By: Jeff Parker (writer), Declan Shalvey (artist), Frank Martin (colorist)
The Story: What a waste of a perfectly good prostitute.
The Review: Ever since both Herc and S.H.I.E.L.D. dropped off my radar, I’ve been scoping around for other Marvel titles to check out and cover. A couple of you made suggestions, which I appreciate, but most of them turned out to be minis that were already part-way through their run, so those didn’t seem like the best long-term choices. What I really wanted to find was that great Marvel middleweight—not one of the pop sellers, but an enjoyable title in its own way.
And since I’ve had a hankering for a quality antihero title since the end of Secret Six (which I miss more and more with each passing day, by the way), the Thunderbolts seemed like a natural fit. Reading through this issue makes it clear this dubious band of individuals don’t have quite the edginess Gail Simone’s smart writing brought to the Six, but the T-bolts have a lively, engaging group dynamic all their own.
For one thing, you have far more than six people bouncing off each other. All told, you have almost twice that number of members on the team, each with a very distinctive power set, design, and personality. You’ve got the daughter of Satan, a slightly disturbed psychologist, a half-Asgardian, half-Troll, several geniuses with varying degrees of amorality, and Mr. Hyde. And that’s before you get to the heroic alignments of the characters, some of whom really seem to be in this for the nobility, and others who can’t care less.
Obviously, with Luke Cage and Brunnhilde (I know she goes by Valkyrie, but her Asgardian name is a lot more fun to say, don’t you think?) around, you have your true-blue heroes, but the rest of the T-bolts are a little harder to pin down. I’ll say this, though: none of them show as much of an inclination to kill as the most principled of the Secret Six. Troll expresses remorse (“No…! Not mean to…”) when she slays the Iceni curse-keeper in this issue, and even Boomerang holds off killing the woman trying to suck his soul until told he’s fated to do so.
As for the plot at hand, time-traveling hijinks are always fun when there are no universe or reality-threatening stakes to them. Parker seems to be having fun picking and choosing the various periods to send the team, though he makes some fairly obvious choices (here, we go from Industrial Revolution England to Arthurian legend). But so long as he keeps bringing the creative twists—as it turns out, it’s Jack the Ripper’s victims who are the murderers here—there’s no reason why we shouldn’t enjoy the ride.
Shalvey goes for a simple, sketchy style in the same tradition of Cliff Chiang, but his lines are even thinner and he seems more interested in dynamic movement than drama. But that works; unlike the Greek tragedy going on over in Wonder Woman, this title is all about action from beginning to end, so Shalvey’s lean, kinetic art (along with some interesting paneling choices, like Satana’s “fiery” recounting of the Iceni legend) fits very well.
Conclusion: Entertaining throughout, Thunderbolts lacks much in the way of depth or complexity, but it delivers a satisfying read nonetheless.
- Minhquan Nguyen
Some Musings: - “A proper room instead o’ the alley? Fancy!” I shudder to think of the undoubtedly countless people forced to do the nasty in a pre-Industrial England alley. Those people can’t be alive now. As it happens, they aren’t. So let that be a lesson to you: do it in a room!
- “Never thought my job would require arranging trysts as a pimp.” None of us ever do. And I’m a document controller by day, so…
A Second Opinion Continue reading
Filed under: Marvel Comics, Reviews | Tagged: Boomerang, Brunnhilde, Centurius, Declan Shalvey, Fixer, Frank Martin, ghost, Jack the Ripper, Jeff Parker, Luke Cage, Marvel, Marvel Comics, Moonstone, Mr. Hyde, Satana, Thunderbolts, Thunderbolts #167, Thunderbolts #167 revew, Troll, Valkyrie | 2 Comments »