Inhumans vs. Outlaws
Jim Zub (W), Jon Malin (A), Matt Yackey (CA)
Cover by: Jon Malin and Matt Yackey
Published by: Marvel Comics
So, I’ve decided that I am going to regularly review this issue. It was the first comic I reviewed for the site. I love Bucky Barnes and the Thunderbolts, so it just makes sense. Plus, this is the kind of quality comic for which I became the B-List Defender. As the site says, I’m reading what others don’t.
Plus, some early reviews of this comic were quite negative, so someone needs to champion this poor thing.
Despite my attachment to the characters, I wouldn’t be arguing in its favor if I didn’t believe in its quality. I’ll be the first to tell you when these characters and teams get botched. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Ales Kot’s Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier series. It got too existential for its own good and ended in a very unsatisfying manner. I have grown to like Charles Soule’s writing in more recent years, but his re-imagined Thunderbolts series was a complete train wreck (one day we are going to talk about the annual to that series). Just to be clear, I say these things to show my impartiality, not to slander these very talented writers.
Now, onto the comic.
This issue picks up with a team of Inhumans coming across the Thunderbolts standing over destroyed pods that resemble those that accompany Terrigenesis. Crystal assumes the worst and accuses the Thunderbolts of slaughtering helpless Inhumans. A fight ensues before Bucky can explain that, in reality, these pods were holding vicious aliens and not Inhumans.
Who wins? I’m not gonna say. I go back and forth on discussing the whole plot of the comics I review. At the end of the day, I am going to decide one way or the other based on if a proper discussion of the comic warrants it. In this case, it doesn’t.
This comic is a good old-fashioned brawler. Atlas squares off with Flint (like in the cover), the Winter Soldier fights Gorgon, Mach X goes toe-to-toe with Crystal, and it’s all a lot of fun. It’s a fantastic climax to this two-and-a-half issue tale.
That length is really good for a comic story these days and further shows this comics skillfulness at pacing itself. The battle itself wraps up a little over halfway through the comic, leaving the last portion for cooldown and foreshadowing upcoming stories. It also allows for a good bit of character development, ending on a pretty heartfelt note between Bucky and Kobik.
Even the manner in which the fight ends says something about the Thunderbolts. I’m attempting to not spoil things here, but the Thunderbolts are definitely willing to press their advantages, even if it means playing dirty.
Fixer and Moonstone are shown being the classic schemers that that they are. They both have plans for Kobik, and will not be for the benefit of the team. This gave me a bit of a nostalgic feeling. It definitely reminded me of older Thunderbolts tales with these two good old crooks.
Mach X is still left uncharacterized in this book. That’s a bit of a shame, because Abner Jenkins is definitely one of my favorite all-time Thunderbolts. I’m still hoping they’ll fix that in the future.
Atlas is a lot of fun in this book. He’s the more relaxed team member that tries to keep everyone from getting too tense.
Bucky is depicted perfectly. He’s not the best leader, but he can still keep this band of outlaws together. He fights for the greater good, but he understands that it may not always look that way to everyone. He cares for Kobik, and he empathizes with the fact that, like himself, she’s a victim of outside forces trying to take advantage of her.
The art continues to be very good. It’s still got the 90’s edge to it, and it still feels appropriate for the book. However, it does itself justice by leaving out the worst part of the 90’s art. The women are no more rail-thin than in other comics, and the muscles on the men aren’t ridiculously bulgy.
This book is great. The pacing is quick, the characters are fleshed out, the fighting is exciting, and the art is solid. This is one of those under-the-radar gems that I’m all about. Give it a read.
Final Score: 9/10