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Lightning in a Bottle: Nick Spencer's T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #1-4
By Dan Horn

Mar 10, 2011 - 10:51

Publisher(s): DC Comics
Writer(s): Nick Spencer
Penciller(s): Cafu
Inker(s): Bit
Colourist(s): Santiago Arcas
Letterer(s): Swands
$3.99 / 40 Pages


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Something that I always find interesting is a reboot of an old, almost forgotten series that takes on an independent life of its own. With T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, Nick Spencer is deftly leaving his own indelible mark on this super-team of doomed anti-heroes. Part homage and part revisionist recommencement, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents has the makings of a book that will one day be looked back on as fondly as Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol or Animal Man. That's not to say that Spencer's Agents is anything like Morrison's surreal work, only that this is perhaps the defining iteration of the book so many decades after its inception.

DC has a stable of great young books right now, and by "young" I mean that most of them have yet to see a fiftieth issue, or a thirtieth for that matter. Secret Six, Batgirl, Azrael, Gotham City Sirens, Superboy, just to name a few, are all fantastic and relative newcomers to the monthly comic book racks. Yet one book in particular really stands out immediately, and that is T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, perhaps one of the best books you can pick up right now.

The story is thus far a mix of super-powered espionage, riddled with twists and intrigue, but what really makes T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents superb are the character studies. Nick Spencer has turned this series into one big mystery accompanied by a flashback reel (it's really not unlike the television series LOST, now that I think of it) that scrutinizes the somewhat suicidal impetus that drives people from different walks of life to join a team that will ultimately see them dead, either in the field or at the flip of a killswitch.

The series is a great conspiracy thriller, and Spencer keeps you guessing throughout each chapter. Who is the inside man? Why is NoMAN back with the Agents? When will Lightning actually die if he keeps running in his quantum suit? The complex, compounded deceptions and ruses keep the pages turning. I hardly have time to enjoy CAFU's incredible artwork as I burn through each issue, trying to get to the next imminent reveal.

This a great time to jump on board with T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents if you're able to round up the first four issues. It's only going to get better from here on out.

A quick side note: Nick Spencer recently announced a new deal with Marvel that makes him somewhat exclusive from here on out. I say "somewhat" because fans of Spencer's Image work like Morning Glories and his DC work like T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents need not worry about this new contract getting in the way of the writer's prior engagements. Nick Spencer will still be scribing both of the aforementioned titles as well as spending a little more time with Marvel books like Iron Man 2.0 and Secret Avengers, both of which sound very promising.



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