Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artists: Tom Grummett(p), Gary Erskine(i), Sotocolor's J. Brown(c)
Nicieza uses this issue of The Thunderbolts to add even more layers of depth to my former favorite of the group Joystick. You know what? I don't like it. The handling of the revelations is well done, and I cannot fault Nicieza's execution, but I liked Joystick more when she was all about having the best time of her life and getting paid for it. Her definition was mercenary risk-taker, but I am forced to admit that Nicieza does fit in these surprises within the framework of his broader story.
Joystick on the behest of Zemo engages in a little espionage. Her target, Speed Demon. Speed Demon, former Thunderbolt and current member of the Grandmaster's reincarnated Squadron Supreme--known now as Supreme Power, brings down the beat on a group of "Ninja-Lookin' Monks." It seems Grandmaster is playing a chess game against Zemo. Something called the Wellspring of Power serves as the prize and the mcguffin of the story. The Ninja-Monks know of its location.
Nicieza hints that this Wellspring may actually be a mcguffin within the context of the story. Kyle Richmond alias Nighthawk makes the point:
"Makes you wonder why no one knew about the Wellspring until now..."
A very astute question. The mention and his behavior ably illustrated by Tom Grummett recalls Nighthawk's whole point of being. Nighthawk was originally conceived to be Marvel's Batman in the sneaky "crossover" that the writers and artists hatched so many years ago. In Thunderbolts Kyle displays the curiosity of a detective.
Grummett's artwork has made even the most mediocre stories worth the reader's attention. Nicieza's story lacks mediocrity, and Grummett gives Nicieza's story his all. He bestows proportion to all the characters and researches for foreign backdrops. He with Erskine and Brown gives a fluidness to Joystick's eyes that helps the reader understand how Joystick could have been so convincing in her ruse, and while her half-mask is mucho el stupido in fashion, her duplicity gives an underlying reason for its creation.
While the characterization begins taking on a form that's not particularly attractive, Nicieza's plot and Grummett's artwork makes it impossible to ignore The Thunderbolts.
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