Thunderbolts continues to hold a unique place in the Marvel Universe, while every series tries to differentiate itself from other series just like it, the Thunderbolts occupies a surprising niche of drama more than action. The internal strife of the team is something taking this series from what is was during Secret Invasion to something more like what Warren Ellis was achieving just after Civil War. Now, as this series heads into Dark Reign, which has the head of the Thunderbolts, Norman “The Green Goblin” Osbourne, as a major character, it may prove to be one of the better stories Marvel has to offer.
The Thunderbolts internal drama is really what sets it apart. While most team orientated super hero titles do have a focus on the inner workings of the team, none have a group of super villains trying to kill each other as the primary members. While the issue is a blatant advertisement for the upcoming Dark Reign event, the last line of the book is “A Dark Reign is coming and yet we each have our part to play in it,” it doesn’t actually pass off as too much to swallow. Probably more than most other books, this series has an excuse for being severely affected by the Dark Reign event. Writer Andy Diggle works well with the very little wiggle room he has probably been given. Norman Osbourne is never physically present in the series, only possibly on a radio, but the team is destroyed just fine with him working from the outside. The issue is action packed with many of the villains trying very hard to kill Songbird, who tries her hardest not to die. The issue does end with the team being having a fairly dramatic roster change and pruning, and sets up for being an important part of the Dark Reign event. So nows a good time to jump in if you haven’t been reading Thunderbolts.
Artist Roberto de la Torre’s style is reminiscent of Mike Deodato who drew this series during Warren Ellis’ run, but with much less photo referencing of major celebrities. One thing which stood out for me this issue was his camera angles. The panels each take advantage of very extreme angles. His shot-reverse shot dialogues even take a more extreme look. The conversation between Bullseye and Moonstone employs a shot-reverse shot but the reverse shot is at a steep angle looking down which allows for a different but effective perspective of the discussion. He employs these angles in the action sequences as well, which come across as security camera angles at times, which works well during scenes where this perspective would be expected as characters try to escape each other. De la Torre’s works well in this series so far, being able to employ different techniques to add drama and suspense to the scenarios.
7.5/10 A fairly unique read within Marvel, very good art.