One of the Savage Avengers’ most powerful foes revealed which member of the team scares them the most, despite their relative lack of powers.
The hunt for the ancient, evil sorcerer Kulan Gath has sent the Savage Avengers to all corners of the Earth and beyond, and none of them are more well-traveled than Conan the Barbarian. The time-displaced hero has been fighting Kulan Gath throughout the ages, and in the process, he has become well acquainted with a plethora of other, equally disturbing figures.
And in Savage Avengers #22 by Gerry Duggan, Patch Zircher, Java Tartaglia and VC’s Travis Lanham, Conan’s most recent journeies have just brought him face to face with Nightmare himself. Luckily, the demonic deity hasn’t come looking for a fight, but rather to let Conan in on the big secret behind why he is Kulan Gath’s own worst nightmare.
After an explosive confrontation with Ghost Rider led to both heroes being sent back to the Hyborian age, Conan awoke in the grasp of his era’s Spirit of Vengeance. Conan quickly realized that they were in a nightmare, and Marvel’s Nightmare revealed himself. He came to offer a dire warning along with a small glimmer of hope. Kulan Gath may have had a taste of Nightmare’s power, but that hasn’t gotten the sorcerer over his own worst fear of the Cimmerian who has already killed him once before.
Kulan Gath’s first demise came only a single issue after his first appearance in 1972’s Conan the Barbarian #14 by Michael Moorcock, James Cawthorn, Roy Thomas and Barry Smith. After having placed his soul within a mystic amulet, Kulan Gath returned to once again terrorized Conan and his allies. Conan witnessed the sorcerer’s death time and time again in their frequent conflicts throughout the Hyborian Age, culminating in an epic battle in 2000’s Conan: The Flame and the Fiend #3 by Roy Thomas and Geof Isherwood. Kulan Gath had once more been reconstituted by his dark bride, causing Conan to wonder what it would take to keep the villain dead and buried before lopping off his head and walking away with it. While this didn’t keep Kulan Gath down as permanently, it seems the experience has had a far more profound effect on Kulan Gath than anyone might have suspected.
Even in the sorcerer’s own fantasies of lording over Earth’s most brutal heroes with a cruel hand, Conan escapes Kulan completely. It isn’t just a testament to how terrifying Conan truly is, but a stark reminder that for all his incredible strength, Kulan Gath is still not as immortal as he would like to believe.
Kulan Gath isn’t just an undying evil from thousands of years ago, he is the kind of adaptive threat who knows how to take control of the playing field. Despire his growing power, he is still shaken to his core by the thought of Conan hunting him down, which could prove to be the most useful bit of information that the heroes have in their fight.