Thunderbolts #16

Posted by Undeadpool (611 posts) - - Show Bio

The Good

Thunderbolts, even since its initial inception, has been a very interesting team and book in terms of tone. It swings pretty hard between being a dead-serious tale of villains (or anti-heroes) seeking redemption for their past sins, real or imagined, and near-Shakespearean levels of slapstick, timing and error-based comedy. This isn’t even something that varies between creative teams, I’ve seen the same team treat them very, very differently from arc-to-arc and roster-to-roster. This issue, even more than others under this team, leans HARD toward the latter. Charles Soule has always used Deadpool to provide levity on the team, but now he seems to be taking a page from the HIGHLY underused Fraction book of Punisher characterization and not only making him the straight man in a comedic situation, but applying a similar logic to Elektra. There’s a lot of laughs to be had in this book, but the characters never feel like they’re betraying their basic nature for the sake of some chuckles, and with a group as heavy and serious-minded as this one is, that’s no small feat.

The art by Jefte Palo was the biggest unknown when he arrived on the book as his jagged, highly stylized, ultra-slender characters could have very easily betrayed the grounded, grim, wetworks tone that the book had mostly maintained prior. With the newly minted undercurrent of levity, however, it’s an absolutely perfect merging of styles. Every moment of action is kinetic and looks like it’s about to rip out of the panel borders, and the moments of calm (which are usually used to bring the laughs) involve the characters with SUCH over-the-top expressions that the humor comes through even more clearly. Likewise, the colors by GURU-eFX are sharp and clean, matching the dagger-sharp linework to a tee and bringing further life into the characters, especially the Nobili family’s faces.

This isn’t to say that the book is bereft of drama, and it’s actually one of its strongest suits. From Deadpool going from wacky to wicked at the drop of a hat (as seems to be the theme in a lot of his books of late) to the enigmatic Mercy remaining, well, an enigma to Thanos’ lieutenant Supergiant mind-draining Samuel Sterns, there’s certainly a lot of compelling narrative on display.

The Bad

As much as I’ve enjoyed the art, there are a few panels here and there where the faces don’t quite come together or the linework is uneven. I could also see the style putting people coming to the book expecting a more grounded, sincere tone, but the writing will do that just as much.

The Verdict

I’m not one of those people, though, I think this title strikes the perfect action/comedy balance. It’s like Tango & Cash or Legend of the Drunken Master: the humor is just as integral to the tone and storytelling as the action and plot. It’s a great book to pick up and just have fun with, and it’s a very easy one to jump onto thanks to how straightforward the plot is and how well the recap page covers everything you need to know. Comedy is one of the hardest things for a nonverbal medium to do well, but Soule has shown a real knack for it, keeping one of the more underappreciated tenants of Thunderbolts charging ahead.

Staff
#1 Posted by tsaimelemoni (30 posts) - - Show Bio

Loving this book atm.

#2 Edited by RageEx2 (105 posts) - - Show Bio

What is this? A five star Thunderbolts issue?

#3 Posted by bunkerbuster05 (305 posts) - - Show Bio

WHAT!

Yeah, my man Charles Soule killing it once again! He's becoming a favorite this year.

Thunderbolts was my favorite comic a few years ago, when good ole Norman was running things. I wish for a good Thunderbolts book, and now we're getting it! Definitely will pick it up now.

#4 Posted by victorcheenoanleu (137 posts) - - Show Bio

I was gonna drop this right before Soule started writing it. I gave his first issue a go & have found a new hope in this title. I'm loving it.

#5 Posted by Squares (5631 posts) - - Show Bio

@rageex2 said:

What is this? A five star Thunderbolts issue?

I know, and it's not even from the original run. What nonsense.

#6 Posted by The_Titan_Lord (5237 posts) - - Show Bio

Sweet.

#8 Posted by Ando123 (220 posts) - - Show Bio

THis book has been great since Charles Soule took over

#9 Posted by TheAcidSkull (18032 posts) - - Show Bio

5 stars? come now, it didn't deserve that much, this is basically "punisher and his friends" rather than Thunderbolts, not to mention that Mercy has been completely changed.

Also the team doesn't work together, Deadpool is wondering NY, as if he's not on the team at all.

and the art is terrible.

3/5 stars at best/

#10 Posted by manwithoutshame (654 posts) - - Show Bio

Soule's finally turning this book around, now they just need a new artist.

#12 Posted by Mezmero (921 posts) - - Show Bio

Mercy might be the biggest threat to the Cull Obsidian on Earth. They literally WANT to die which would give her power against them. They probably won't go anywhere with that but it's a cool build up for that character.

#14 Edited by WaveMotionCannon (5386 posts) - - Show Bio

"YOU DON'T STEAL PEOPLE'S WISHES!!"

I Love Deadpool so much, this book continues to get better. The art took getting used to but it works, I like the meet and greet between Mercy and Supergiant. This book is good on so many levels.

#15 Posted by Bluefox170 (382 posts) - - Show Bio

This book keeps getting jipped in the art department. A roster of this magnitude deserves better art. I really hope this distorted caricature style dies out before other artists adopt it. It really takes away the immersion when the protagonists are torso's with spaghetti limbs.

Also, prior to Soule the Punisher has been handled terribly. All around Punisher fans have been left in the dirt since Marvel NOW. There's a pretty big fan base to fill there and it just isn't happening with this title.

#16 Posted by ogg927 (135 posts) - - Show Bio

This book keeps getting jipped in the art department. A roster of this magnitude deserves better art. I really hope this distorted caricature style dies out before other artists adopt it. It really takes away the immersion when the protagonists are torso's with spaghetti limbs.

Also, prior to Soule the Punisher has been handled terribly. All around Punisher fans have been left in the dirt since Marvel NOW. There's a pretty big fan base to fill there and it just isn't happening with this title.

I'm not a fan of the art either. The story has been great so far. I'm hanging on for the new artist.

#17 Posted by ScumDestroy (46 posts) - - Show Bio

I loved Noto's and Dillon's artwork on the series, but this issue and the last one has awful penciling, inking and coloring. As soon as I opened it, the first page (splash page) looked totally bogus.

Pencils - extreme lack of detail, no shading at all done with any pencils, looks "unfished", look at the 2nd alien's face on that first page.. ugh...

Inks - are supposed to clean up the pencils, however, lines don't connect at corners all over the place and make things look sloppy and blocky (check out the hands and the spacecraft on the first page)

Colors - Again, just a serious lack of detail/time/effort put in. covering 30% of the page (sky) with a simple gradient on photoshop?? that takes about `15 seconds to do.

If i was ever blessed with such a fun, amazing and important job as working on a marvel book I would take it way more seriously. Jefte Palo can do better and he should. Nothing he has ever done has come close to blowing me away and I don't think it is "big two" quality but dude... at least make sure the splash pages have some detail besides the bare minimum to tell the story

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