my thoughts on Thunderbolts

Thunderbolts #152
Thunderbolts #152

Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Kev Walker
Cover: Greg Land

Note: This is more about the Thunderbolts as a series and less about this specific issue.

I think Jeff Parker has found his book, the one that is best suited to his writing style. (Red) Hulk is not a bad book by any means, but not great either. The best thing about that series is the art. Thunderbolts on the other hand, is awesome! Parker is great at forced perspective in comics. In Agents of Atlas he had the main characters pose as bad guys to take apart the Atlas Foundation from the inside. The entire superhero community truly thought these guys were scum. I mean, Gorilla Man, Marvel Boy, sure they were heroes from way back when, but here they were in charge of an organization that Kingpin would do anything to be a part of, even if he could just be the evil janitor.

Cut to Thunderbolts, the whole concept of which is a forced perspective; the hook of the Thunderbolts comic from the very beginning was bad guys posing as good guys. It was one of the coolest concepts and best kept secrets in comics. After 150+ issues, Parker has done a great job recreating that sense of who is good, who is bad that Kurt Busiek started in issue one. A lot has happened to the Thunderbolts in between then and now, from a re-branding (Fight Club for superheroes, horrible) to a really dark time, post-Civil War (thanks Warren Ellis).

Like I said, Parker recreated the vibe, but definitely put his own spin on things. The Thunderbolts is now a program for villains attempting to reform, people on their way to being good guys. Luke Cage runs the group, based out of the superhuman prison The Raft. The sneakiness of the T-Bolts is still there, with lots of intrigue and double crosses happening all the time. There are characters that shouldn’t have that chance of redemption, like Crossbones, who shot Captain America. But there are others that struggle with their conscience all the time, like Juggernaut. And then there are characters like Moonstone, who should never leave the Raft unsupervised. One of the little bits of awesome sprinkled throughout the book is using Man-Thing as transport. His link to the Nexus of Realities means he can teleport anywhere. 

Another highlight of Thunderbolts has been the action scenes. Parker absolutely knows how to write the high adrenaline stuff. In the current issue alone, the Superman knock off Hyperion dukes it out with massive creatures intent on destroying Japan. I’m not joking. I’m trying to figure out which part was cooler, Juggernaut ramming Godzilla monsters or the arrogant Hyperion getting burned with firebreath. It reminded me of Captain Hammer from Dr. Horrible. “Is this pain?! This must be what pain feels like!”

I can’t go without mentioning Kev Walker’s artwork. His style is kind of blocky, a lot of straight edges, but that’s what I love about it. His style is very reminiscent of Mike Mignola, and everyone knows I love Hellboy. The huge mountain of the Juggernaut makes perfect sense. The lumbering mound of foliage called Man-Thing, very fitting. It’s also nice to see Walker put Songbird, Mach V and Fixer back in their original outfits – except for Songbird’s hot, punkish short haircut (her hair is still pink too). Walker hasn’t done that many things that I’ve seen, but his work on Thunderbolts has been nothing short of great.

Thunderbolts is funny, intriguing, and (so far) has lots of big monster bashing action.    

Posted by Trodorne

I agree, Parker does an amazing job with Thunderbolts than he does with Red Hulk. i mean i too support red hulk but in no means would suggest its one of the best series going on for marvel.