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Luke Cage: Thunderbolts Leader

The man with the bulletproof skin gets struck by lightning.

The hero for hire’s got a new job - - leading the Thunderbolts out of the SIEGE and into the HEROIC AGE!


Thunderbolt?

Among the shake-ups following this current Valhalla-attacking crossover, it’s been revealed that the Thunderbolts new leader will be none other than Luke Cage.   The team that strikes out justice, like lightning, will be getting a new line-up (seeming to consist of Crossbones, Juggernaut, Ghost, Moonstone and… Man-Thing?!) and will be reverting to its “villain rehabilitation group” angle after years as Norman Osborn’s hatchet men.   This time around, however, it’s looking like they'll have more of an official sanction than in previous iterations, as the Avengers will be overseeing this program at the Super-Max facility, the Raft.   
 
You can find out a lot more in an interview with writer Jeff Parker and editor Bill Rosemann here.

At first, it may seem a bit out-of-left-field to have Cage leading the T-Bolts, but really, it’s as central to the team’s theme as hitting a grounder to the pitcher’s mound (Ay-oh!).  

Part of Cage’s origin concerns him doing time prior to becoming a super-hero (even though the possession charges he was slapped with were totally bogus). The last time I recall the T-Bolts getting a surprise new leader, it was Hawkeye (back in the 90's, when Busiek and Bagley were still on the book). And the purple bowman, of course, started his costumed adventures as an IRON MAN villain before reforming in the Avengers.  

So… BAM! There you go. Parallels.

Flash me back to ’97. I can’t help drawing another connection here.   THUNDERBOLTS first debuted in the aftermath of another enormous crossover, ONSLAUGHT, along with about 11 other titles. There was MAVERICK, KA-ZAR and… HEROES FOR HIRE, the team book where Cage and Iron Fist were leaders.   Cut thirteen years ahead (yikes!) and, aside from DEADPOOL, THUNDERBOLTS is the only that’s been going on around, while HEROES FOR HIRE’s gone through a reboot or two. 
 
I don't know what the signficance is, but those are the facts! Connect the dots for me, Comic Vine community! 

-- Tom Pinchuk is the writer of UNIMAGINABLE for Arcana Comics and HYBRID BASTARDS! for Archaia Comics.   Watch out for the HYBRID BASTARDS! hardcover collection this March - - available for pre-order now on Amazon.com.

32 Comments
Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir

*waits for putting Man-Thing on a team to backfire(horribly)*

Posted by HaloKing343

Cool art. I liked the cover art that the series has had thus far, with Fransesco, what's-his-face, but this is still really good art.
Posted by Cafeterialoca

I just hope Songbird sticks around.

Posted by G-Man

I still think Luke Cage needs to have words (and by words I mean using his fists) with Doctor Doom over this:

And why is Luke calling him "honey"?
Staff
Posted by Ryonslaught

ok...
so Luke leads......
is that nighthrasher?  the other Taylor brother from the ludicrous new warriors post HOM....
manthing!
 juggernaut? 
and two people i cant make out? 
Interesting team, ill wait a few issues before touching this though......

Posted by Scoobypuff

last i saw juggernaut was in england with ecalibur, he reformed allready....

Posted by Queen's Halo

At least Moonstone is not dieing during The Siege.

Posted by starkiller95

nice art

Posted by Nova`Prime`

How are these people reformed? Now granted I don't know what Manthing or Juggernaut have been up too, but come on Crossbones? Moonstone? Ghost? All three have been trying to murder people for the last year that's hardly reformed action. It makes no sense, Crossbones played a key role in Reborn, Moonstone enough said, Ghost has been trying to kill Stark, I wouldn't call those three character reformed in anyway.
 
I don't care how much oversight the Avengers give having those three on that team has got to be a bad idea.

Posted by Omega Ray Jay

Not a Cage fan and the line up is kinda meh, might pick up the trades.

Posted by Archetype
@Emperor Gonzo Noir: agree
 
@Queen's Halo: agree
 
The roster could be a bit better but the inclusion of Moonstone and Juggs means I have to at least check it out especially if it can return to it's pre dark reign awesomeness.
Edited by brc2000
@Nova`Prime` said:

" How are these people reformed? Now granted I don't know what Manthing or Juggernaut have been up too, but come on Crossbones? Moonstone? Ghost? All three have been trying to murder people for the last year that's hardly reformed action. It makes no sense, Crossbones played a key role in Reborn, Moonstone enough said, Ghost has been trying to kill Stark, I wouldn't call those three character reformed in anyway.  I don't care how much oversight the Avengers give having those three on that team has got to be a bad idea. "

 The angle isn't that they've reformed, but will be reforming. The Thunderbolts have always included "reforming" villains in the line-up
Posted by Dark Sandman

I must say I am intrigued by the prospect of the new T-bolts. Especially Crossbones has the potential to become the new Taskmaster. With less going-for-the-money and more striving-to-get-redemption (or at least some time of the sentence). For me, that's the most intriguing character of the picture. Oh, and Juggernaut, but only if he coins the phrase "I'm the Juggernaut bitch!"

Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir
@G-Man said:
" I still think Luke Cage needs to have words (and by words I mean using his fists) with Doctor Doom over this:
And why is Luke calling him "honey"? "
That what we used to call "jive talkin'"
Posted by Anthony Robson92

Are we sure that the woman is Moonstone, to me she looks a little like Diamondback  
Plus Juggernaut un-reformed.. somepoint after World War Hulk to gain his full powers. 
I do really like the cover art and idea of Cage leading them but Crossbones reforming... doubt it, Man-Thing on a non-monster team... bizarre, Ghost still on a team after Seige... hmm.
Posted by SuperXAsh

feeling kinda weird about the idea of Crossbones trying to reform. If that even is Crossbones. Because the guy's pretty much two steps away from Neo-Nazi, having happily been Red Skull's personal hatchet man for years without any reservations, qualms, or objections to this fact. 
 
I'm left wondering how Man-Thing will function in this group.
Posted by Watch Dog

I don't like the team at all.  I do like the idea but Cross Bones no, Moon stone no and Ghost no.

Posted by Donovan Montgomery

....I might just check this out to see Luke as a leader......never pictured him as a head honcho type.....and with this line up.....well, we'll just have to wait and see......
Posted by Nighthunter

Between the old Thunderbolts reunited during Diggle's run in the Thunderbolts, Baron Zemo returning in the pages of Captain America and the new heroic age it was the perfect time to bring the real thunderbolts back.
 
Ok then, won't be reading this

Posted by Yung ANcient One

i think its a F@#$!N awesome idea...IMO... Cage Leader... Cool... Juggy in it awesome... Manthing a thing wutevers... ok?... Crossbone... COol but How? Ghost is cool too but How... thats all i can say... like maybe they put Crossbones and Ghost in jus cuz their COol... Like Juggy... since he became so popular they tried to "reform" him so thats what im thinking... people think Ghost and Crossbones are cool so hey lets try to "reform" them... at least thats my opinion

Posted by DP812

I'm looking forward to this. With the exception of the Fight Club issues, Thunderbolts has been consistently good ever since its creation. Even the shake-ups after Civil War and Secret Invasion have produced awesome results and introduced me to characters I never gave a crap about before (like the Ghost and the Headsman). I've got a feeling this new direction will have a Suicide Squad/Dirty Dozen feel to it and I'm psyched about that. 
 
Not sure how Man-Thing's going to fit in, so it'll be interesting to say the least.

Posted by iLLituracy
@Emperor Gonzo Noir said:
" @G-Man said:
" I still think Luke Cage needs to have words (and by words I mean using his fists) with Doctor Doom over this:
And why is Luke calling him "honey"? "
That what we used to call "jive talkin'" "
I think it was originally honky...that would have been awesome, Luke Cage calling Dr. Doom a honky.
Posted by CATMANEXE

one of the worst put together teams ive seen. characters one would not expect to be redeemable.
no way these people can work together.
 
i love it. thats the Thunderbolts dynamic right there. cant trust any character at any moment. 
constant shaky relationships. cant wait to see where this goes.
 
real excited about Ghost. i cant wait to see how his story unfolds at the end of Siege and thereafter.

Posted by coolbeans

Luke Cage could be a cool leader and with juggernaut and moonstone it could be worth checkin out, honestly not a big fan of the others tho
Posted by Walker696

I'm just happy that they didn't make Luke the sacrifice for Dark Reign, the team seems interesting at the very least (maybe they will go after Banner and Skaar so Juggs can get revenge lol). Kinda wondering how Crossbone and Ghost will act trying to be good............Man-thing just has me confused. I'm hoping this isn't the final line up I would like to see maybe one or two additions.

Posted by Jean_Luc_LeBeau

Luke Cage as the leader of the Thunderbolts is pretty creative(imo). However, I'm not a big Man Thing fan and he seems somewhat out of place here.

Posted by StrongestOneThereIs

I like the idea of cage leading the team
I just don't like the characters chosen for the team

Posted by Keegman

What will Bendis do without his mancrush?! 
 
 
Also, that is the PERFECT belt buckle.

Posted by Walker696

I hear a lot of folks complaining about Man-thing but honestly I wanna see what he can really do and don't forget he has power that are somewhat similar to Ghost Rider( it hurts evil people or something I'm not sure, so Ghost Rider fans don't jump down my throat). He could be on the team to help keep folks in check, he can help the team just as much by keeping them a team as he could by being super powerful. Personally I would like to see one more power geared person on the team, I see strength, technique, and intelligence though. I honestly can't wait to see how things turn out.

Posted by DEADPOOL

Awesome, Juggernaut's back in comics. I like Man-Thing too.

Posted by Violet-Eyed Dragon
@Emperor Gonzo Noir said:
" *waits for putting Man-Thing on a team to backfire(horribly)* "
oh i love man-thing
and he was awesome as a punisher sidekick
Posted by The Devil Tiger

Man-thing is weirdo. (Wasn't he kick assed by the dark avenger ?) 
Juggy... why not ? But I wonder how Luke will restrain him if he go mad ? 
Ghost, I don't know him enough ! 
Moonstone : well, after the dark reign, the multiple revolving door morality she had, it would be one of the few people I let in prison in the N-Zone. 
Crossbone is  just the ultimate  jerk.  

I wonder how Luke Cage will handle this. 
 
By the way, the Thunderbolt remind me an old movie named the "dirty dozen" : Bad guy were lead to a suicide mission. 
Or better, the Tbolt has became the "schtrafbat" of Marvel : the disciplinary bataillon : if you're nice (And survive with being awesome enough...)  bang ! You're redeemed.