1. Jeff Parker finishes assembling Luke Cage’s new Thunderbolts who capture their quarry from last issue, then go off on an emergency mission to find lost agents in a cave. Gee, think they’re mutated monsters?
2. Parker has a great sense of action, keeping everything feeling fresh… but really? Mutated former SHIELD Agents in a cave? Can’t we retire this one by now?
3. Gunna, the half-troll, half-Asgardian girl is sure to join the team down the line, and Valkyrie showing up to explain her works well with the Avengers current happy-family status quo.
4. The paths to redemption of the different characters is great. Crossbones is seeming redeemable here, but as a super Nazi, we know he won’t be. If there’s one truism in comics, it’s Nazis are bad. Juggernaut is regressing, not to villainy, but to being a pouting child. Moonstone might turn a corner, or she might be trying to get into Luke Cage’s pants. Ghost seems to have really turned a corner after Seige, while Man Thing is almost… like a team mascot or pet in an endearing way.
5. The great part about #4? Some will be redeemed and some turn out worse than when they started. Besides Ghost and Crossbones, we just don’t know. Parker is skilled enough to keep us guessing, which is the book’s real hook.
6. Great art doesn’t hurt anything as a hook either, though the monsters look entirely generic. They’re a cross between the brood and the Cthulu monsters over in Thanos Imperative.
7. The inclusion of original Thunderbolts Mach 5, Tech and Songbird does my heart good. They’re all interesting, redeemed characters that have a really good reason to be a part of the book. I was annoyed when they were in limbo and happy they’re back.
8. Better than anything else, the art nails the facial expressions of the characters. No one looks like they’re shouting when they should be sulking or any such nonsense. This really drives home the humanity of even hardened criminals.
9. The last stand page at the end with Crossbones, Ghost (in Mach V’s armor) and Man Thing vs. a ton of uglies, is the height of cliche, yet no less aweesome for it. It’s the mindless, the redeemed and the irredeemable all together. Thematically perfect.
10. Rating: 6.5/10 This comic takes a tired premise and while it doesn’t get new life, it does at least offer a new perspective. Parker clearly knows the premise is tired, so it gets little airtime except as a vehicle for characters to react to… and they all react in different and interesting ways. It’s early and this will mean more once I’m more invested, but this is a solid step into that direction.
Tags: jeff parker, kev walker, Marvel, Thunderbolts