Issue 1 was a super quick read and basically served as an incredibly basic set-up. Rulk was recruiting the team, but we were left asking why. Thankfully, writer Daniel Way provides a fairly touching reason for Ross' motivation and it's especially fitting since it happens at a time when the former U.S. general is at an apparent low point. Despite already being an Avenger, it's clear the man wants to address the evil that commonly goes unnoticed in this world. While the Avengers are too busy saving the planet from cosmic threats and other teams are focused on other efforts, the evil in smaller parts of the globe often goes by unnoticed and Rulk's objective is to put an end to that... through excessive violence, of course.
Steve Dillon's art is a mixed bag. But I'll confess, he does a hell of a job with one splash page. Venom lunges at enemies and, I won't lie, I'd likely wet myself if I was in their shoes. For the most part, his Punisher looks solid and his work on Deadpool and Venom (while covered in the symbiote) is quite good. A book following a group of lethal loners will clearly have an emphasis on violence and that's an area where Dillon certainly does an able job. Each slash, stab and shot generates a ridiculously vivid amount of bloodshed.
Deadpool and Elektra are faced with a dozen or so military dudes... and they flee? This should be something they can handle with ease. We've seen both effortlessly dance around fodder like that time and time again and I honestly don't understand why Wade would think it's too much for the duo to handle. I'm equally shocked there was no objection from Elektra about his decision to pull her from combat.
Daniel Way keeps his Deadpool crazy and suffering from hallucinations, so why would Ross recruit him? He clearly did his homework on the team (not to mention met him in 'Code Red'), so shouldn't that seem like too big of a wildcard? That seems like a completely unnecessary risk to me, so why not go for someone more reliable... say, Taskmaster? Cat? There's a wealthy amount of options that seem more logical. That said, I of course understand why Deadpool was selected. He's red, the comedic value for the book, and does indeed fit the "lone killer" description Ross was searching for. The reveal that he's still bonkers makes me scratch my head over why Ross would really pick him, though.
Dillon's Rulk looks like a Hulked out version of Frank Castle. There's really no other way for me to describe it. His faces also tend to be incredibly hit or miss. In one panel Frank looks elderly and Elektra's face is shockingly masculine. No gratuitous amount of cleavage can hide this.
Venom's morals are all over the place right now. Over in his on-going, he's doing his best not to kill, yet here he had no reservation ripping some soldiers apart. I guess it's just something I'll have to swallow even though I'd prefer characters to be consistent. Additionally, if Venom later comes to the conclusion he should change his coloring to red, why'd he have it like that earlier on? You know, aside from that fact it looked awesome in the splash page. And since when did Venom start hissing? And why is Punisher wearing red except for the fact it looks cool? Did Ross give him a custom red shirt when he gave him the custom chestplate as well (which I assume is underneath the shirt and not the shirt itself)? Minor point, I know, but it was going through my head during the read.
Also, I'm not seeing what's preventing Rulk from a simple "attack and smash" strategy. I know the tyrant has gamma weaponry, but would it truly be enough to stop such a powerhouse, especially with this team serving as backup?
THUNDERBOLTS is without question the Marvel NOW! title I was the most excited about. I'm a sucker for this roster and how can I not be thrilled after those oh-so-fine covers? I don't just want to like this book, I want to love it. There's so much potential for the team, but right now the title hasn't done anything to wow me except for simply including a cast of characters I adore.
The plot's fairly straight forward (which is perfectly fine for now), but the chemistry between characters isn't as sharp as it could be and the action isn't as energetic as it should be. Despite my jaw not being on the floor after this read, it was still a fairly amusing issue and it's still a title I'm going to follow. I just really hope it'll become more interesting.