There was a time when I was younger that Marvel published Conan the Barbarian’s comic book adventures, during which Conan and various supporting characters occasionally appearing in regular Marvel books. But then the license went elsewhere and Conan and Co. disappeared.
But it looks like Marvel got those rights back because now we have Conan on an Avengers team. That would be the new title Savage Avengers with the first volume subtitled City of Sickles.
After assisting the Avengers in his own age, circumstances lead Conan the Barbarian to be stranded in the modern day Savage Land. That’s his kind of place from the looks of things, but the Hand is up to something, along with some other shadowy mystical type organizations. Such actions are drawing other, generally violent Marvel heroes and anti-heroes to the Savage Land as well, namely Wolverine, the Punisher, Electra, Venom, and, um, Doctor Voodoo.
Doctor Voodoo? Really? He counts as a violent antihero? Ok…
But there’s more to all that than the Hand doing what the Hand generally does. For it seems Conan is not the only visitor from the Cimmerian Age. His old foe Kulan Gath is also there, and he has a plan of some kind…
OK, so, as premises go, I don’t necessarily love the idea of an antihero Avengers team, specifically one featuring Conan the Barbarian, but here we are. And I really don’t get how Doctor Voodoo ended up with this bunch aside from giving Conan an excuse to shout out how much he hates wizards all the time. But that I could live with if I liked the story I got. And, truth be told, I didn’t.
Writer Gerry Duggan seems fond of the narrative box, covering large areas of the page with these often melodramatic descriptors. Granted, that could be a callback to classic Conan adventures. I personally wouldn’t know, but I didn’t care for them. That said, the real problem was Mike Deodato’s artwork. I just plain couldn’t tell what was happening in some pages. Characters seemed to just appear where the narrative needed them to be, and that isn’t cool. Likewise, Kulan Gath must be nearly indestructible because just about every one of the good guys hits him with something at one point in what should be a fatal move. So, this guy gets stabbed and shot multiple times and never loses a step? It’s not like things bounce off him. He bleeds and screams in pain but somehow keeps going. I’m not overly familiar with the character, so for all I know, that’s normal for him, but it didn’t work for me here. It made it looks like the heroes had no real hope of taking him down if he can shrug off a broadsword to the heart.
So, really, I didn’t like this one much at all. 6.5 out 10 forgotten Nazis.
Wednesday “You Reap What You Woe”
Comic Review: King Of Spies
Noteworthy Issues: Green Arrow #1 (April, 2023)