X35's Top 5 Alternatives to Marvel NOW's Thunderbolts

Posted by X35 (5981 posts) - - Show Bio

Continuing on with the Thunderbolts blogs, this is more of a public service for the people out there who love reading about the Thunderbolts but are predictably disgusted by Marvel NOW's completely unrelated and pandering-to-idiots all-star unrelated sub-X-Force team helmed by an incompetent creative duo. Don't fret, there are other books out there for you! Some old, some new. But all better than Punisher shooting things.

5. Heroes for Hire

Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning's Heroes for Hire was average at best. As the title reached the end of it's lifespan it found it's footing a bit more with a more consistent team roster which was marred by Fear Itself and Spider-Island tie-ins. It's all irrelevant however since it was too late for the title since the painful early issues with Ghost Rider, Punisher and Spider-Man hogging the spotlight had killed any chance the book had. The final story saw the book be renamed Villains for Hire before going away forever. As I said, it was average on a good day, but I'm highlighting this as the final story struck some real Thunderbolts-esque tones with a cast of entirely villains, anti-heroes and mercenaries. It even starred several former Thunderbolts such as Shocker, Speed Demon and Paladin (who was a main character throughout the entire book). Other cast members include Avalanche, Bombshell, Crossfire, Nightshade, Purple Man, Scourge, Tiger Shark and a dozen or so more. As I said, it's not a great book but many of the characters featured in Villains for Hire just came across as better Thunderbolts than the current squad ever will. Average however trumps awful.

4. Super-Villain Team-Up

Super-Villain Team-Up, or MODOK's 11, was a miniseries by Fred Van Lente which had several low-tier villains gather to pull off a heist for M.O.D.O.K.. It's harmless fun and a bunch of the characters featured are the standard redemptive down-on-their-luck former villains like Armadillo, Puma and Rocket Racer. It's plain to see where the Thunderbolts comparisons come in. As with most of Van Lente's work, there's some good humor mixed in and it's just generally a cute and enjoyable story. Other characters featured include Living Laser, Mentallo, Nightshade, Spot, and M.O.D.O.K. obviously. There's even a cameo from founding Thunderbolt Fixer. Short as it is, if you're dying for a Thunderbolts fix, Super-Villain Team-Up is a decent temporary hit for your veins.

3. Suicide Squad

DC's Analogue to Thunderbolts. Or the team Marvel ripped off for Thunderbolts. It depends which of the two you follow. Suicide Squad is more Norman Osborn's Thunderbolts than Hawkeye's Thunderbolts but it obviously hits on many of the same themes and the general tone. There's been a whole bunch of members, the most consistent of which is probably the mainstay Deadshot, but the Squad has also featured some big-name DC villains among them The Penguin, Poison Ivy, and currently Harley Quinn. Apparently Batman was once a member. I've not read much Suicide Squad, but since Marvel seem to hate Thunderbolts fans it might be more fruitful to switch allegiances. There's plenty of back issues to check out but the current New 52 Suicide Squad isn't great. Although it started out a lot stronger than most of the New 52, it's still prone to all the same unadvertised crossovers with unrelated books, featuring too much irrelevant sex and plenty of embarrassing attempts to shock you with gratuitous and disgusting violence. But, hey, at least it's not drawn by Steve Dillon.

2. Dark Avengers

Dark Avengers is the book that's Thunderbolts in all but name. Continuing the numbering from Thunderbolts, as well as the creative team and the character Moonstone, Dark Avengers seems another obvious one for upset Thunderbolts fans to look at instead. The problem is that the cast is almost utterly unappealing. While Moonstone, U.S.Agent and even Skaar have plenty of history and character to them - the others do not. Most of them barely have 10 appearances. Some of them don't even have origins. It's not to say we won't eventually get them, it's more the case that so far these characters have done nothing and it's utterly hard to feel anything for characters who are akin to mannequins wearing familiar costumes that have long since outlived their purpose. With all the ties to the previous Thunderbolts book however it's definitely worth keeping an eye on, and even with zero personality Trickshot will always be a far more fitting to the Thunderbolt legacy than Punisher.

1. The Initiative

The Initiative was a book that kinda combined New Warriors and Thunderbolts into one. While we had the New Warriors running around doing their thing and a bunch of kids being trained to be superheroes, there were also several former villains who were also being trained to then pursue a career as a registered superhero. Chief among the villains featured prominently were Taskmaster, Constrictor, Diamondback, Ant-Man and Typhoid Mary. Although there were many more, particularly during Dark Reign where several villains reoutfitted themselves in new guises to pretend to be heroes to the public in a possible nod to the classic Thunderbolts. Also of note is that several Thunderbolts characters made notable appearances such as Boomerang, Norman Osborn, Nighthawk, Ragnarok, Skein and quite importantly to a Thunderbolts fan Penance's story was continued from Thunderbolts #127 in the Initiative. Really hitting up the Thunderbolts feel a lot of the time, The Initiative is a great book and an easy substitute for Thunderbolts blues. But then when you reach the end, you're back to square one.

#1 Edited by Jonny_Anonymous (33452 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm curious have you ever read Secret Six? Also there is rumors floating around the nest that Bendis might be relaunching Heroes For Hire so take from that what you will

#2 Posted by Sharkbite (293 posts) - - Show Bio

My LCBS owner turned me on to Secret Six at during the first arc of the last volume. Hands down, it is the best Villain-centric title I've ever read. Suicide Squad tries to be a replacement, but just doesn't deliver nearly as well.

There was one issue where the Six break a convicted Child Killer out of a prison transport and help him escape, bringing him to their employer... the father of one of the children he had killed. Then they proceed to give the father an educational lesson on how to cause the greatest amount of pain.

#3 Posted by xtremekidx (576 posts) - - Show Bio
#4 Posted by X35 (5981 posts) - - Show Bio

Okay already, I'll read Secret Six xP

#5 Edited by ripcurl (535 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm not a fan of the new Thunderbolts roster either, but Dark Avengers is just as bad.

The whole story is basically Skaar vs a bunch of second-tier villains.

Toxic Doxie, Ragnarok, Ai Apaec, and Clint Barton's brother are all poorly-written 1-dimensional characters.

Moonstone is great (and I wish Marvel would give her a solo title), but I don't see her fitting into the series long-term.

#6 Posted by joeagentofhand1 (4362 posts) - - Show Bio

@X35: which volume of Suicide Squad would you recommend?

#7 Posted by X35 (5981 posts) - - Show Bio

@joeagentofhand1: Probably the first one. I can't profess to know all that much about the Suicide Squad though. Someone might come along and say it's the worst of them all. But what I've read is decent.

#8 Posted by joeagentofhand1 (4362 posts) - - Show Bio

@X35: Thanks!

#9 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (33452 posts) - - Show Bio
@X35: Did you ever get round to Secret Six?
#10 Posted by X35 (5981 posts) - - Show Bio

gonna lie and say yes for the time being so people stop pestering me to read it...

#11 Posted by DJ1107 (244 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm kinda depressed about Thunderbolts. I actually wanted to like it I mean I would've been fine with it being mediocre but it's just sad that this is probably the second weakest Marvel NOW! book. If anyone was going in hating it it was the overzelous Punisher fanatics who only read Punisher MAX & think everthing else is shit. I think the person on the book I feel the most sorry for is Steve Dillion he's just a guy who's art hasn't aged well with comics much like Perez Back when he was on Worlds Finests.

#12 Edited by comic_shaun (72 posts) - - Show Bio

Thunderbolts will be getting Phil Noto as an ongoing artist as of issue 7. Steve Dillion.... he was good artist back in the 90's. Early 2000's work was stil alright, check out the Marvel Knight's Punisher. However, his art is not really fitting for superheroics and sticks well with emotional , "grounded"(Yeah, cause Preacher was grounded...sigh) and gross out.

By the way the initial idea of this new Thunderbolts is a good idea, if you really think about it. Sure, you can bog it down as Avenger's X-Force. I don't like Red hulk and orginally I thought this would have been the "circle of four" team from "Venom". However the mixture of the team is kinda balanced, Deadpool: provides humour and gore, Venom: Boy scout and provides griblyness, Electra: hardly speaks, good for visual gags, Punisher: Unbreakable demenour, war vetran, Rulk's only "friend" and Rulk: horrible title link, bland and passive aggressive so far. Each have great character histories, thread the Daniel Way could and should toy with. Give it a chance. It'll get better, however the ubundance of Red is disquieting. Just look at "Red Lanterns" and "Red Hood" both started out crap/good and are on their way to be being great series/cancelled. This gives Thunderbolts a chance of either direction.

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