Ten-hut soldiers! Let's rap about Sgt. Robert Steven Savage! Since he was the truly righteous leader of the U.S. Army's Screaming Eagles unit back in the day during World War II, he's just some lameozoid grandpa nowadays... NOT! After he got all tight with one totally bummed out Transformer named Centurion, he ended up getting bounced to the dopest decade of 'em all (the 1990s, duh) by the truly mysterious Talisman. Most dudes would start trippin over this kinda thing but your boy Bobby S. was all like "Whatever!" He was kickin' it old school with a 90s 'tude and everything was Dunkaroos and Sega until he suddenly peaced out again under some mad shady circumstances...
Robert Steven Savage enlisted in the United States Army in the year 1941, following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Assigned to the country of Galibi, his unit was near completely slaughtered by the German army. Savage however managed to rescue three survivors, even carrying two of them to safety in a sixty mile trek. As a reward for his bravery, he was promoted to command his own squad: the Screaming Eagles. Though he was supposed to go on a publicity tour, Savage eschewed this in favour of going right into battle. Joined by men such as Darren "Grill" Filbert, the Screaming Eagles became the first racially diverse unit in the U.S. Armed Forces.
To compensate for the Eagles' limited manpower, Savage employed a strategy called the "notional mole:" false evidence was planted in enemy territory indicating that a double agent had landed, and Savage allowed the Iron Army to intercept transmissions suggesting that the supposed mole had infiltrated the army's highest ranks. The deception caused Iron Army leader General Blitz to kill a third of his own high command out of paranoia.
In 1943, the Eagles were joined by Garrison Kreiger. During a battle in Kalistan, Savage and his Eagles discovered that one of the German troops attacking them was actually a robot. Unfazed, Savage defeated the machine by ripping its head off with his bare hands.
Months later, the Screaming Eagles travelled to Paris, France where they found more IRON Troopers who had been drawn there by the fight between "Bumblebee" and "Shockwave". The Eagles watched as "Bumblebee" triumphed before he requested their aid in finding the remains of the Axalon where he could die in peace. Though Savage was skeptical, Kreiger, eager to learn more about the robotic warriors, convinced his commanding officer to aid the displaced alien.
The trio eventually tracked the Axalon to a glacier in the country of Brasnya dispatching legions of IRON Troopers along the way. Once they had breached the craft's interior, "Bumblebee" remembered his true name was Centurion and that he and shipmates had been sent to Earth by their master. Before Centurion could reveal the name of this master, the IRON Troopers revealed their trump card by linking together and puppeteering the corpse Domitius Major. Centurion attacked with a fury prompting Savage to fall back and out of line of fire. The battle however caused the residual Talisman energy within the Axalon to surge to life and teleported the craft, with Savage inside, to parts unknown.
In the year 1994, Kreiger and Centurion were experimenting on the Talisman and had partnered with Mike Power to access the artifact's energies. Power's contact not only reactivated the relic but had the unintended side effect of pulling the Axalon and Savage from the timestream. Disoriented, Savage witnessed a battle between Kreiger's forces and Adventure Force that seemingly ended in Power's demise before realizing that he was no longer in 1944.
Though nervous for a while, Savage soon realized how awesome the 1990s were, happily adapting to the times, particularly becoming a fan of Bart Simpson. He soon joined Action Man's Team Extreme battling the threats of the new era. Circa 2006, Savage received a distress call from Mount St. Helens and flew off to respond only to find Bugly engaged in combat with the new G.I. Joe unit before Centurion knocked the Decepticon out. Savage landed and joined up with Colton, Kreiger, and Joshua Red who had brought the Talisman to the mountain, where a former Decepticon base rested, to try and develop anti-Cybertronian weaponry. As Colton and Kreiger touted the benefits of the Talisman, Centurion dragged Bugly into the room. By this point however, the Decepticon had rebooted and begged to be freed as he was chained to the Talisman.
Seeing that Bugly was terrified, Savage raised his objections to his treatment...only to be thrown at the Talisman by Centurion; the distress call having been a trap for Savage; his body had been soaked in Talisman energy after his trip through time, making him necessary to reactivate it. The device activated, its energies ripping Bugly apart as it sent Savage back hurtling through time once again. The last thing Savage saw was Joe Colton in a hazmat suit.
Savage rematerialized in 2017 in Brasnya after the Revolutionaries had defeated Kreiger and spouted off some totally phat '90s slang in his confusion. Ever the adaptable man, Savage joined the group in travelling to the Onyx tower in Buenos Aires to await a G.I. Joe squad to arrest Kreiger. To pass the time, he told Mayday and Terrence Salmons the story of his improbable adventures. The peace was cut short when Baron Ironblood's cabal of baddies attacked the building to retrieve Kreiger and the Talisman. Though Ironblood offered Savage a chance to join them, Savage saw through the man in seconds and unmasked him as Joe Colton, asking how the man could fall so far.
Savage soon went on a furious offensive, brutalizing Colton before Metrotitan and Optimus Prime arrived. Colton shoved Savage aside before the Dire Wraith mutates emerged from the building's stairwell and assaulted Optimus. Savage highlighted to Colton that his method was only creating more fighting before he was shot unconscious by Kreiger. He recovered in time to witness the villains escape via the M.A.S.S. Device whereupon he introduced himself to Optimus Prime. Finding the Prime's name to be even more badass than his own, Savage smiled that the future might well be an awesome place.
- Sgt. Savage originates from the short-lived G.I. Joe spinoff Sgt. Savage and his Screaming Eagles, wherein the good sergeant was cryogenically frozen during World War II before awakening in the 90s. The IDW version of Savage's 90s 'tude was likely more inspired by his appearance in the subsequent G.I. Joe Extreme series.
- The original Sgt. Savage commanded the newly-assembled Eagles in the 1990s, but this was changed to the 1940s for IDW continuity.
- Savage's middle name has not been consistent: "Stevens" was used in G.I. Joe vol. 3 #7, Joe Colton's bio in Revolution #2 uses "Stephan", Revolutionaries #6 uses "Stephen", finally and Revolutionaries #3, #7, and #8 use "Steven". The latter is the original way Savage's middle name was rendered.