When Marvel transported Conan The Barbarian to the contemporary Marvel comic book universe I was at first confused, then excited by the possibilities.
While still continuing his sword-and-sorcery exploits in the Hyborian Age (currently under the stewardship of superb writer Jim Zub), "modern day" Conan - primarily in the pages of Savage Avengers - has proved more than a match for superheroes and supervillains alike.
Penned by Gerry Duggan, Savage Avengers is ostensibly a team book, but, despite the odd issue where he's not front-and-centre, it's really another Conan title.
One of the traits that has made Robert E Howard's character so enduring is his cunning intelligence and adaptability, and that has come to the fore in Savage Avengers as we see Conan learning about the new world he has been dragged to.
While I fear Marvel's plans to bring other Howard characters to life have died on the vine (the Dark Agnes mini-series was a victim of the pandemic closedown and there's been no further mention of Solomon Kane), having two parallel, and unconnected, Conan titles - one in his classic setting and one in the modern world - seems to be working very well.
The Cimmerian's adventures fighting alongside Wolverine, Deadpool, The Punisher, Doctor Strange et al will clearly have no impact on his Hyborian tales (nor should they).
The two story styles are distinct and very different, and should remain so.
Honestly, as much as I enjoyed Savage Avengers from its opening salvo, I initially thought it would have a limited shelf life, but the further Duggan gets into Conan's stories, the more I want it to run and run.
I have been genuinely surprised by how well Conan fits in the contemporary Marvel comic book universe, and can't wait to witness his interactions with more costumed characters.
Could Conan establish himself as a major crime lord in NYC, will he be invited to join the main Avengers squad, will he be discovered by Hollywood and have a new career as a stunt man, or will he simply continue to roam the globe having picaresque adventures?
All these options could work.
Savage Avengers is a beautiful synthesis of two of my favourite genres: superheroes and sword-and-sorcery; it's a rare alchemical mix that tastes amazing.
Wacky team-ups and wild crossovers are the bread-and-butter of comic books. Not all of them work. But some go like gangbusters and deserve to run and run.
I also reckon if Savage Avengers gets enough issues under its belt that's my best chance of getting a Marvel Legends Conan The Barbarian action figure.