By Andy Diggle (Writer), Bong Dazo (Pencils), Joe Pimentel (Inks), and Frank Martin (Colors)
Some Thoughts Before The Review: So far, I’ve had a fair share of conflicting emotions regarding Andy Diggle’s Thunderbolts run. On one hand, the author carries on the mean streak and dark tone that made the Warren Ellis run such a critical success. On the other, I have yet to find Diggle’s new Thunderbolts team all that appealing. The characters have their moments, but the team as a whole lacks the turmoil and dysfunction that made the Ellis bunch so appealing. Thankfully, I have a feeling most of my conflicting emotion will be quickly forgotten as Deadpool brings his unique brand of humor and chaos to a series that currently needs just a little extra jolt of electricity.
The Story: “Magnum Opus” continues as Deadpool, in an effort to reach Norman Osborn for payment (and a bit of revenge), squares off against the Thunderbolts inside Avengers Tower. But all is not as it seems since Osborn has the Thunderbolts pulling punches in order to keep their target alive. Action, violence, and humor are the name of the game in Thunderbolts #130.
What’s Good: It figures that it’d take Deadpool to finally bring out the personality in the Thunderbolts team and make (almost) everything click. Long story short, Andy Diggle does quite a good job handling both his team and the guest of honor. Regarding the T-bolts, for the first time I actually find myself really looking forward to the next issue so that I can learn more about the cast of characters that I am fairly unfamiliar with thanks to the interesting team dynamics on display. As for Deadpool, Diggle effectively picks up where Daniel Way left off and doesn’t really miss a beat in handling the more unique aspects of the crazy mercenary.
Also worth mentioning about the latest issue of Thunderbolts is how damn nice it looks. The creative team does a fantastic job of handling the non-stop, explosive action without ever really letting it get too out of hand. From Bong Dazo’s kinetic scenes and stylish character work to the complimentary inks and vibrant colors that help the work jump off the page, the second chapter of “Magnum Opus” is a lot of fun to look at.
What’s Not So Good: Two key things hold Thunderbolts #130 from earning a higher grade. The first thing is that, while Diggle makes solid strides in bringing out the personality of his team, it still consists of characters that I have little, to no attachment to. While I understand that time is needed for them to grow on me, I had hoped for at least a character or two to really stand out by this point. I highly doubt I’m the only one feeling this way.
The second thing that needs to be mentioned is that from time to time the action gets a little bit too crazy. Either too much is going on, or character positioning leads to a bit of confusion. It doesn’t really detract from the strong visuals a whole lot, but it proves distracting at times.
Conclusion: The latest issue of Thunderbolts restores my faith in the series. I had thought about dropping it following the Deadpool crossover, but now I feel that the new team definitely has the potential to be quite memorable. You’ve got the ball back Diggle, now is the time to run with it.
Fanboys take note: when somebody asks whether or not you dig the Bong, I promise you it’s okay to say “YES!” This was my first introduction to artist Bong Dazo’s work, and I was incredibly impressed. Although I believe his style is a bit to cartoonish and illustrative to be the regular artist for a dark and gritty title like Thunderbolts, it nicely complements Deadpool’s appearance here. Dazo’s art is loose and flowing, yet incredibly detailed when the moment calls for it, and I hope the industry takes note and sends more work his way! As for the story itself, I was surprised by how easily Deadpool took down the Thunderbolts, and disappointed by how utterly inept they came off looking. I enjoyed this issue, don’t get me wrong, but when I finished it the first thing I said to myself was “wow, why is it I’m reading this title?” The ease with which Deadpool laid the smackdown on Osborn’s team of covert cutthroats is embarassing, and it makes them look like far less of a threat than Diggle was building them up to be in previous issues. I hate to say it, but Diggle actually succeeded in making me want to drop this title and resume collecting Deadpool, and that was the last thing I expected to get from this issue.