Frank Castle, the Punisher, makes a grim discovery in Savage Avengers #1: the corpses of his wife and two children have been stolen.
In Vienna, celebrated opera singer Signore Saviano is abducted and taken to the Savage Land by the Hand. There Saviano learns his fate is controlled by cult leader Sickle Priest, who decapitates Saviano and throws his body into a pit, a bowl to be filled “with the finest of mankind.”
“The best artists, thinkers, but most importantly — warriors,” the cloaked figure says. At the time of the Celestial Conjunction, the cult will attempt to summon the Marrow God Jhoatun Lau from his icy domain.
As Sickle Priest readies his blade to decapitate a prominent judge, he has simple instructions for the ninja before him: “We need more powerful blood... let the warriors come.”
Elsewhere, Conan the Barbarian — displaced from his time during the events of Avengers: No Road Home — seeks a priceless amulet hidden within one of the turrets in the City of Sickles. After brutally slaying a wave of Hand ninja, a misunderstanding leads to a clash with the metal-clawed mutant Wolverine.
Their battle ends when both men, each refusing to die, are sent toppling over a cliff and into a pub. They share drinks and Wolverine learns the treasure-seeking Conan was left behind in the Savage Land by the Avengers. Conan says they’ll cross blades again if Wolverine is seeking the amulet.
When discussing the Hand, Wolverine says they “usually don’t take the living, just the dead.” Conan spits. “I hate necromancers!”
Having come to a mutual respect, they part ways with a handshake.
In Madripoor, Jericho Drumm, a.k.a. Doctor Voodoo, investigates the disappearances of the island’s most powerful gangsters.
Later, Drumm is about to be sacrificed by Sickle Priest. “Your power will be joined with the blood in the bowl, and we will be one rung higher on the ladder to our heaven.”
The priest explains that once a millennium, a planet beyond Pluto reaches the proper orbit to form a conjunction with Earth, allowing their sect to summon Jhoatun Lau. Once summoned, his loyal acolytes will join the god in his temple in the stars. Because the last summoning failed, leaving Jhoatun Lau’s acolytes killed, the bowl must be well filled.
Wolverine slaughters his way through the Hand during an attempt to rescue Drumm, but Sickle Priest slashes Drumm’s throat, seemingly killing him.
A defeated Wolverine is restrained. The Hand presents Sickle Priest with three coffins.
“Why have you brought me dead? We need powerful, living blood,” he says. A ninja says the corpses are bait “for a warrior who has shed more blood than almost any other man. We made sure he will know where to find us.”
In New York, a rain-soaked Frank Castle comes upon his family’s defiled graves. Inside the grave belonging to his wife, Castle retrieves a Hyborian waterskin.0comments
“The powerful blood our spell requires will seek us out. Prepare to exsanguinate the Punisher.”
The story continues in Savage Avengers #2, available June 5.