Luke Owen reviews the first issue of Thunderbolts…
“Red Hulk, Venom, Elektra, Deadpool, the Punisher. Forget the courts, the jails, the system — this team of Thunderbolts fights fire with fire, targeting the most dangerous and lethal players in the Marvel Universe with extreme prejudice. Led by General “Thunderbolt” Ross, AKA the Red Hulk, this hand-picked team of like-minded operatives is going to make the world a better place…by all means necessary.”
The biggest draw for Thunderbolts was the idea of villains trying to step away from the dark side by helping people to reduce their prison sentences and this was then partnered with a good line-up of bad guys who you don’t usually see a lot of. However, there hasn’t really been a decent line-up in Thunderbolts for quite some time. For me, the last great Thunderbolts team was back in the days before Marvel’s Dark Reign with Bullseye, Moonstone, Venom (the Mac Gargan version) etc. I sort of liked the team that followed during the Dark Reign and even enjoyed Luke Cage’s team with Juggernaut and Crossbones to some extent. But this team didn’t grip me as much as Norman Osbourn’s team and since then, the Thunderbolts have been floating around (quite literally through time) with a lacklustre conclusion with poor characters like Troll, Mr. Hyde and Satanna. As much as I liked Ghost and Satanna’s relationship with Man-Thing, they couldn’t save the terrible story and z-grade characters.
But with Marvels sort-of-but-not-really relaunch, we have a new leader of the Thunderbolts and a new team – this is the sort of line-up we want to see from the Thunderbolts.
Thunderbolts #1 serves as an introduction to the team and how they came to be under Thuderbolt Ross’ leadership (what a genius leader choice eh?). The main story revolves around The Punisher and Ross’ discussion about the team and why Frank is the way he is with some cutaways of him talking to the rest of the team encouraging them to sign up. Thuderbolt Ross looks like a badass in this issue as he stands around waiting for Venom (the Flash Thompson version) to finish off a gun fight. While recruiting the ‘Merc with a Mouth’ Deadpool, he watches him gun down some mimes while enjoying a nice hot drink. This is a man who has seen a lot of crazy action, has become everything he was fighitng against and now nothing phases him. Even during his dealings with The Punisher, he nonchalantly counts down the time Frank has left to escape before he is gunned down. Never has Thunderbolt Ross looked so cool.
There is a lot of excitement to be had from this first issue. This new line-up (which also features Elektra who only gets a panel or two in this issue) is full of everyone’s favourite anti-heroes and I can’t wait to see how they all interact with each other. Deadpool’s schtick was worn very thin with me in recent years, but with this new team we could see a great dynamic from him. Elektra and The Punisher have always been the quiet lone wolf assassins so how will they integrate in a team environment and then there is Thunderbolt Ross’ alter-ego The Red Hulk – how will he fit in?
I’ve not been fully behind Marvel’s reset switch, but this new on-going Thunderbolts series is something I can put full support into. Bravo Daniel Way, bravo.
Luke Owen is a freelance copywriter working for Europe’s biggest golf holiday provider as their web content executive.