It appears the Thunderbolts have taken on the duties Nick Fury did when he was the “man on the wall” but doing it via teamwork rather than solo. I enjoyed the first issue quite a bit. Now that we’re on to issue #2, we must ask the question: is it good?
Thunderbolts (2016) #2 (Marvel Comics)
So what’s it about? The official Marvel synopsis reads:
A group of reformed (are they reformed?) super criminals protect a facet of immense power while hunting down and destroying bizarre, mind-bending threats to the world — What could go wrong? A gut-wrenching battle for leadership; an alien threat; and the Thunderbolts caught red-handed by…well, read our pulse-pounding second issue and find out!
Why does this book matter?
If you read the synopsis above the “facet of immense power” is quite an intriguing element to this team and more than likely going to be a major element in future Marvel comics. There’s even a theory online that said power is the reason Captain America is a bad guy now. If that’s not reason enough to keep tabs on this series it’s also got some tight character writing and detailed art evocative of the 1990’s too.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Jim Zub is writing his butt off in this series, throwing in surprises completely unrelated to the events of the book (more on that later) which makes this a delight to read. The issue opens with a member of the team dealing with a hole in her chest and the team has to figure out how to patch her up. It quickly moves on from this to an all out alien invasion and finally an explanation for their mission too. Along the way characters interact in fun and interesting ways and there’s tons of action to be had. Sounds like a solid superhero comic right?
That’s not good.
Zub manages to instill some great dramatic beats too – like a cut away to some unsuspecting children – that heightens the most average of events. Take for instance a moment where Winter Soldier must decide what to do next. He thinks, then in the next panel thrusts his arm up and decides as the panel moves in a bit closer. It’s a dramatic beat that feels fresh and cinematic. This is of course partly thanks to Jon Malin’s art that sells the moment. There are many more scenes like this in this single issue.
Jon Malin continues to draw a mean comic too. I’m sure some won’t dig the art – it’s has a Salvador Larroca simplicity to it, but also a detail in faces like Rob Liefeld’s – but you can’t deny the layouts are to die for. The cinematic nature of the angles in each panel help sell the story and carry the action forward nicely. In a lot of ways this comic reads like storyboards to a movie and that’s a cool experience.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The book certainly has a 90’s vibe which some might find off putting. I’m also feeling as I did with the last issue that Mach-X isn’t getting enough character time as the others. So far he’s just a dude in a suit who can kill things. Much of the issue is action or reaction to Moonstone’s injury so the amount of character development drops here, but that’s fine seeing as this is an action superhero comic!
Make it so.
Is It Good?
This is about as much fun as an action-first superhero comic can get. It’s fun and incredibly cinematic comic book reading.