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Thunderbolts #128

Posted: Tuesday, January 20, 2009
By: David Hodum

Andy Diggle
Roberto de la Torre
Marvel Comics
Editor's Note: Thunderbolts #128 arrives in stores tomorrow, January 21.

Provided by Marvel.com:
From the ashes of Secret Invasion, an all-new era for the Thunderbolts erupts, with repercussions felt right across the Marvel Universe! Yelena Belova (a.k.a. Black Widow II) leads the irredeemable Ant-Man and the sinister Ghost in a daring mission to take down the U.S. President aboard Air Force One!

Norman Osborn has stepped up his game. It is established that the only person more powerful than Norman in the Marvel Universe is the U.S. President, so Norman has free reign; he can either take Obama out or get the President on his side. He is going to have to make an immediate decision because Doc Samson has come aboard to challenge Osborn's qualifications as the leader of HAMMER. Norman is a quick thinker though, and he chooses his words quite carefully, but you'd never notice this because he speaks so fluidly and without hesitation. You would think that this was a bit of an ambush by Samson, but the fact that Yelena Belova and Ant-Man managed to get on board means Osborn knew something like this was coming. This means that either he is quite prepared or quite paranoid. He is quickly becoming the Marvel version of Lex Luthor, if he isn't already.

It is good to see that the protagonists of the Marvel Universe are not taking Osborn's ascension lying down. In what is surely the first of many attempts, Samson decides to challenge Osborn in front of the only person he is responsible to, which is probably the safest arena for Samson to do it. If the President saw Osborn crack or lose his grip on his sanity, surely the party would be over for Norman. Osborn will be engaged on many fronts in the coming months, and this is just one battlefield. He will be challenged physically by Spider-Man and the Avengers, politically by other embedded individuals in the government, and he will be challenged mentally by those like Samson, trying to get Osborn to extend himself too far.

In this issue we find the Black Widow and Ant-Man engaged in covert ops aboard Air Force One. It would seem that writer Andy Diggle is setting up these Thunderbolts as the opposite of Nick Fury's Secret Warriors. Osborn would now have a mirror team for Nick Fury as well as Captain America, the Dark Avengers vs the New Avengers. It will be interested to see what someone with the far reaching resources of HAMMER will also do to match what has been done, be it a new version of the SuperHuman Registration Act or something far worse.

The creative team has done a great job in this issue. Writer Andy Diggle uses dialogue quite well, with the entire cast sounding unique and true to their character. The art is excellent, both the consistent and sharp pencils and the mood setting colors. Each character is instantly recognizable and no two people look alike, and the scale used with certain size-changing members of the Thunderbolts is handled accurately.

Final Word: This issue has ignited an interest in me to continue reading the Thunderbolts. Not only are they a very capable team, but Osborn has a few aces up his sleeve that might help him snuff out any challenges to his power.






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