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Savage Avengers #4: Review

Aug 2019
Gerry Duggan, Mike Deodato Jr.

Story Name:

Chapter 4: Stress test

Review & Comments

4 stars

Savage Avengers #4 Review by (August 17, 2019)
It's a nice cover idea of Punisher with a sword and Conan with big guns. Pity it doesn't happen inside. And there are no Hand for them to fight in this issue either.

We are editorially told that if someone 'from beyond the Van Allen Belt' gets much larger he will split into a multitude, and Earth will be doomed. I think that means Jhoatun Lau, but it could refer to Venom.
There is a precedent for a Klyntar symbiote to take the form of a large dragon, and also to split into multiple symbiotes. This was Grendel, but that creature was a conglomerate of symbiotes in the 1st place.

The 1st symbiote, All-Black, took the form of a black sword. Venom itself was turned into a black sword by Malekith in War Of The Realms. Maybe this is a reason why he takes exception to Conan wielding such a weapon.

The Swamps Of Ogun was the underworld where Dr Voodoo's brother Daniel Drumm was trapped in Uncanny Avengers vol 3 #7.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Savage Avengers #4 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The carnage wreaked by Conan the Barbarian has given the wizard Kulan Gath the remaining blood he needed to summon Jhoatun Lau, the Marrow God, into this this world in the City of Sickles in the Savage Land. (The MG looks like a large centaur with a demonic 'human' half.) Wolverine launches himself claws 1st into the side of the neck of the God, but the God seems to swallow him whole.

Doctor Voodoo tells Conan and Elektra to attack Kulan Gath while he tries to figure out a spell to deal with Jhoatun Lau. But Conan chooses instead to make his own assault on the giant God with the black sword that formed from the Klyntar symbiote that staunched his otherwise-fatal chest wound. (It is the symbiote which prompts/commands him to do this, in revenge for being Gath's captive.)

So Punisher just shoots Gath in the back while Elektra sticks a sai in his chest. However the sorcerer survives this and hurls the weapon back at its owner, only deflected by Conan's blade. Gath only now after several issues thinks to ask the Barbarian how come he's here so far from Cimmeria (much further in time than in space). And he hurls his long-time foe away with a gesture.

Then the wizard turns to concentrate on Punisher, who hasn't stopped shooting at him. He grabs Frank Castle's head and pulls images from his mind of his wife and 2 young kids being killed by mob crossfire. Gath already knew about this because he stole their coffins to lure the vigilante here. But now he points out that Frank was protected by his wife's body, and suggests that Castle had instinctively used her as a shield. This possibility sends Punisher into stunned inaction.

Gath forms a portal to take the Marrow God to a densely populated city where the he may feast. Elektra can't snap Punisher out of his funk so she grabs his assault rifle and empties it at the monster. And Conan leaps on its back as it exits.

Kulan Gath says he's going for a kip but Dr Voodoo interrupts him for a mystical battle. While exchanging battle spells Jericho Drumm says he doesn't think the wizard *really* brought the demon god here to destroy the Earth. Gath admits it's actually a test of the world's defences which he can learn from. But now he exits via a secret tunnel ...

... leaving Punisher a parting 'gift'. The 3 coffins burst open and Maria Castle and her children emerge alive. Frank walks towards their inviting embrace but Voodoo stops him and seals his mouth. He reveals the revenants as Xholtan skin-walkers and banishes them with a spell. Then he frees Castle and tells him that if he'd engaged them in conversation he would never have been free from them.

Jericho thinks the grieving Punisher will be in no fit state to fight for a while. But Elektra tells Frank to save his grief for later - there are civilians that need protecting. Castle picks up his gun and takes Drumm's sunglasses, and he's grimly ready for business.

Voodoo transports them to New York City where Conan is hanging on to the beast which has grown much larger by 'eating'. Jhoatun Lau smashes the Cimmerian down with a giant hoof. Conan's grunt of pain is accompanied by a shriek from the symbiote that shares his body. As Punisher and Voodoo fire at the Marrow God Elektra notes an new combatant. The cries have attracted the Venom symbiote (currently without a host) who joins the fight in the shape of a giant black dragon. (We are told that cosmic radiation emitted by the God from outer space was responsible for Venom's bigliness.)

At this point Wolverine slashes his way free of the demon's body. The MG grabs a bus and breaks it in half in order to empty the passengers into his gaping maw. But dragon-Venom swoops in and carries the bus away. Logan starts trying to hamstring the legs of the 'centaur' and Conan and Elektra follow his example. Voodoo contemplates sending the demon to the Swamps Of Ogun, but that could be a bad move if he can eat the souls of the dead.

Venom has finally noticed that the fellow-symbiote whose cry he heard is attached to Conan, or the nude weight-lifter as he calls him. He demands that Conan free the symbiote. Conan says he already *did* free it from Kulan Gath, and now it's chosen to join him. Venom says repairing Conan's body is killing it, and a symbiote black sword is too dangerous to leave in the hands of a human. (There's also a bit where Conan invokes his god Crom, and Venom thinks he's talking about Rom the Spaceknight.)

Elektra parts them. Voodoo says the Marrow God's now too big for him to teleport anywhere. But they've proved the God can be cut so Elektra suggests they *hack* it to death. Punisher agrees but then he's going back to kill Kulan Gath.

Mike Deodato Jr.
Mike Deodato Jr.
Frank Martin
David Finch (Cover Penciler)
David Finch (Cover Inker)
Frank D'Armata (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Travis Lanham.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Doctor Voodoo
Doctor Voodoo

(Jericho Drumm)

(Frank Castle)

(James Howlett)

Plus: Kulan Gath, Marrow God (Jhoatun), Venom (Symbiote).

> Savage Avengers: Book info and issue index

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