As the Savage Avengers go on an adventure through time and space, Conan the Barbarian learns that an evil, multiversal god has finally returned.
WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Savage Avengers #22, on sale now from Marvel.
Ever since he arrived in the Marvel Universe’s present from his native Hyborian Age, Conan the Barbarian’s adventures have taken unexpected turns as the Last Cimmerian struggles against some of the world’s mightiest heroes and villains. A misunderstanding with Ghost Rider resulted in the two heroes traveling through time and space back to the Hyborian Age
. And as Conan regains his senses and finds himself back in the Marvel Universe’s present, his search for help signals the return of one of the most terrifying supervillains in the entire Marvel Multiverse: Shuma-Gorath.
Created in 1973 by Steve Englehart and Frank Brunner in Marvel Premiere #10, Shuma-Gorath primarily serves as an antagonist for Doctor Strange, inspired by the works of Conan creator Robert E. Howard. Imprisoned by Conan’s patron god Crom for millennia, Shuma-Gorath is an extra-dimensional monster possessing immense cosmic power and seeking to conquer the Marvel Universe and plunge it into chaos. However, Shuma-Gorath’s longstanding animosity towards Stephen Strange may have just been put on hold, with a deadly alliance discovered by Conan as he returns to the Sanctum Sanctorum in Savage Avengers #22, by Gerry Duggan, Patch Zircher, Java Tartaglia and VC’s Travis Lanham.
After being on the receiving end of Ghost Rider’s Penance Stare, Conan and Johnny Blaze are both accidentally transported back to the Hyborian Age where they encounter the Spirit of Vengeance from Conan’s original timeline. Caught in the flaming maw of the avenging figure’s arachnid mount, Conan and Johnny are then transported a millennia into the future where they apparently find themselves on the wrong end of a noose in the Wild West. Amidst all these visions, Conan suspects that his longtime, magical nemesis Kulan Gath may be poised to return from the grave and menace the entire Marvel Universe once more after the villain returned.
Kulan Gath has sought to gain Shuma-Gorath’s power ever since both villains were at the arguable height of their powers during the Hyborian Age. While Kulan Gath has succeeded in controlling Shuma-Gorath briefly, the dark god’s powers have proved too much, coupled with Conan’s timely meddling to prevent the sorcerer from conquering the universe. If Kulan Gath is truly coming back into play, Shuma-Gorath and Doctor Strange may be setting aside old differences to take on a mutual threat and prevent Shuma-Gorath’s sheer destructive power from growing out of control and shifting to someone that manages to top the dark god’s malicious will. And with Conan and Ghost Rider now drawn into this strange alliance, the three heroes and Shuma-Gorath may continue to travel through time to ensure Kulan Gath’s latest plot fails before more damage is done.
Conan the Barbarian may have no love lost for Shuma-Gorath but his hatred for Kulan Gath may similarly lead him to agree to a temporary truce with the extra-dimensional entity. Kulan Gath’s impending return is a threat for whatever timeline he appears in, wielding dark magic with an intent to bend the entire world to his fiendish will. And while Shuma-Gorath may seem like the most unlikely addition to the Savage Avengers, the cosmic villain appears genuine in approaching Strange in the Sanctum Sanctorum for help, setting Conan up for his wildest team-up yet with one of the multiverse’s most feared villains.
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