The new Thunderbolts sit together on a construction beam.

Thunderbolts #1 Review

Written by: Jim Zub

Art by: Sean Izaakse

Coloring by: Java Tartaglia

Lettering by: VC’s Joe Sabino

Editing by: Martin Biro, Annalise Bissa, Tom Brevoort

The whole cast of the Thunderbolts from left to right, Power man, America Chavez, Persuasion, some Cable rip-off, Monice Rambeau, and Clint Barton.
Does Hawkeye really have to lead this team instead of Monica?

There’s something to be said about how Marvel will give so many B, C, and D-list heroes their own books. Thunderbolts #1 is chockful of characters I either couldn’t name or didn’t care about before it started. It’s not changing my mind on Clint Barton, but the overall team works for me. I didn’t think that it would, so it’s a nice surprise. It doesn’t feel like the characters are getting along too fast, or that their banter feels wrong or cringy. Maybe it’s because most of them don’t have long histories with a lot of character appearances that I don’t question any of it.

Many fans call the Thunderbolts Marvel’s answer to the Suicide Squad, but that’s not what this series is. This is a government-sponsored group, but it’s more of a marketing push so New York City can control its superheroes. For too long, New York has had to answer to vigilantes who do whatever they want, but with the Thunderbolts, there’s someone to be held responsible. One of the most uncomfortable things about superheroes is that they usually aren’t held responsible for the collateral damage they cause. Sure Batman and Spider-Man will feel sad a lot when they fail, but that’s not the same thing. This is one of the similarities between superheroes and cops can make comic books uncomfortable to read.

I don’t know yet if Thunderbolts has anything to say about that, but the premise alone has me thinking about it. Having Luke Cage as the mayor trying to hold this team and the city together makes me think this book should. Luke Cage has a history as a politically active character, so it would be a shame to not push the envelope with his new status quo.

America is flying towards the read while pulling Power man along.
While America’s coloring is better than it was before, the art for her isn’t great.

The action and the art of this issue are serviceable for the most part, but some characters fair better than others. While America is colored a bit better than she was in the preview, it’s not great. Then the action scenes for characters like America and Power Man, and villains like Electro and Abomination fall flat. These scenes don’t have exciting choreography, and the hits don’t carry a lot of energy. It’s very low-energy, which is strange for the heroes they on this team. Somehow, the mind-controller, Persuasion, is the most entertaining one to watch when she uses her powers.

This isn’t a perfect introduction to the Thunderbolts, but it’s a new take on the concept that’s worth giving a shot. Would you rather this be more like DC’s Suicide Squad, old Thunderbolts, or be a new thing? Let me know in the comments below.

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