Thunderbolts #162

A comic review article by: Jamil Scalese
As an army of black frogs descend on Chicago the Thunderbolts turn to every weapon in their arsenal. Then an enormous Man-Thing shows up to save the day. Too bad Parker beat me to the joke.

Although it's slapped across the front cover Fear Itself has almost nothing to do with what's happening on the panel. The frog army attack is schemed by Sin, but the versatile invasion force is an invention stolen from Zemo, who made a surprising return last issue. More surprising is his association with Fixer and how that plotline develops in this issue. Parker is doing an excellent job of keeping the continuous subplots moving and trying to incorporate all of the players.

Since the Worthy hammer crushed the Raft the team has been in static turmoil. Successive missions have bamboozled them and their roster is beginning to strain. The mutinous Underbolts sub-team has been a delight and the payoff of their inclusion is starting to expose itself. The addition of Baron Helmut Zemo is an expected but always welcome move. Zemo's essence is woven in the fabric of Thunderbolts and his role has ranged from leader to enemy in the history of a group and title that has settled into many roles.

The issue suffered from art issues, with some pages being brilliant and others uninspired. I actually can't tell where De Landro begins and Southworth ends, but there is a sense of incompleteness, especially toward the end. That is not to say there lacks gorgeous panels in this book, some of the work was remarkable and vibrant. It was nice to see another artist on this book even if the regulars Kev Walker and Declan Shalvey are very strong. It's hard to ignore the sketchy panels and the last page which looks awkward, even if the premise is ridiculous.

Yet the consistency of Parker prevails. I love his fearless approach to the roster and standard "arc" storytelling. It ships often and pleases just as much, Thunderbolts is a trove of good characters, great dynamic and a sense of constant momentum. It's got big action and little baddies. Except Mr. Hyde, he's manly.

Jamil Scalese is just like you -- an avid comics fan and lover of sequential art. Residing in Pittsburgh, PA, he is an unapologetic Deadpool fan, lover of the Food Network and proud member of Steelers Nation.

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