jonesdeini's Thunderbolts #157 - None Shall Survive the Incarsicus! review

Holy Zombie Insurgents, Batman!!!

The Alpha squadron completes their latest mission just as Bravo team's called in for their first. 

The Good
This is quite possibly my favorite cover to have graced this series. 

Like last issue, the stories split between the regular bolts and the second squad. Last week I found this to be a bit distracting, but this week the transition happens a lot more smoothly. So much so that I can say that I genuinely enjoyed it. 

I liked the idea of Satana joining the T-Bolts, but she really was a bit too much for me last issue. This go around she's a lot more understated and likeable. Hopefully Parker will continue to write her in this manner and not let her chew up the scenery like Tim Curry in drag. She proves her worth to the team early on and it seems she's going to be a nice fit. 

The reason I read T-Bolts is because I love the idea of all of these strong personalities having to coexist without killing one another. There's some great interaction with Moonstone and Ghost that's a nice callback to the Ghost highlight issue. 

I like Walker's design of Baron Gothenvald. It's like a mix of a Helghast commander and a Locust grunt. I was more than a little worried that they'd go the played out Nazi zombie route. The baron sics a creature on the T-Bolts called the Incarsicus which has the power to make one experience the greatest fears. Each of the T-Bolts living nightmares is very fitting. I feel I learned the most about Ghost from his. 

I was a bit skeptical about some members of the B team, but now that I've seen them in action I'm warming up to them. Towards the end of the issue we're treated with a little preview of the two teams teaming up on a mission. Naturally the original T-Bolts don't take to kindly to the new kids on the block which makes what Moonstone does very appropriate and satisfying.   

The Bad
This week Walker splits art duties with Declan Shalvey. I'm not a fan of Shalvey's artwork, I find it underwhelming and uninteresting and a bit haphazard. It was well enough on the Man-Thing spotlight issue, but seeing it next to Walker's really highlights its flaws for me. 

How has nobody died on Cage's watch? Seriously, how?! How's he even still leading, Affirmative Action? Between this title and New Avengers I've come to the conclusion that Luke Cage just isn't a leader. The last time I could genuinely see him as the leader of this team was with issue #144. I mean they may as well be following Johnny Cage out there, for what it's worth. I really feel like it would make a lot more sense for Songbird to lead the team with Mach V as co-captain. I know they had to find a way to sideline Juggs so that he can be used in Fear Itself, but that still doesn't justify the how. Luke flying off the handle on Juggy was really the wrong route to take.  And makes him look inept as a leader. 

Walker needs to find a new way to have the T-Bolts cut loose on enemies, because the "they're not really people" thing's getting a bit old. I get that the second mission is flowing out of the supernatural nature of the original T-Bolts', but too much of anything's a bad. Zombies...really, man, really? Come on, son!!!

The Verdict
Check it out, it's a good issue that does more right than it does wrong. If you're a fan of Bolts then you'll enjoy this issue. I was already prepared for things to get a bit wonky once I learned that T-Bolts would be a part of Fear Itself. Hopefully Parker's learned how to handle the situation a bit better since Shadowland. I'm holding out hope that once all the crossover duties are handled the tittle will get back to the things that made it such an excellent read in the beginning. 

Posted by spankymac314

I agree with one of your big points. I get that they needed to get Juggy out of the way for Fear Itself, but they way they did it came completely out of nowhere, and was REALLY out of character for how they've established Cage in this series.

Posted by JonesDeini
Indeed, man. I really wish Parker would come up with another way to show the T-Bolts "cutting loose" ever since the Shadowland crossover it's become his goto and I think he's more talented than that. And honestly supervillains going all out is boring. We saw them do that for years before they became T-Bolts. Them learning restraint and having to think on their feat and work outside their usual box would be faaar more interesting. 

My other complaint about this series, especially lately, is that I don't see any rehabilitation happening. If Cage was written the way he could/should be he'd have more human moments and genuine interaction with the team.  You'd see his interaction with them yield results not only on the battlefield, but in their daily lives. And Luke's leadership is a joke for me, he's no leader, especially in the field. His strength consist of having powers and yelling loudly in situations where panic's ill advised. Just once I'd like to see him properly map out roles for each member which relies on their tactical strengths and his intel on the enemies vulnerabilities. 
Posted by blackkitty

The story itself really didn't grab my interest at all. I saw no real story, no character development, no real plot. To me this was a filler issue at best, and I agree, the characters were acting very much out of character.

Posted by JonesDeini
The two teams thing made perfect sense and could've been great story to bring a new dynamic to the title. The same could be said about adding more mystical elements to their missions. But I must agree that  the execution feels like Filler. I mean Gothenvald says he'll be back with an army so I'm looking forward to that. However in the now I feel like Parker's going through the motions because of editorial dictates tying this title to Fear Itself. 

I actually think Parker's biggest strength is the way he characterizes the members of the team. Though he's never written a consistently good Cage. But he was WAAAAAY off here. 

Other reviews for Thunderbolts #157 - None Shall Survive the Incarsicus!

    First Mission 0

    It´s so interesting that Fixer (who apparently has a different agenda than Cage), Songbird, Mach V and U.S. Agent selected a new team for the Thunderbolts, called the Beta Team, made of by Mr. Hyde, Gunna, Shocker, Boomerang and Centurius, also it felt right that while Cage´s team was dealing with the menace of Baron Gothenvald back in a castle in Germany, the Beta Team was assigned for their first mission, unfortunately the whole transition from a story (Cage´s team) and the other (Beta Team) w...

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