Right from the start of the first page, I knew Gerry Duggan got me.
“La commedia e finita”, i.e. “The comedy is finished”, is the closing line of Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci”. Pagliacci is the story of the tragic comic protagonist Pagliacci, a traveling clown who murders his wife Nedda and her lover in the final scene when he discovers that he is cuckolded. I don’t know if this is foreshadowing, but damn did it grab my attention.
Marvel comics don’t have much going for them currently. The War of the Realms event isn’t very interesting, they are scrapping all of their X-Men comics and giving it the reboot (again), and even their Spider-Man books are kinda in a holding pattern of mediocre. The only book I consistently buy from them is Fantastic Four, which if I’m honest, took too long to resolve Ben Grimm’s wedding. They needed something different to kickstart my interest again.
Long story short: Conan the Barbarian was dumped by the Avengers in the Savage Land. A bunch of necromancers are kidnapping the worlds elite (as in the best) and sacrificing them to summon the “marrow god” from a planet beyond Pluto. One of those people is Doctor Voodoo, who Wolverine wants to save. It’s team up time!
While the concept creeps into grind pulp, Gerry Duggan never lets it get away from him. The setting is crisp and with the right amount of irreverence. The dialogue revels in absurdist understatements which will leave you laughing despite how corny it sounds. The pacing is excellent with just enough action to help convey the story.
And the art. Well, just look at it!
Mike Deodato Jr. is just killing it! I run out of superlatives, describing it. Yes, it is dark and gritty, but that is what you want in the setting. You will find yourself picking up this book multiple times simply because look at the gorgeous art is so damn pleasing.
So, when you pick up your books today, grab Savage Avengers #1, and then keep collecting. You know the payoff is going to be worth it because of how it started.