Pick of the Week
What did the
- Pick of the Week - 05.22.2013 - Daredevil #26
- Pick of the Week - 05.15.2013 - Edgar Allen Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher #1
- Pick of the Week - 05.08.2013 - Thor: God of Thunder #8
- Pick of the Week - 05.01.2013 - Animal Man #20
- Pick of the Week - 04.24.2013 - Uncanny Avengers #7
PENCILS: Kev Walker
INKS: Kev Walker
LETTERED BY: Comicraft
COVER BY: Marko Djurdjevic
Size: 32 pages
A little unknown fact about me and my comic book interests – I'm a HUGE fan of the Thunderbolts comic book. Well, that's not accurate actually. That should read, I WAS a HUGE fan of the Thunderbolts when the book first launched. In recent years, not so much. Another fun iFanboy fact: Thunderbolts is one of the few books that Josh and I are in total agreement over and share an enjoyment of. We both loved the heck out of this book when it first launched, more than ten years ago.
When Thunderbolts started, it was genius. Kurt Busiek wove a tale of villains posing as heroes, with an enigmatic, mysterious leader, who was revealed in one of the last great cliffhangers, to be Baron Zemo. That first issue and the subsequent first arcs oozed with genius and it wasn't Marvels or even Astro City that made me a fan of Kurt Busiek. No, it was Thunderbolts. Even after the Baron Zemo reveal and the inevitable turn where these villains decide they wanted to be heroes happened, the book stayed interesting. The later addition of the original reformed villain, Hawkeye, entered the picture, the book stayed strong for years. It was one of the few times where a fresh take on an old character actually worked. I found myself becoming a fan of Songbird and Mach I and Techno. As villains they were run of the mill and boring, but as reformed heroes, they had new angles to their characters and were compelling to read. It was what made me seek out Busiek's other work, which lead to Astro City, and its probably why I've stuck with the book for so long.
Much like other comic titles I hold a bizarre loyalty to, I've stayed with the Thunderbolts even after the magic wore off. Creator after creator tried to recapture whatever it was Busiek was weaving with his tale of reformed heroes. But it never took. It was always a forced re-tread of the idea. I could hear the pitches over and over, "But, they're villains, see?" I wasn't even a fan of Warren Ellis' run, which gave the Thunderbolts government credibility and a crazy leader in Norman Osborn (if you analyze it correctly, all the moaning you did about Dark Reign is partially Warren Ellis' fault. Think about that one for a minute). I really haven't enjoyed the Thunderbolts comics for many years and now as the Heroic Age sets in and another creative team gives it a go, I did think about finally dropping it.
Am I glad I didn't. Wow.
Jeff Parker and Kev Walker have teamed up and, somehow, in the first issue right out of the gate, reignited the flame of the Thunderbolts for me so much that now I can't wait for the next issue. Still government sanctioned, Steve Rogers has tasked Luke Cage, who once was in prison himself, to take over the Thunderbolts program based out of the Raft, the maximum security prison (where New Avengers started oddly enough). This first issue acted as a "Getting the band together" issue as Luke makes the rounds at the prison recruiting his team and we hear his pitches to them, his concerns over them and ultimately get a feel for what the main players of this book is going to be. We're treated to some original Thunderbolts like Songbird, Moonstone, Mach V and Techno, all back in the fray, as well as new team members like Ghost (who was the only character I liked from the most recent incarnation of the team), Juggernaut (in The Raft after his latest run in in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man, in a classic Marvel continuity reference) and even one of Steve Rogers' murderers, Crossbones, as the team gets assembled. At the very end of the issue, Parker admittedly goes back to the well with an end of the issue cliffhanger/twist/reveal, but it totally pays off and I did not see it coming at all. The cliffhanger/reveal keeps the spirt of the original book in a way I didn't think he'd do, but also does it in a way that shows that this isn't just a rerun of past comics, that this is something entirely new. Also as evidenced by the inclusion of Man-Thing within the pages of the book. Man-Thing in a super-hero comic!
There's been a lot of discussion this week on the site about the artist on this book, Kev Walker, who is more known to our friends in the UK from his work on 2000 A.D. Far too often do the British creators that we rave about get limited to the writers, but for years 2000 A.D. has been a source of some amazing art and Kev Walker is another step in that tradition. After over 20 years of work, it's great to see that American and Marvel Comics fans are now treated to his evolved style that is cartoony in an edgy evocative way. Walker has a way of drawing the world in a way that suggests the sci-fi, post apocalyptic world sometimes drawn in 2000 A.D., but also grounded and real at the same time. His characters have presence and emotions and you can instantly get a character's demeanor just by looking at them. I loved the look and feel this issue had, with the tone of the story set by the colors of Frank Martin. It all came together in that little comic book magic way and I found myself giggling at the end of the issue, loving how good the story mixed with the art to make this a worthy purchase.
I didn't expect to be this delighted by the new direction of Thunderbolts, but that's so great about comics. Sometimes they hit you right when you least expect it. Hats off to Jeff Parker and Kev Walker for pulling it off. Now let's hope it's a fun ride from here on out.
Can Citizen V be far behind?