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