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SYFY WIRE the Avengers

Exclusive preview: Gerry Duggan recruits Conan the Barbarian for Marvel's badass new Savage Avengers #1

By Jeff Spry
Savage Avengers

Brace yourself for a brutal assault of superbeings and crusading crimefighters when Conan the Barbarian joins a fresh cadre of Earth's Mightiest Heroes in Marvel's new Savage Avengers #1, arriving in stores for its rowdy premiere issue on May 1.

While it might seem an unlikely choice to mash up the sword-swinging Cimmerian with the Punisher, Wolverine, Venom, Brother Voodoo, and Elektra, Marvel has the utmost faith in Deadpool's Gerry Duggan and New Avengers' Mike Deodato Jr. to corral this crazy lineup. SYFY WIRE has an exclusive chat with Duggan and an early peek inside to relish the astounding atmospheric art of veteran penciller Deodato.

Savage Avengers Cover

The all-star creative team has amassed the most savage, knife-wielding, unkillable assortment of characters in the Marvel Universe by uniting Wolverine, Venom, Elektra, Brother Voodoo, and the Punisher. While that may seem like a formidable group, it goes next level when you bring aboard Robert E. Howard's brooding Conan the Barbarian as a true fish out of water battling wizards from two disparate worlds.

What is the City of Sickles? Who is the Marrow God? How is the Hand involved? All these intriguing questions will be addressed when the roughest and most dangerous characters in the Marvel stable start to rumble.

Savage Avengers is just what it says on the label — it’s all of the biggest badasses of the Marvel Universe brought together uneasily in one explosive series — and with Conan as a wild card,” executive editor Tom Brevoort explains in a statement. “It’s big, it’s brash, it’s explosive, it never slows down — the only scenes in Savage Avengers that involve a table is when somebody is being thrown through one.”

Savage Avengers Slice

SYFY WIRE caught up with the inimitable Gerry Duggan (Savage Sword of Conan) to dissect the core members of this motley Avengers crew and learn what shock and awe is in store for the team as the series progresses into the summer.

Can you tell us how this killer new unsanctioned Avengers roster arose and what fans can expect from the deadly plotline?

GERRY DUGGAN: It's a trap! The team is summoned by an ancient evil. It's not an officially sanctioned Avengers team. If you give us just the first issue, we'll make you believers. Whether or not these characters can find a way to function as a team will determine whether or not anyone makes it out alive. The story begins with a fuse being lit, and in fact, the end of the first arc is an even more dangerous story that unfolds in the Marvel Universe. It's gonna be big summer action fun, with some horror, some mystery, and a few laughs to hold it all together. Buckle up.

How did you choose the Savage Avengers lineup, and does Conan's addition add some pointed humor to the mix?

GD: Without a doubt. Hopefully there's at least one laugh-out-loud moment in each of the first few.

Elektra Slice

The sole female in this tough team is Elektra. Why is she such a vital member?

GD: She's the one working the mystery of why the Hand are kidnapping various people from around the world. For anyone interested in the series there's a really fun 10-page original short story in Marvel's Avengers Free Comic Book Day issue. I'll be signing in the morning that day at Golden Apple Comics in Los Angeles, and then later in the afternoon I'll be appearing at Yallwest Festival at Santa Monica High School.

What art style and tone did you and Mike Deodato agree on for both worlds, and how does it suit the story?

GD: Mike's so talented and has such a wonderful sense of action, drama, and he can pay off jokes. I was lucky to work with both on Infinity Wars, and even luckier to have both on Savage Avengers. Conan's return to the Marvel Universe is bringing out the best in all of us, and our best is on full display in Savage Avengers.

Savage Avengers Slice 2

Looking forward, can you hint at any villainous surprises as the series unfolds?

GD: You'll get some surprising revelations in the Free Comic Book Day release, and page 6 of Issue 2 is a going to resonate with some of our long-term readers. My favorite is what we manage to do in the close of the first arc. I don't think anyone will guess the end that we arrive at.

What was the most fun in assembling your rowdy gang of rogue Marvel heroes?

GD: Everyone gets a pretty badass entrance, and watching Mike & Frank Martin JR bring the story to life is the most fun you can have wrenching on comics. Punisher is a singular force in this one. It's a team of superstars orbiting Conan, but Frank has a fun piece in this. We give Frank his worst day since that day in the park by Issue 2.

Charge into our exclusive preview of Marvel's Savage Avengers #1 in the gallery below, with covers and variants by David Finch, Skottie Young, Mike Deodato Jr., Lucio Parrillo, Leinil Francis Yu, and Simone Bianchi, then tell us if you'll recruit yourself a copy when the wild series starts on May 1.