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Thunderbolts #165

A comic review article by: Jamil Scalese

Yup, I love this title. Just when you think you know what's happening or who is doing what, the script is flipped and Jeff Parker delivers something fresh and thought-provoking. Thunderbolts is a fairly accessible read, but in no way lacks depth or relevance to the greater Marvel picture. You just basically need to know these characters are bad, seedy, cold and will continue to win your heart.

The future of this new Thunderbolts team consisting of Fixer, Moonstone, Centurius, Mr. Hyde, Boomerang, Satana and Gunna the Troll will apparently feature some time-skipping, and the nature and direction of their journey is still shrouded in mystery, but it marks sense it started in 1940's Germany. In one sense that represents the genesis of Marvel universe, the beginning of time, and Parker notes that with a reference to a character from Marvel Comics #1,  Phineas Horton. The violent and eager Thunderbolts squad up against the pure and heroic Invaders create a natural tension that reminds the reader the title is a few clicks off normacy. The harmony of the team is surprising considering most are murderers and crooks, and one of the knocks on Thunderbolts is the sense that there is a little too much honor amongst thieves. Still, considering that this group we're following rebelled from Luke Cage's faction there is enough evil going around for me. 

Of course the power of this series comes from the zany, shadowy cast that never stops surprising. The drawing power isn't the fights with giant monsters in the sea or the beat downs of Nazis in the Alps, it's the friction between a cast that depends on each other. In the current situation the team ponders the impactions of their involvement in WWII, particularly since they can't really tilt the scales since both helping Nazis nor killing the father of the team's founder is a viable option. The original Baron Zemo's appearance in this arc is not just a gimmick or a clever tip to the team's past -- a conversation between he and Moonstone hints at the future of the title. Parker balances quite a few subplots, and let's not forget a handful of title regulars not trapped in time. It's encouraging to feel that the comic has an overarching plan even if most individual issues feel like organized chaos. 

The art has a slight shift, with a new inker and colorist paired with Kev Walker. The previous color man, Frank Martin, provided a undeniable role in the consistency of the art in Parker's run. But only  a regular reader can sense the change. Walker has another great issue, with this being an extremely action heavy story with barren icy landscapes.  The mismatched team looks like it belongs together, and he's never afraid to throw some neat paneling at us. I am a fan of his Captain America, and think he would shine drawing that character in a series. 

I never would have believed that an Invaders/Thunderbolts team-up would work, but it did. Somehow this comics feels like it's functioning in another universe, but no, these are the villains we've always loved. Or loved to hate. Satana bangs Namor. Read this comic!


 

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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