hand Ninjas one-by-one.
The aforementioned fight scenes are brutal, yet beautiful, with a cinematic quality that Mike Deodato does very well. Each panel looks like a shot from an action film that I’d pay good money to see. It’s exquisitely choreographed, and I found myself going back and just studying the layouts. Deodato always does great work, but this may be some of the best of his career, although his rendering of Wolverine is a bit odd at times. Frank Martin’s colors perfectly complement Deodato’s pencils, adding to the gritty, dark tone throughout the issue.
While it’s hard to judge a new team without all the components, this book is off to an interesting start. Duggan’s approach is a bit of a slow-burn, but it’s apparent that he’s building toward something exciting. The book has a lot of potential, is filled with gorgeous art from start to finish, and should definitely be considered for your pull-list.