Savage Avengers #9 Review

Writer: David Pepose

Art: Carlos Magno

Colors: Espen Grundetjern

Letters: VC’s Travis Lanham

Cover: Giuseppe Camuncoli & Chris O’Halloran

Variant Cover: Kyle Hotz & Dan Brown

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Price: 3.99

Release Date: January 11th, 2022

If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read the Savage Avengers #9 Review.

The Dispatch

The year 2099 is running low on Avengers. Or at least, running low on Avengers that haven’t been killed by Ultron and resurrected as cybernetic monstrosities. SAVAGE AVENGERS #9 opens up with only Jake Gallows (Punisher 2099) and Miles Morales (Deathlok) standing between Ultron and complete temporal domination. In issue after issue SAVAGE AVENGERS has delivered on ever higher stakes. But after the expectations-defying finish of SAVAGE AVENGERS #8, can SAVAGE AVENGERS #9 possibly keep that going?

Despite the disaster that was the Avengers’ attempt to acquire Doom’s temporal gauntlet in the last issue, Jake and Miles are locked into that same mission again in SAVAGE AVENGERS #9 because now Ultron is in possession of the temporal gauntlet and that puts all of time in danger. But this time Jake and Miles’ attackers aren’t near identical Deathloks. The threat comes from Deathlok versions of their fellow Avengers. Jake’s strategy is his usual hack, slash, and shoot. Miles takes a different tack. Hoping to find something of his friends left beneath their cybernetics, Miles reaches out into cyberspace..

SAVAGE AVENGERS #9 doesn’t bring the surprises like the previous issue did (though there is one big character-related surprise here). It’s a fairly straightforward issue. Indeed, Miles’s idea to try and find the person buried in the machine is a fairly standard one in stories involving cybernetics. Pepose uses this to inject some nice character moments. As is often the case in this series, the moments are brief because of the speed at which the story unfolds. But they are effective moments. In this case, rather than Pepose giving us brief interactions that develop characters through implication, he has Miles make direct, individual observations about the kind of people his team is made up of. This is a very effective way to reaffirm who these characters are as the story barrels toward its conclusion.

The best mini character arc in SAVAGE AVENGERS #9 doesn’t belong to one of the original Savage Avengers, though, but to Jake Gallows. Pepose has revisited the trauma motivating Jake repeatedly since introducing him to the series. All along the story has remained the same and been almost a one-to-one lift from the original Punisher’s origin. But it turns out that in all this time we didn’t know the full story. The truth turns out to be even more tragic, though not entirely surprising. Pepose intercuts flashback panels through the first half of the issue and ultimately uses this revelation to draw a distinction between how Jake and Miles intend to deal with their cybernetically enslaved teammates. This new background knowledge also turns what might be an otherwise ordinary parting between Jake and Miles into something with emotional significance.

The Art

The flashback sequences and panels in SAVAGE AVENGERS #9 are maybe the most character defining moments we’ve gotten for Jake–certainly in a visual sense. A common device for depicting flashbacks is to use black and white. Grundetjern does that here (with some very minor color accents in a few cases). The color choice leaves little impression on the first page. But the flashbacks drop in frequency as the issue goes on. From a full first page they drop to a panel here and there. The black and white makes them appear offset against the otherwise colored page, and they gain more prominence. This choice significantly underscores the emotional weight of the moment.

Magno’s work is, unsurprisingly, once more of high quality. His ability to infuse every panel with energy is a big reason these issues advance at such a fast pace. No one is ever just standing still in this book. But most noteworthy in this issue is his depictions of the Deathlok versions of the Avengers. They are all different levels of disturbing. Deathlok Anti-Venom is a grotesque blend of machine, bone, tissue, and symbiote. I actually wouldn’t mind seeing more of him.

Final Thoughts

SAVAGE AVENGERS #9 has the unfortunate distinction of following up the most intense and shocking issue of a consistently high quality series. But being a relatively quieter and somewhat more predictable issue isn’t a letdown. The slightly less intense pace also allows for greater anticipation ahead of the promised endgame. And this issue still lives up to the overall standard the series has set.


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