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Appearing in "Chapter One: Once Upon a Time in the City of Sickles"

Reprint of the 1st story from
Savage Avengers #1

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • The Hand
  • Unidentified Egyptian cult (First appearance)
  • Unidentified cult (First appearance) (Main story and flashback)

Other Characters:

Races and Species:

Locations:

Items:

Events and Ages:

Synopsis for "Chapter One: Once Upon a Time in the City of Sickles"

Reprint of the 1st story from
Savage Avengers #1

An opera singer named Signore Saviano is abducted from Vienna by the Hand and taken to the Savage Land through a portal, where he is turned over to a cult. Signore Saviano tells his abductors that he has kidnapping insurance. The head cultist dismisses his blustering and takes him into a temple called the City of Sickles, overlooking a massive receptacle full of blood and corpses. Signore Saviano tells the head cultist that if any harm comes to him he has powerful friends that will make them pay, but the head cultist sneers that he and his acolytes are counting on it. Pushing Signore Saviano onto a ledge overlooking the bowl, the head cultist states that they are filling it with the blood of the finest specimens of mankind -- but most importantly, warriors -- in order to summon the dark god Jhoatun Lau. Pulling out a sickle, the high priest decapitates Signore Saviano, saying that he loved his voice. Turning to sacrifice his next victim, the head priest tells the Hand ninja that they now need the blood of powerful warriors.

Elsewhere in the Savage Land, Conan of Cimmeria slaughters his way through a horde of Hand ninja, seeking to infiltrate the City of Sickles and steal a priceless amulet. As Conan lapses into a berserker rage, he strikes an enemy who doesn't fall to his blade, Wolverine - who remarks that he killed the last ninja. As Conan invokes his patron god, Crom, Wolverine extends his claws and slashes Conan across the face. Grabbing a katana, Conan slashes at Wolverine, who blocks it with his arm and tells Conan his bones are made of unbreakable metal. Wolverine kicks Conan in the crotch to disable him, then notes that since he's not a member of the Hand they have no reason to try to kill one another; asking Conan to postpone whatever business he has in the City of Sickles. Conan vehemently refuses and throws a large rock at Wolverine, who impales it on his claws and uses it to bash Conan across the face. Conan dashes past Wolverine, who yells at him to stay down. Snarling that he'll stay down when he's dead, Conan grabs a katana and impales Wolverine. As Wolverine stares down at the sword sticking out of his chest, Conan says he was a worthy opponent and died honorably. Wolverine collapses and Conan steps over his body, only for Wolverine to reveal he was only pretending to be dead, removing the katana from his chest and passing it to Conan. Conan strikes a fighting stance, but Wolverine slices the katana to pieces with his claws. Calling Wolverine a demon, Conan tackles him off a cliff. Wolverine tries to use his claws to break his fall, but Conan grabs him and they crash down into the village below.

Finding themselves in a beer cellar, Conan recovers first and breaks open a keg, drinking from it before pouring some alcohol into Wolverine's mouth. Picking himself up, Wolverine asks Conan if he's a friend of Ka-Zar, though Conan says he doesn't recognize the name and that he had been fighting alongside the Avengers before suddenly finding himself in the Savage Land. Wolverine disparages the Avengers, Conan staking claim on the City of Sickles' treasures. Wolverine states that Conan would have better luck treasure-hunting elsewhere, but that he's obviously not from around there. Getting introductions out of the way, Conan tells Wolverine that his "sneak blades" and immortality make him a truly formidable foe, asking what his business in the City of Sickles is. As they traverse the city, evading Egyptian cultists and Hand ninja, Wolverine states that a friend of his was taken captive, and that he's picking up scents from Japan, Egypt, and a place he doesn't recognize. Conan interjects that he's heard stories of an amulet with an eye-sized jewel and that that's what he's after. Wolverine says he's not interested in treasure; and Conan is disgusted and enraged when Wolverine states that the Hand are necromancers. Shaking hands, Wolverine and Conan amicably part ways.

In Madripoor, Doctor Voodoo notes that some of the most powerful crime bosses have mysteriously vanished. Having been hired by the mother of one of the crime bosses, Doctor Voodoo detects something supernatural going on and realizes it's the Hand. The woman says the Hand promised to return her son if she brought him to them, Doctor Voodoo scolding her for believing them and saying he didn't come to Madripoor unprepared.

Scaling the side of a tower, Conan notes that the scents that Wolverine couldn't place belong to time-displaced Cimmerians like himself. Tossing a guard to his death, Conan enters the tower and peers through a grate to see the Hyborian sorcerer Kulan Gath - the possessor of the amulet that he is looking for - sleeping on a slab below a large cage containing a symbiote.

About to be sacrificed, Doctor Voodoo asks the head priest what the cult is sacrificing people for. The high priest says that there is a planet beyond Pluto that enters into conjunction with Earth once every millennia, and that they will use this cosmic alignment to summon the Marrow God Jhoatun Lau so that he may feast on the mortals of Earth and take his loyal acolytes to his temple in the stars. A previous attempt to summon Jhoatun Lau 113,000 years ago was improperly conducted, as when the eldritch god manifested he simply devoured the priests who summoned him, but that with the help of other mystical sects they have properly prepared the sacrifice. Horrified, Brother Voodoo snaps that the cultist is insane. Agreeing that he probably is, the cultist transforms his left hand into crimson claws. Wolverine arrives, slaughtering Hand ninja, but is too late to save Doctor Voodoo - whose throat is slashed by the cultist's claws. As Wolverine is overwhelmed by Hand ninja, the cultist commands that he be captured to be sacrificed. Noticing a group of Hand ninja carrying coffins, he asks why they have brought corpses, which they say are bait for a warrior who has shed more blood than almost any other man.

In a cemetery in New York, Frank Castle discovers that his family's graves have been exhumed, with a waterskin being left in place of Maria Castle's casket.

Appearing in "Chapter Two: Death Proof"

Reprint of the 1st story from
Savage Avengers #2

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • Unidentified cult (Main story and flashback)
  • The Hand

Other Characters:

Races and Species:

Locations:

Items:

Vehicles:

Events:

Synopsis for "Chapter Two: Death Proof"

Reprint of the 1st story from
Savage Avengers #2

In the early 1940s, at the height of World War II, Luftwaffe fighter pilot Johan Richter is shot down over Antarctica by Allied air forces. As Richter parachutes to relative safety, one of the Allied fighter planes collides with a Pteranodon; the other mysteriously vanishing into a blue portal that opens in midair. Stranded in the Savage Land, Richter fends for himself against predatory dinosaurs and stumbles across a strange city. Seeing a mysterious man in a tall hat and tattered robe standing on a platform supported by the backs of several slaves, Richter approaches and asks where he is. Turning, the robed man introduces himself as Kulan Gath; telling Richter to kneel and that if he obeys him he will be granted power, but that if he proves a disappointment he will pray for a death that never comes. As Richter kneels before the sorcerer, Kulan Gath digs his claw-like fingernails into the Nazi's head, drawing blood. Using his blood magic, Kulan Gath reads Richter's mind and learns of the Holocaust and Red Skull, proclaiming that Richter is evil enough to be a worthy apprentice.

In the present, Richter - now known as the Sickle Prist - stands over the body of Jericho Drumm and points at Logan, ordering the Hand ninja to kill him. Enraged over the death of his friend, Logan extends his claws and lunges. As Logan kills the ninja that get between them, the Sickle Priest conjures the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak and is shocked when Logan easily breaks free, teleporting away in a cloud of green smoke. Turning to Drumm, Logan apologizes for being unable to save him, then decides to try something. Cutting his palm with his claws, Logan cuts into Drumm's chest and drizzles his blood into the opening before palpitating his heart. Deflecting an arrow, Logan gives up and turns to fight the oncoming ninja, only for Doctor Voodoo to suddenly resuscitate as his wounds heal.

Elsewhere, Conan of Cimmeria infiltrates the fortress and carefully treads his way through the serpents covering the floor, to where Kulan Gath - also displaced through time from the Hyborian Age - slumbers. Noticing Kulan Gath is wearing the amulet he seeks - the Third Eye of Agamotto - Conan tries to remove it. Awakening, Kulan Gath states that he wasn't who he foresaw coming for the amulet. As Kulan Gath blasts him with magic lightning, he recognizes Conan from their prior encounters in the distant past, mockingly welcoming him to the 21st century and declaring his intent to sacrifice him. Spotting a sealed jar nearby containing a symbiote - which he mistakes for a demonic djinn - Conan grabs it and smashes the jar into Kulan Gath's face. The symbiote - which had been imprisoned for so long it was driven insane by the isolation - attempts to bond to Kulan Gath, who blasts it with a torrent of magical flames; its agonized shrieks alerting another of its kind to its suffering. Taking advantage of the distraction, Conan escapes with the amulet.

Later, Kulan Gath and the Sickle Priest reconvene, the former stating that he was forced to summon Venom earlier than anticipated. The Sickle Priest informs him of Logan - who simply refuses to die no matter how many fatal wounds he's dealt, and Kulan Gath says he'll deal with him. Kulan Gath tells the Sickle Priest that the Third Eye was stolen by a thief, the Nazi-turned-acolyte vowing to recover it - both oblivious to Conan clinging to a nearby wall and eavesdropping.

Impaled by a katana and countless arrows, Logan faces off against a trio of Hand ninja, who are trying to incapacitate him by severing his spine. One attacking ninja is blocked by a web of magical energy, Logan turning to see Jericho Drumm is back from the dead. Imploding the ninja, Doctor Voodoo thanks Logan for resurrecting him, but their reunion is interrupted by the arrival of Kulan Gath, who introduces himself as the master of the City of Sickles.

Elsewhere, Frank Castle is incapacitated by a group of Hand ninja, who mock him for falling for their trap. Revealing he was pretending to be unconscious, the Punisher kills them with an M18 Claymore mine and furiously demands to know where his family is.

Appearing in "Chapter Three: Crom Whispers"

Reprint of the 1st story from
Savage Avengers #3

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Locations:

Items:

Events:

Synopsis for "Chapter Three: Crom Whispers"

Reprint of the 1st story from
Savage Avengers #3

Wielding an assault rifle and a katana, the Punisher mows down Hand ninja and furiously demands to know where his family is. One of the ninja calls out to him, and as he turns to open fire the ninja plugs the barrel of his gun with a sai. Recognizing Elektra Natchios, Castle stops and the assassin calls him out on falling for an obvious trap. Castle brusquely informs her that the Hand stole the bodies of his family, causing her to express sympathy in his plight. Elektra offers to scout ahead and warns him that the Hand are collecting the blood of warriors for a sinister purpose. Noticing three sets of gouges on one of the pillars, Castle notes they're not alone. Elektra retorts that Wolverine can handle himself, and that they should be more concerned for their own safety.

Bound and suspended by chains over the sacrificial bowl, Logan snarls that he's going to kill Kulan Gath. The Hyborian sorcerer slashes him with a sickle and sneers that he should have died hours ago, calling him a freak and noting that Logan's healing factor might give him enough blood to finish the ritual.

As he exits the City of Sickles and prepares to make his escape, Conan of Cimmeria hears Logan's agonized screams and turns back to rescue the mutant. The symbiote also hears Logan's screams and sets off to seek revenge on the wizard for capturing and torturing it.

At the temple, the Sickle Priest arrives and holds out the Third Eye of Agamotto... only for Kulan Gath to sneer that such a pathetic illusion would never be able to fool him. Dropping the disguise, Doctor Voodoo says it was worth a shot and stabs Kulan Gath in the chest with a katana. More annoyed than hurt, Kulan Gath grabs Doctor Voodoo by the throat and remarks that he was hoping to face off against the Sorcerer Supreme. Drumm sneers that Gath isn't a big enough problem for Doctor Strange to concern himself with, but Kulan Gath snarls that he was the Sorcerer Supreme of the Hyborian Age. Removing the katana and pressing the tip to Drumm's chest, Kulan Gath tells Drumm that his brother's soul was captured by the Hand, threatening to destroy it unless Drumm swears fealty to him. Drumm begs him not to, but before Kulan Gath can say anything more he's shot in the head.

Standing in an archway, Elektra tells Castle that she'll free Logan while he does his thing. Castle angrily demands to know where his family is, and Kulan Gath - unharmed by the headshot - tells him they were tossed into the sacrificial bowl and that he's welcome to go searching for them. Kulan Gath then offers to resurrect them if Castle hunts down the one who stole his amulet and returns it to him. Logan tells Castle not to fall for it before sneering that Gath's amulet is long-gone. No sooner does he say this than Conan arrives and offers the amulet in exchange for his new comrades' lives, threatening to run Kulan Gath through if he refuses. Elektra states they already tried that, but Conan retorts that Gath hasn't been impaled through the heart by him. Deciding to capitalize on the distraction, Elektra frees Logan with a flurry of shuriken, remarking that she'd heard he was dead. Logan remarks that that sounds about right, landing heavily as Elektra breaks the last chain holding him. Summoning a group of Hand ninja and Egyptian priests, Kulan Gath tells the group of antiheroes that he'll grant them quick and merciful deaths if they give him the amulet, but that if they refuse then he will make them suffer exquisitely.

Conan sneers that he could slay Kulan Gath by himself, clapping Logan on the back and boasting that together with his "dwarven companion" victory is ensured. Logan extends his claws... before promptly passing out from blood loss. As Conan tries to rouse Logan, telling him to fight for Pabst, Kulan Gath commands his servants to bring him the amulet. Drawing his sword, Conan easily slays the ninja and priests attacking him, Kulan Gath firing a bolt of mystical lightning at him. Conan dodges and the lightning hits Elektra instead. Taking advantage of the distraction, Kulan Gath impales Conan through the chest with his arm, grabbing the Third Eye of Agamotto in the process. As Kulan Gath cheerfully remarks that he's just in time for the convergence, Conan collapses to his knees. The symbiote emerges from the shadows behind him and bonds to him, healing the fatal wound, covering his arm, and manifesting a sword. Mistaking the symbiote's bloodthirsty voice in his mind for that of his patron god, Conan obeys its command to kill all their enemies. Undeterred, Kulan Gath begins the ritual to summon Jhoatun Lau, Drumm warning his allies not to shed any more blood. Ignoring him, Conan bisects a Hand ninja with his abyssal sword and sends the corpse plummeting into the sacrificial pit. Elektra and Castle recoil in horror as the Marrow God rises from the pool of blood and corpses, Kulan Gath jubilantly declaring his victory.

Appearing in "Chapter Four: Stress Test"

Reprint of the 1st story from
Savage Avengers #4

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

Other Characters:

  • Crom (Mentioned)
  • The Hand (Mentioned)
  • [[|Lisa Castle|Corpse possessed by a Xholtan Skin-Walker
  • [[|Frank Castle, Jr.|Corpse possessed by a Xholtan Skin-Walker
  • [[|Maria Castle|Corpse possessed by a Xholtan Skin-Walker
  • Space Knights (Mentioned)
    • Rom (Mentioned)

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Synopsis for "Chapter Four: Stress Test"

Reprint of the 1st story from
Savage Avengers #4

As Jhoatun Lau rises from the pool of blood, Kulan Gath humbly greets the eldritch god and bids it to feast on the Earth's biosphere in exchange for taking Kulan Gath and his cult with it when it departs. Logan lunges and stabs Jhoatun Lau in the neck with his adamantium claws, but the Marrow God pulls him into its body. Conan invokes Crom in horror, Elektra asking Doctor Voodoo if he has anything. Doctor Voodoo says he's still trying to figure out what they're up against, advising they focus on taking out Kulan Gath.

Conan's symbiote commands him to slay the eldritch god, the barbarian warrior lunging at Jhoatun Lau with his abyssal blade. The Punisher confronts Kulan Gath and opens fire with an assault rifle, furiously demanding to know where his family is. Elektra stabs Kulan Gath in the heart with one of her sai, telling Castle to decapitate the sorcerer. Kulan Gath scoffs and removes the sai, sneering that he cannot be killed by her crude methods. Remarking that he knows all about her thanks to the Hand, he tells her to die and join them again. As Kulan throws Elektra's sai back at her, Conan deflects it with his symbiote-sword. Blasting Conan back, Kulan Gath remarks that he hadn't expected to see him again and wonders how he came to be so far away from Cimmeria. Snarling that the Punisher is annoying him, Kulan Gath grabs Castle by the face and views his memories of the day he lost his family, mockingly accusing him of having used his wife as a human shield. As Castle is left stunned by being forced to relive his worst memories, Kulan Gath opens a portal to Shanghai and sends Jhoatun Lau through, Conan clinging to the Marrow God's equine hindquarters. Shouting for Castle to snap out of it, Elektra grabs his assault rifle and opens fire, but is too late to stop the Marrow God from disappearing through the portal.

Remarking that he's tired, Kulan Gath walks towards a pyramid to take a nap. Doctor Voodoo confronts him, demanding to know why he summoned Jhoatun Lau to Earth. Blocking Doctor Voodoo's barrage of magic blasts, Kulan Gath remarks that he's just testing how robust the world's immune system is, and where its weak points are. Addressing Castle, Kulan Gath states he will return his family to him - conjuring their coffins before disappearing into the pyramid. The coffins burst open and Maria Castle, Lisa Castle, and Frank Castle Jr. appear. As the astonished Punisher steps towards them, Doctor Voodoo warns him not to speak. Calling out to his wife, Castle shoves Elektra and Doctor Voodoo out of the way, but Doctor Voodoo magically removes his mouth before unmasking Frank's family as a trio of Xholtan Skin-Walkers. Exorcising the demons from the Castle family's corpses and returning the bodies to their coffins, Doctor Voodoo restores the Punisher's mouth and says that Xholtan Skin-Walkers are master illusionists that bind those who speak to them - and those bonds are difficult to undo. As Castle breaks down in tears, Doctor Voodoo turns and summons a portal, telling Elektra to leave him to mourn. Elektra snaps at Castle to get over himself and man up, the Punisher stoically picking up his assault rifle and swiping Doctor Voodoo's sunglasses.

As they arrive in Shanghai, they're greeted by the sight of Jhoatun Lau -- who has grown to colossal sizes. Greeting his allies, Conan informs them that the more the Marrow God eats the bigger it gets. Jhoatun Lau stomps on Conan, the barbarian's symbiote screeching. As Doctor Voodoo tells Elekra to get the Avengers, Elektra states they may have another problem. Transformed into a massive symbiote-dragon by Jhoatun Lau's cosmic radiation, Venom furiously demands to know who has enslaved a member of its kind, grabbing onto Jhoatun Lau and biting its shoulder. Logan rips his way out of the Marrow God's stomach, Venom reacting in disgust. As Jhoatun Lau grabs a bus and tries to devour its occupants, Venom snatches the bus from the Marrow God's hands. As she, Conan, and Logan hack at the Marrow God, Elektra tells Voodoo to teleport it off Earth. Doctor Voodoo retorts that the best he can manage is the Swamps of Ogun, which might not be good enough. Confronting Conan, Venom demands to know what a "nude weight-lifter" is doing with a symbiote, demanding Conan relinquish its brethren before it sacrifices itself healing his wounds. Conan refuses, saying that the dark genie is carrying out Crom's will; confusing Venom, who mistakes Crom for Rom of the Space Knights. As Venom reiterates its demand for Conan to relinquish his symbiote and Conan vehemently refuses, Elektra intervenes and tells them to save their squabble until after Jhoatun Lau is vanquished. Doctor Voodoo remarks that Jhoatun Lau is too big for him to teleport, but that Venom, Conan, and Logan proved it could be cut. Elektra remarks that now they just need to cut it to death, the Punisher adding that once the Marrow God is dead he's calling dibs on Kulan Gath.

Appearing in "Chapter Five: The Triumph of Kulan Gath"

Reprint of the 1st story from
Savage Avengers #5

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Synopsis for "Chapter Five: The Triumph of Kulan Gath"

Reprint of the 1st story from
Savage Avengers #5
  • Synopsis not yet written

Appearing in "vs. Free Comic Book Day"

Reprint of the 2nd story from
Free Comic Book Day (Vol. 2019) #Avengers

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • The Hand
  • Unnamed Egyptian cultist (Only appearance; dies)[2]

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Synopsis for "vs. Free Comic Book Day"

Reprint of the 2nd story from
Free Comic Book Day (Vol. 2019) #Avengers
  • Synopsis not yet written

See Also

Links and References

Footnotes

  1. Savage Avengers #1; Director's Cut
  2. 2.0 2.1 First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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