Nick Spencerís current revival of T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents has been one of the big surprises late in 2010. Not because it seemed beyond Spencerís abilities but because, historically, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents has been doomed to production limbo, with famed revival attempts by everyone from Rob Liefieldís Extreme Studios to even DC a few years ago, all failing.
But here we are, with Spencer accomplishing the impossible and not only getting the book off the ground but turning it into something truly notable. Joined by a league of artists, including Cafu and ChrisCross as well as Frank Quitely on covers, Spencerís T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents is a book that lives in the moment--the action is splendidly confusing, information is handed out in tiny doses and nothing is as it seems.
After the debut issue introduced the world of T.H.U.N.D.E.R. and the labyrinth of deception plaguing the organization inside and out, the bookís second issue begins the process of slowly letting us in on who the titular agents actually are. With the demise of the previous agents in issue #1 and the concealed reveal of their replacements, issue #2 scales back and focuses for the most part on the teamís new Lightning.
Former Olympic runner Henry Cosgei has taken on the mantle after a drug scandal that may or may not have been created by T.H.U.N.D.E.R. to ruin his professional aspirations. Spencer makes a key point of Cosgeiís passion for running, a talent that consumes every facet of his life. Knowing this makes it easier to understand why Cosgei, a family man, would be willing to join T.H.U.N.D.E.R.ís cause even though it will inevitably kill him.
Crossí art during the Lightning segments is hyperkinetic, making great use of blurred lines and facial contortions, with Brad Andersonís coloring a secret weapon. A development towards the end of the book, when the dark side of Lightningís power is made clear, showcases Crossí expert handling of the human element as well. Cafuís pencils on the rest of pages are no less vital, though there are occasional moments where itís clear that Cafu doesnít have the same grasping of facial expressions that Cross does.
Part of the fun of T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents is watching Spencer play in such a big, high stakes world. Itíll be interesting to see exactly how it all comes crashing down for the characters, as Spencer has hinted it invariably will. Spencerís undoubtedly ambitious but heís off to a great start and itís highly recommended you get on board now.
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