Thunderbolts #10: 20th Anniversary Special Review

Thunderbolts #10: 20th Anniversary Special Review

20 Years of Justice…Like Lightning

Prologue: Like Lightning

Kurt Busiek (W), Mark Bagley (P), Scott Hanna (I), Matt Yackey (CA)

Return of the Masters Part 1: Bonds Unbroken

Jim Zub (W), Jon Malin (A), Matt Yackey (CA)

Cover by Jon Malin and Matt Yackey

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Price: $4.99

          My older brother read the Thunderbolts when I was younger. I never looked at his comics, but I do remember it was the era when Hawkeye was leading the team. The premise of reformed villains trying to do some good immediately stood out to me, and Hawkeye looked like such a cool character.

I read mainly the Marvel Age, Marvel Adventures, and Justice League: Unlimited comics at first. When I came of age, I began reading some Marvel Masterworks, namely Silver Surfer, the Avengers, and Giant-Sized X-Men, all of which belonged to my dad. When I started reading new mainstream Marvel comics, it was during the original Civil War event. I was obsessed with Spider-Man at the time, and mainly read the Amazing Spider-Man, though I did dabble in Wolverine, the Incredible Hulk, Ghost Rider, and Punisher: War Zone. It was at this time that I first picked up a Thunderbolts comic. It was a Civil War tie-in, and it detailed how Baron Zemo and the Thunderbolts became enlisted by Iron Man to help hunt down unregistered super heroes. For reasons I can’t remember, I chose not to add Thunderbolts to my pull list at this time. That’s a shame, because the story which followed this Civil War tie-in, Guardian Protocol, is one of my favorite Thunderbolts stories.

I did not read Thunderbolts at all during the Warren Ellis/Rick Remender era when Norman Osborn was leading the team, and I stayed away when he made a new team led by Scourge when Osborn became the Iron Patriot. I now own all of these stories in trade paperback form.

I picked up a few issues when Luke Cage became the new leader of the Thunderbolts and Jeff Parker was writing the book. For some reason, I still didn’t want to subscribe to the book. The only justification that I can remember was that I was getting two Avengers books, neither of which I wanted to drop, and the New 52 kicked off, which led to me finally reading mainstream DC Comics. I now own the vast majority of this run in trade paperback as well, and it is my favorite era of the Thunderbolts (though Jim Zub’s work is now in competition with it).

I read Thunderbolts steadily during the Charles Soule/Red Hulk era. However, I fell out of love with it around the Annual. I do intend to the collect the rest of that series, but I don’t regret dropping it from my pull list.

At this moment, about half of my collection of trade paperbacks have the name Thunderbolts on the spine. I love this team so much. I love the different lineups of B-list villains. I love that it’s been led by people like Baron Zemo, Hawkeye, Luke Cage, and the Winter Soldier, all of which are among my favorite Marvel characters. I love Songbird, Mach X, Moonstone, Atlas, Fixer, Jolt, Blizzard, Speed Demon, Boomerang, Green Goblin, Swordsman, Scourge, Ghost, Venom, Crossbones, Paladin, Man-Thing, Satanna, the Juggernaut, Radioactive Man, Mr. Hyde, Troll, Penance, Shocker, Red Hulk, Punisher, Ghost Rider, Genis-Vell, Bullseye, and almost everyone who has ever been a part of the Thunderbolts.

Needless to say, this is an exciting 20th anniversary for me. The fact that they brought back Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley, and Scott Hanna for the prologue made me so excited.

The story begins with a streak of light with a silhouette of a person inside shooting across space and towards Earth. We see Atlas standing outside the Arctic headquarters of the Thunderbolts. His inner monologue lets us know that he is unhappy and discontent. He remembers Jolt and how good she was at pulling him out of bad moods. He pulls out his phone, gets a random call, and suddenly a Masters of Evil lineup consisting of the Wrecking Crew, Tiger Shark, Whiplash, the Klaw, and Man-Killer come through a portal. They used the phone signal to find the location of the Thunderbolts.

Atlas attempts to fight them off as best as he can. The numbers and power of this Masters ensemble eventually overwhelm him, and it looks like it might be the end of Erik Josten. Suddenly, a lightning bolt hits the brawl, and we see none other than Helen Takahama aka Jolt standing in the dust. She streaks off with Atlas, leaving the Masters of Evil behind.

Jolt explains to Erik her recent adventures on Counter-Earth and how the Young Allies helped her get home. Erik thinks he’s hallucinating and passes out.

Back with the Masters, Baron Helmut Zemo himself steps through a portal to join his merry band of rogues. Man-Killer explains to him what happened with Atlas, and they turn their attention towards the base itself.

The main story by Zub and Malin starts in the next scene, and Moonstone is seen brooding. Songbird and Mach X are debating over how to go about a supply run. Moonstone meets up with Fixer, and she details a gap in her memory. She immediately puts it on Kobik. Fixer decides to investigate for her.

Next, we see Bucky going through his own struggles. He thinks of Steve Rogers and Black Widow. He gets a text message from Atlas and becomes angry that Erik was that reckless. He goes outside and is ambushed by Bulldozer. The rest of the Masters follow.

Moonstone and Fixer confront Kobik about their missing memories. Songbird and Mach X intervene, and the power to the base goes out. When the lights come back on, Baron Zemo is before them. Kobik becomes hostile, and Zemo contains her in some kind of energy field.

Zemo then makes an offer to the Thunderbolts. He wants them to join him once more. During this sales pitch, we see Bucky fighting for his life against the Masters of Evil. Before the Thunderbolts have a chance to answer Zemo’s offer, the Masters of Evil appear with a beaten and bloody Bucky in tow.

Songbird resists and shatters the device holding Kobik. The child sees the wounded Bucky and leaves with him. Songbird frees Mach X, and the two flee further into the base to retrieve his armor. Fixer and Moonstone are left with the Masters and Zemo. They agree to help them.

Next, we see Bucky waking up to find himself in his old World War II uniform, looking far younger, and presumably in the World War II era itself.

I absolutely adored this comic book. It was steeped in Thunderbolts history. The story was action-packed, intense, and so exciting. Every bit of it was enjoyable, and I couldn’t get enough.

The opening story with Busiek, Bagley, and Hanna was cool, and it was awesome to once more see Atlas and Jolt drawn in Bagley’s unique style. The fight between Atlas and the Masters was really cool and creative. They didn’t simply stick to the giant guy bunching down into the crowd format.

This new story arc with Zemo laying siege to the Thunderbolts with a badass Masters of Evil lineup looks like it’s going to be so very awesome. This issue alone had me on the edge of my seat and grinning ear-to-ear.

Malin, as always, delivers with his 90’s-esque style. The main story looked awesome and the fight scenes were so cool. There was one in particular where Bucky was repeatedly stabbing Tiger Shark in the back that looked great.

I did notice that Thunderball, the Wrecking Crew member who was recently with the Hood’s Illuminati and seemed to be on the path to reform, was in the prologue but not the main story. I know that’s a weird and small detail to notice, but it did stick out to me due to my love of the B-List villains. It would make sense that the old Thunderbolts creative team may not be privy to the current goings-on of the Wrecking Crew where Zub and Malin might be. However, it’s a really minute detail and wouldn’t distract most people.

This is probably my favorite comic being published at the moment. The Ultimates and Power Man and Iron Fist do give it a run for its money, but this comic is often the one that gets me most excited every month. I can’t recommend it enough, and this issue works as a perfect jumping-on point for the future of the series.

Final Score: 10/10

Thunderbolts #9 Review

Thunderbolts #9 Review

The hat just says beer.

Jim Zub (W), Jon Malin (A), Matt Yackey (C)

Cover by Jon Malin and Matt Yackey

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Price: $3.99

          This comic starts off with mysterious dialogue in a tropical environment set to the backdrop of a dragonfly consuming a smaller insect and a mysterious structure in the forest.

After successfully breaking the Winter Soldier out of S.H.I.E.L.D detention, we find our heroes preparing for the next mission with their new addition, Thunderbolts alum, Melissa Gold aka Songbird.

We first see Bucky’s new arm, courtesy of Fixer. This arm has features such as auto-reload, an ejecting fist knife, and a flamethrower from the palm. It also has the Thunderbolts logo on the shoulder in place of the old red star.

I have to gush on this for a second. Logos are so important in super hero comic books. To me, the Thunderbolts logo and Bucky’s red/blue and white star have always stuck out since I love the characters so much. The fact that Bucky now has the Thunderbolts insignia on his shoulder made me so giddy. I loved it. It really is the fine details that matter sometimes.

Anyway, Bucky and Abe introduce Melissa to the new mission of the Thunderbolts: protecting the Earth from aliens and sticking it to S.H.I.E.L.D. They also introduce her to Kobik.

Fixer calls the team to the control room and informs them of a new alien signal detected on Earth. The team, Songbird and Kobik included, go off to investigate.

The lead takes them to Maine. After some searching, they are ambushed by large reptilian aliens promising to conquer the world. A battle soon takes place, and the Thunderbolts win it handily.

The team returns to their headquarters, and the comic ends with Abe and Melissa bonding once again.

This is really takes me back to reading old issues of the Avengers. Jim Zub knows how to write a team book, and he knows how important it is to build the relationships between the characters. He also knows that this is a super hero rag, and you have to throw in some conflict to keep the reader interested.

As always, Malin and Yackey keep the comic reminiscent of its 90’s origins. This does, as it has, lead to some moments where the details seem a tad stark. However, it is overall enjoyable and nostalgic of the Thunderbolts’ past.

Also, Abe has a hat that just says “BEER” in all capital letters. It just says beer. It. Just. Says. Beer. What does this mean? Is this some enigmatic message hidden within the headwear of Mach X, or does he just love beer that much? What is this?

What can I say? This comic continues to be great. I continue to recommend it to anyone who likes a good, action-packed, character-focused super hero comic.

Also, sorry for the lateness of this review. Today was quite busy, and it has left me sort of rushing this out at the end. Hopefully this will be rare in the future. Anyway, keep reading comics!

Final Score: 9/10

Thunderbolts #8 Review

Thunderbolts #8 Review

Jail House Rock

Jim Zub (W), Jon Malin (A), Matt Yackey (CA)

Cover by Jon Malin and Matt Yackey

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Price: $3.99

          Another late review, but, dammit, I’m going to review all the issues of this series because Winter Soldier+Thunderbolts=Happy B-List Defender.

When we last left our beleaguered anti-heroes, the Thunderbolts were breaking into a S.H.I.E.L.D prison to bust out their leader, Bucky Barnes. This issue picks up with the team incapacitating a number of Guardsmen. After this, they swiftly search out the facility for the Winter Soldier. Moonstone and Mach X find Maria Hill and gas her to put her out of commission for a bit. Atlas, Fixer, and Songbird find Steve Rogers still on-site and are forced to do battle with Captain America.

We briefly cut back to Kobik floating around Thunderbolts HQ while pondering who she will choose between Bucky Barnes and the Red Skull. We briefly see none other than Ghost spying on the girl (yes, Ghost! I’m so excited).

We then return to Atlas and Songbird trying to subdue Captain Rogers. Steve manages to pacify Atlas, and then he tries to appeal to former S.H.I.E.L.D agent and Avenger Songbird. She decides to stick with her old team and literally shouts down Captain America. Fixer then returns to the scene with the Winter Soldier, who convinces Steve to stand down.

We next cut to the Thunderbolts preparing to leave the scene in their jet, and Songbird decides to stay with the team. Bucky has to ditch his bionic arm because Fixer informs him that S.H.I.E.L.D planted tracking devices within it. The comic ends with Captain America finding the arm.

Once again, the Thunderbolts creative team knock it out of the park. This is an exciting and action-packed issue. It’s a crowd-pleaser, with the Thunderbolts themselves barreling through droves of S.H.I.E.L.D agents in a manner that spoke to the anti-establishment hippy inside me. The fight between Atlas, Fixer, Songbird, and Captain America was great, and it is just as balanced as it should be given that their foe was Captain Rogers himself.

Malin makes his Thunderbolts return in this issue, and his art stylistically fits the book perfectly. That being said, there are a couple of panels where Captain America and the Winter Soldier look oddly shaped. Steve Rogers looks a little too bulgy when he first shows up. It didn’t look as bad as Liefeld, but it reminded me of him a little too much (I’m so sorry Jon, you are still infinitely more talented than he is). Bucky looks a little to slender when he first makes his appearance in the issue. However, these moments are sparse and don’t interfere with the comic too much.

I was so happy to see Thunderbolts-veteran Ghost make a brief appearance, and I can’t wait to see what he brings to the series in issues to come.

We are eight issues in now, and this book has yet to deliver a weak issue. I love it through-and-through, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys good super her fair. As always, I can’t wait for next month.

Final Score: 9.5/10

Thunderbolts #7 Review

Thunderbolts #7 Review

Shocking Reunions (Get it? Shocking. Thunderbolts.)

Jim Zub (W), Sean Izaakse (A), Matt Yackey (CA)

Cover by Kris Anka

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Price: $3.99

          Let’s finish this weekend of reviews with, of course, Thunderbolts. Yes, I know this comic is a week old, but I can’t leave an issue of this book unreviewed. I won’t do it.

As you might remember from Thunderbolts #5, Bucky was arrested and captured by S.H.I.E.L.D after trying to incapacitate and capture new Spider-Man Miles Morales. At the end of #6, Fixer figures this out from hacked S.H.I.E.L.D intel.

This issue begins with Maria Hill visiting Bucky in a holding facility in New York called Obfirmo-4. She is extremely agitated and interrogates Bucky on the location of Kobik.

From there, we return to the Thunderbolts headquarters where Fixer is filling the team in on Bucky’s predicament and Obfirmo-4. After convincing Moonstone, the team decide to contact Songbird to help them get into the prison.

Steve Rogers visits Bucky next, and the two have a shouting match over the actions that led Bucky to being arrested. The conversation ends with Steve pleading with Bucky to tell him where Kobik is.

Back with the Thunderbolts, Songbird has met up with Mach-X and tells him that she will do this one job with them and then she is completely retired. After the two join the rest of the team, Songbird fills them in on the logistics of the prison. They come up with a plan and enter Obfirmo-4.

Songbird is able to fool the voice recognition security protocol, but they are scanned by a full-body device afterwards which she did not expect. The machine identifies them as intruders, and the comic ends with the facility going on alert.

This comic manages to hit it out of the park again with another great issue. The pacing remains appropriately quick, the plot moves forward to a satisfying degree, and it has crowd-pleasing moments with Songbird rejoining the Thunderbolts and Bucky and Steve reuniting.

The conversation between Steve and Bucky is cathartic. The two haven’t spoken in a while, Bucky has made himself an enemy of the state again, and, as a result, there is a lot to talk about that they don’t want to talk about. The friction is palpable, and Zub and Izaakse display that they understand the power of silence and visual emotion in addition to verbal.

Kobik remains endearing, and she is the driving force behind the team going to rescue the Winter Soldier. It’s also a little heartwarming when Mach-X, Atlas, and Fixer tell Moonstone that Bucky is “one of us.”

The comic isn’t exactly action-packed, but the rising tension and preamble to the break-in provide energy and excitement. It’s the calm before the war, and the next issue promises to provide it. This comic is another one of those “breather” issues that I taut so much.

The return of Songbird and the awkwardness between she and Mach X as well as she and Moonstone displays once again that Mr. Zub is well-versed in Thunderbolts history. This is such a pleasing thing to a diehard Thunderbolts fan like myself.

Izaakse and Yackey put together another gorgeous comic with popping colors, stunning figures, and emotional body language. These two are a great artistic team.

What can I say about this comic that I haven’t already? It’s great. The series never disappoints and often manages to surprise me with just how well-crafted it is. Zub always manages to up the ante, and I hope he stays on Thunderbolts for a long time to come.

Final Score: 9.5/10

Thunderbolts #5 and #6 Reviews

Thunderbolts #5 and #6 Reviews

 Bucky vs Miles and Abe References SCTV

Thunderbolts #5

Jim Zub (W), Jon Malin (A), Matt Yackey (CA)

Cover by Jon Malin and Matt Yackey

*Ties in to Civil War II

Thunderbolts #6

Jim Zub (W), Sean Izaakse (A), Matt Yackey (CA)

Cover by Jon Malin and Matt Yackey

Both Published by Marvel Comics

Both Priced at $3.99

          I try my best to avoid having to go back and review comics (outside of the Barely Retro Reviews of course). I prefer to stay up-to-date, plus I want to be able to recommend comics when they are fresh on the shelves and easy to find. Sometimes things happen though, like forgetfulness and missed orders. So, here we are. We’re going for another double review with the past two issues of Jim Zub’s Thunderbolts.

Issue Five picks up with Bucky Barnes discovering from Fixer’s surveillance station that Ulysses had a vision of Miles Morales the Ultimate Spider-Man killing Steve Rogers. Naturally, this greatly upsets the Winter Soldier, and he decides that he’s going to keep Steve from dying, remembering the last time it happened at the end of the first Civil War.

He loads up, heads out, and attempts to capture Morales. The spider sense foils his plans, and the two enter a brawl. Bucky seems to have the upper hand when S.H.I.E.L.D. arrives and overwhelms him. He ends up being captured, and the comic ends with the Winter Soldier in a cell.

Issue Six opens up with a relatively smaller dilemma: the Thunderbolts are out of food, and Atlas is hungry. Kobik can’t fix it because Bucky told her not to use her powers. So Atlas and Mach X decide to go out on a food run to stock up on supplies. Meanwhile, Moonstone and Fixer decide now is as good a time as any to solve the Kobik problem.

Moonstone and Fixer try to accomplish this by reverting her back to her Cosmic Cube state. This fails, and Kobik pacifies them and reveals to Fixer that she brought him back from the time loop he was previously trapped in (way back in Jeff Parker’s Thunderbolts). She dissolves all of his technology, including a signal jammer he gave to Erik and Abe when they went on the food run.

This allows S.H.I.E.L.D. to get a reading on Mach X’s armor, and they go out to arrest him and Atlas. They find them at a convenience store, and the two manage to escape with some supplies. The return to their secret base unfollowed and find Moonstone and Fixer having a tea party with Kobik. The comic ends with Fixer discovering that Bucky has been captured by S.H.I.E.L.D.

Both of these issues were fantastic for very different reasons. We’ll go at this chronologically for simplicity’s sake.

Issue Five provides a really dramatic story that, along with the Power Man and Iron Fist Civil War II tie-in, is among the best things to come out of the current big crossover. It’s simple, straightforward, and lasts only one issue. Miles Morales may kill Steve Rogers in the future. Steve is Bucky’s closest friend. Bucky will do anything to save him.

The pacing is fast: Bucky is tracking Miles in first few pages. He has some heartfelt flashbacks to Steve’s death as well as his own time dating Black Widow. He has to force himself to be cold and focused. The ensuing fight is intense and kinetic. Jon Malin and Matt Yackey depict it all to perfection

The personal stakes are clear. We are put right inside Bucky’s head as he does all of this. It’s emotional for him, and the reader can feel it. I think it’s the best issue of the series so far, and I can recommend it to anyone, even if they haven’t been following Thunderbolts or Civil War II.

Issue Six is almost an “X-Men playing softball” issue, and I really dig that. The Thunderbolts are out of food. This is the only catalyst for what happens next, even Moonstone and Fixer going after Kobik. Mach X and Atlas are allowed to have a great bromance moment while referencing Bob and Doug McKenzie, and Moonstone and Fixer get to continue being shady. The characters act like themselves, and you get to connect with Abe and Erik for a bit. The comic is also just really funny too. It plays a good light-hearted follow up to the heavy drama of Issue Five.

I also really like that they explain how Fixer is back given his endless cycle of killing himself that Jeff Parker set up way back during his run on Thunderbolts. It shows Jim Zub’s love for the series and that he really has read up on his comic’s history. Plus, all of this serves to make Kobik kind of intimidating as she browbeats Fixer for trying to change her.

The art change was unexpected, but it wasn’t bad. I like Malin’s 90’s callback style, but I also enjoyed the clean and sleeker look of Sean Izaakse. As usual, Matt Yackey keeps the colors bright, and I continue to enjoy the hell out of it.

Both comics are self-contained too, and, as you well know by now, I really like that. The stories feel complete, and I highly recommend both of these comics.

Final Scores:

Thunderbolts #5: 10/10

Thunderbolts #6: 9/10

Review of the Previous Issue

Thunderbolts #3

Thunderbolts #3

Inhumans vs. Outlaws

Jim Zub (W), Jon Malin (A), Matt Yackey (CA)

Cover by: Jon Malin and Matt Yackey

Published by: Marvel Comics

Price: $3.99

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

Review for Issue #2

Review for Issue #1

A History of the Winter Soldier

Thunderbolts #2

Thunderbolts #2

Jim Zub (W), Jon Malin (A), Matt Yackey (CA)

Cover by: Jon Malin and Matt Yackey

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Price: $3.99

So, my first ever review on this site was Thunderbolts #1! It was great, check it out (the comic, not the review, but if you wanna read the review you should, please, it’s good too, I promise). Since comics come out monthly, and I lost track of time, we’re going to call this my one-month anniversary review. Yay, one month!

It sure has been a month, with reviews, and more reviews, and even MORE reviews! All kidding aside, I have enjoyed it. I really like this, and I do hope I get to make it my job. That’s of course up to you kiddos checking out my Patreon, my GoFundMe, and sharing my stuff as much as you can. I really and truly appreciate it!

Anyway, to get to the comic, it continues from where #1 left off, with Moonstone on the floor with a hole in her chest from where Kobik stole her moonstone. The team is in shock, and they still have to decide what to do about the alien pods that are in then warehouse with them. Bucky must carefully handle the dangerous situation with the all-powerful child. Then, when Fixer starts checking out the alien pods, creatures break out and begin attacking the team. A fight ensues, and surprise guest stars show up at the end.

This issue was great, possible even better than the first. The team is very engaging, and the art shows them off well. Kobik is a good mixture of endearing and terrifying, Atlas plays a great well-meaning funny guy, and it’s awesome watching the Winter Soldier learn to be a leader with some of the most rebellious people on the planet.

The interactions between Bucky and Kobik are really endearing. I like the relationship between these two. Fixer and Moonstone are the arrogant ones. Fixer is still pretty charming in his way, but Moonstone has yet to prove to be redeemable. Mach X, while being a character I’ve really liked in past iterations of the Thunderbolts hasn’t really come into his own yet in this book. I get the feeling Zub is writing him intentionally shy, but that hasn’t really been solidified yet.

The comic is paced very well, and it doesn’t linger on a single problem or scene for too long. It likes its cliffhangers at the end (with the ending to this one and the hole-in-the-chest ending to the first issue), but they do work well to make me excited for the next issue. It flows very naturally. When you’re just getting ready for a fight to break out, it does. The fights are really cool and kinetic. The Zub, Malin, and Yackey are really in sync in this comic.

The art keeps its 90’s throwback style. I really enjoy it, and I feel that it matches this team very well since they were created in 1996. I could understand if some people didn’t enjoy it, but it works for me. The design on the aliens that they fight is really creative. I got a real kick out of the appearance of these things. They’re weird and creepy looking; it’s really great. There is something odd about the color of Moonstone’s blood at the beginning of the book. It honestly resembled barbeque sauce. It looks more red later on, but it distracting in the beginning.

What else is there to say? It’s a fun, well-paced comic with an enjoyable and unique cast of characters led by the one-and-only Winter Soldier. It lives up to the Thunderbolts legacy, and it’s working its way to be one of my favorite comics on the shelves right now. Give it a read.

Final Score: 9/10

Review for Issue #1

Review for Issue #3

A History of the Winter Soldier