When it comes to some comic titles, there has to be some kind of gimmick so people will be interested. Thunderbolts is an example of that. The team has had a bunch of incarnations in the past, with the most popular being back in Dark Reign. Now Marvel has decided to unleash another T-Bolt title as part of their Marvel NOW initiative. But why would readers care? One of the points of NOW is for new readers to jump in, so why would they care for a title like this? I wasn’t interested myself until I saw the intriguing roster. Red Hulk, Punisher, Electra, Venom, and…Deadpool?! It’s just a crazy group of characters, it’s almost impossible not to be interested in seeing what this is about. I gave in, Marvel has succeeded greatly in making the perfect cast for the book. This first issue focuses as being a setup. A little disappointing, but I’ll be back next month.
Here’s the official description from Marvel:
Red Hulk, Venom, Elektra, Deadpool, the Punisher. Forget the courts, the jails, the system — this team of Thunderbolts fights fire with fire, targeting the most dangerous and lethal players in the Marvel Universe with extreme prejudice. Led by General “Thunderbolt” Ross, AKA the Red Hulk, this hand-picked team of like-minded operatives is going to make the world a better place…by all means necessary.
The story starts out with Punisher tied to a structure and someone talking in the background. This figure is revealed to be ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross (very clever Marvel) and he’s recruiting a few anti-heroes. Daniel Way handles the writing. I know him from his Ghost Rider run, which was fantastic. His writing here is pretty good. The real test is when all these characters will be together, since the dialogue here is mainly between Punisher and Ross. One of my favorite parts is when the latter talks about his past regarding the Hulk. After so many years of hunting the Green-Skinned Avenger down, it’s interesting to see him flashback and even regret it. Character development can go a long way with these things. Sadly this issue is just Ross going around and asking the characters to join something, so we don’t get any of the good stuff yet. We don’t even technically know the reason why he’s bringing them together. Next issue we’ll get some answers I assume.
Steve Dillon handles the art. I have no complaints in that department, it’s pretty standard. The covers are the highlight. The main one showcases the team against a white background with red being a primary color, it is by far one of the best covers I’ve seen out of Marvel NOW. The Skottie Young ‘Babies’ variant is in his usual fantastical style, good for a laugh. (Seriously, look it up, it’s funny.) Another variant is a highly detailed one showcasing Red Hulk, a great cover for fans of the character. The Hastings variant is a cool one showcasing the characters (ironically Venom is missing) having Symbiotes on them. The covers are all pretty strong.
Overall, not a bad setup issue of Thunderbolts. It was a little disappointing since technically not really much happened. I’m looking forward to seeing how the team interacts with each other, if Daniel Way can pull that off well, we’re going to have a pretty cool title on the shelves. This team looks to be the Black Ops of Marvel, which is fine with me. And the fact that this issue is just $2.99 helps. We shall see next month if the series delivers and becomes a title I can recommend.