Savage Avengers Annual #1: Review

Oct 2019
Gerry Duggan, Ron Garney

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4 stars

Savage Avengers Annual #1 Review by (November 17, 2019)
Daimon Hellstrom has been having a bit of a renaissance lately. He's just helped the Avengers and Ghost Rider (Robbie Reyes) win the Challenge Of The Ghost Riders in Hell ruled by GR (Johnny Blaze). And in Strikeforce he's been working for the Vridai and accidentally killed by Blade. Both these apps featured a new-look bald and bearded Hellstorm, obviously *not* the lord of Hell. This contrasts with his app here ruling Hell in his more conventional look. But earlier recent apps have him with his normal look but *not* ruling Hell. Perhaps he was right in Venom (2011) #41 when he said he existed in multiple versions.

Presumably this resurgence of activity is why Marvel has just released his 1st starring role in Marvel Spotlight #12 as a facsimile edition.

Marvel's Shuma-Gorath was 1st mentioned in tale in Journey Into Mystery (1972) #1, which was adapted from a Lovecraftian Cthulhu mythos story by Robert E Howard. He then entered the MU properly in Dr Strange's Marvel Premiere #9. More on him in #7 of the main title.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Savage Avengers Annual #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
FBI Agent Steph Rogers (probably no relation to anybody with a similar name) is in El Paso, Texas investigating the death of a trafficked woman who was branded with a sickle image. She learns that a smuggled phone card identified her as coming from Porto Alegre, Brazil. She says she'll send someone there to deal with it.

We follow a different woman named Esme who is currently being transported by slavers. She prays not to god but to the devil. In Hell Daimon Hellstrom is getting such prayers passed on to him by his servant Alexander who reads them from a tablet. Daimon finds them boring until he himself detects Esme's request. He grabs his trident and summons his fiery steed Iblis and heads for Brazil.

Also in Brazil is Conan, who we last saw in #6 in Montevideo, Uruguay. He is currently demanding his money back in a brothel because the women upstairs weren't there willingly. The men running the place don't take kindly to this so he has to kill them. The women are grateful but the barbarian has lost the urge. Instead they give him money they've saved up if he'll go kill the traffickers who put them here. They'll be holding a slave auction tomorrow. Conan takes the money but says he'd have killed the slavers for free anyway. And he decides to fill in the time with 1 of the girls who has caught his attention.

Esme has been brought to the auction site in a van with others. But suddenly Daimon Hellstrom arrives in a blinding light. He and his horse lash out at the slavers and the women apart from Esme run away. Conan has also got there but he sees Daimon as a wizard, in his experience always evil. He kills a guard and takes his shotgun, but he fails to make it fire so he uses it to trip Iblis and send Hellstrom flying. Daimon tries to reason with him, intrigued by this barbarian from elsewhen, but Conan won't listen.

Then a slaver grabs Hellstrom's trident to use as a weapon. But at a word from Daimon it bursts into flame, sending the man to Hell. As Conan tries to make a slaver lead him to other trafficked women, another guy prepares to behead him with a machete. But he's stopped by a bullet in the head, and impatient Conan snaps his guy's neck. The bullet came from Black Widow (who was presumably sent by Steph Rogers - unless *she* was Natasha Romanoff in a blonde wig). Conan picks up the machete and compliments the woman on her stealthy arrival. But then they both drop their weapons when a remaining slaver threatens to shoot Esme. However they know the fiery man is behind the bad guy, and Daimon causes him to experience all the pain he's caused in his life - which kills him.

Our 3 characters and Esme introduce themselves to each other. Conan says he likes women with red hair (remembering Red Sonja). Daimon assures Esme he's not claiming her soul or anything in return for his help. They examine a sickle brand on the last guy, and Widow says she's heard of this 'sickle' gang. Conan adds that the sorcerer Kulan Gath (in #1-5) led Sickle Priests in the City Of Sickles (in the Savage Land).

Esme leads them to a camp where many more women are held. Black Widow suggests they wait until dusk before making a sneak attack. She'll shoot the tower guards and Conan and Daimon can cut through the wire fence. But Conan has slipped away to attack *now* riding Iblis. Men rush to meet him but BW's gun takes some of them out and the rest are soon dead or running from the barbarian on the flaming horse.

Esme frees the women while Natasha photographs more sickle brands. Hellstrom cuts off a tattooed hand with his trident and sniffs it, saying the tattoo ink contains 'foul blood'. He says he'll track the source of the infection. But before leaving he offers to send Conan home (to his own time). Conan says he has unfinished business (with Kulan Gath). Daimon promises to come to his aid if he says his name 3 times, but the Cimmerian spurns wizardly help. Instead he offers the women protection on a trek to safety.

Black Widow had already left as silently as she arrived to track and capture 1 slaver who had escaped. But she fails to find him as the Sickle Priest spirits him away. But as punishment for his failure the man is 'allowed' to commit suicide as part of the tens of thousands who will be  sacrificed over the next few months. He reports to Kulan Gath that he has gathered a large amount of cocaine which they can infect with the 'venom' (presumably something which will kill these many people, and possibly the same thing that our heroes from the previous issues have been infected with). This is all in preparation for the coming of Shuma-Gorath.

Ron Garney
Ron Garney
Matt Milla
Mike Deodato Jr. (Cover Penciler)
Mike Deodato Jr. (Cover Inker)
Romulo Fajardo (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Travis Lanham.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Son of Satan
Son of Satan

(Daimon Hellstrom)

Plus: Sickle Priest.

> Savage Avengers Annual: Book info and issue index

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