Warning! This comic has a publication date of next year and the article below may contain spoilers!
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Appearing in "Chapter One: Once Upon a Time in the City of Sickles"
- Doctor Voodoo (Jericho Drumm) (Apparent death)
- The Hand
- Unidentified Egyptian cult (First appearance)
- Unidentified cult (First appearance) (Main story and flashback)
- Signore Saviano (Only appearance; dies)
- Several unidentified victims (First appearance; corpses)
- Beast of the Hand (Mentioned)
- Crom (Invoked)
- Popeye (Mentioned) (Topical reference)
- Ka-Zar (Kevin Plunder) (Mentioned)
- Avengers (Mentioned)
- Yun (First appearance)
- Yun's son (Mentioned)
- Unnamed symbiote
- Jhoatun Lau (First appearance) (Only in flashback)
- Maria Castle (Corpse behind the scenes)
- Lisa Castle (Corpse behind the scenes)
- Frank Castle, Jr. (Corpse behind the scenes)
- Punisher (Frank Castle)
Races and Species:
- Humans (Main story and flashback)
- Devils (Mentioned)
- Gods (Only in flashback)
- Solar System (Main story and flashback)
- Earth (Main story and flashback)
- Antarctica (Main story and flashback)
- Cimmeria, Hyboria (Mentioned)
- Egypt, Africa (Mentioned)
- North America
- Unidentified planet (Mentioned)
- Pluto (Mentioned)
- Earth (Main story and flashback)
- Hell (Invoked)
- Wolverine's Suit
- Adamantium (On Wolverine's claws)
- Spinach (Mentioned) (Topical reference)
- Pabst (Mentioned) (Topical reference)
- Third Eye of Agamotto (First appearance) (Unnamed)
Events and Ages:
- Hyborian Age (Mentioned)
Synopsis for "Chapter One: Once Upon a Time in the City of Sickles"
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 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.
The most savage, most unkillable team of characters in the Marvel Universe is assembled! Wolverine! Venom! Elektra! Punisher! And in their midst – Conan the Barbarian! Conan has returned to the Marvel Universe and his new adventures begin here. What is the City of Sickles? Who is the Marrow God? How is the Hand involved? The roughest and most dangerous characters rumble through this new title starting with...Conan vs. Wolverine? ’Nuff said.
- The director's cut contains information that was omitted from and occasionally conflicts with the published version. For example, in the published version the Sickle Priest says that Jhoatun Lau can only be summoned every millennium, putting the flashback scene of the Marrow God's summoning during the previous convergence at around 1019; however, in the director's cut the Sickle Priest uses "millennia" and the flashback scene is stated to take place 113,000 years before present.
- A companion story to this issue was featured in Free Comic Book Day Vol 2019 Savage Avengers.
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