Sometimes you just got to feel bad for some writers. Christos Gage came in to write the Thunderbolts after superstar Warren Ellis created a dark, character driven book filled with plenty of 1984-esque themes proven popular in the post Civil War Marvel. But after Warren Ellis’ departure, Christos Gage was brought in to write the Secret Invasion tie-in, taking the team of government controlled super villains , the Thunderbolts, from a great introspective series to a series filled with a lot of dead Skrulls. Now Gage is gone, and Andy Diggle has been brought on, and he is taking it back to the way things were with Ellis. But I feel bad for Gage, who was forced to write the intermission between two teams that may prove to be perfect for this series.
But Diggle is bringing the Thunderbolts back to what makes them work as a team and series, internal strife. If Ellis’ run was notable for anything, it was the fact the book could take place solely within the Thunderbolts base with them bickering and still be a great super hero comic book. So Diggle is following up on this notion, and very well. With the exception of the director of the Thunderbolts, Norman Osbourne, and his conference in Washington, the rest of the book takes place in and around Thunderbolts mountain with the cast of characters Ellis introduced, and they are all plotting against each other. It’s amazing and I don’t think this amount of internal strife and backstabbing could exist in any other book. In today’s comics, it’s what is done differently which gets attention and the Thunderbolts are different from other super hero based on membership alone. Diggle also has a feel for how these characters interact, nailing Moonstone’s manipulative psychological games and creating tension between the only two arguably decent people on the team, Radioactive Man and leader Songbird. But the fact that Diggle continually refers to the characters by their actual names over their code names displays his focus on what’s happening inside the Thunderbolts over what their doing outside, and this is where this series can stand apart and be decent.
Roberto De La Torre’s art is middle of the road. Nothing stands out as amazing, but nothing stands out as terrible either. It conveys what is going on, being fairly expressive when the mood calls for it, but much of the story is communicated through the words rather than the pictures. A prime example of this is the the scene between Moonstone and Penance, the man who caused the tragedy involved with Civil War. Penance has lines like “You must hate me” while his face is covered and for much of the rest of the scene he stays fairly static in look despite him going through a state of anger and confusion. But I must say, I absolutely love the cover for this comic book. The shattered glass and reflections of the main cast not only looks really good, but reflects a lot of what Diggle and De La Torre are doing inside.
7/10 Things are looking up for this series, drawing on the stories inherent in the very concept of the book.