Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt #1

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Intriguing Beginning

I have limited exposure to Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt. I read a few of his DC appearances and have a copy of Peter Cannon… Thunderbolt #58 published by Modern Comics, a reprint which is an exact duplicate of the Charlton issue, but little else. That said, he was an interesting character and I always wondered what could be done with him in a different setting under the care of a really big name creative team. Now I’m finding out, and it is looking good so far.

PETER CANNON: THUNDERBOLT #1 is a look at a different sort of hero, and with a writer such as Kieron Gillen at the reigns, is sure to be an exciting adventure.

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Peter Cannon is… THUNDERBOLT!  The Earth is being invaded! A city destroyed! The greatest heroes the world has known turn to the one man who can help save them, but the question is, does Peter Cannon think this world is worth saving? Find out in PETER CANNON: THUNDERBOLT #1 from Dynamite Entertainment.

Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt #1PETER CANNON: THUNDERBOLT #1

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Caspar Wijngaard
Colors: Mary Safro
Letters: Massan Otsmane-Elhaou
Cover: Sean Phillips
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: January 30, 2019
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in PETER CANNON, THUNDERBOLT: The character of Thunderbolt has a history which starts back in 1966 when Charlton Comics published PETER CANNON…THUNDERBOLT #1.  Created by police officer Peter Morisi, it had a relatively short run, lasting only eleven issues. When Morisi left the title it, and the rest of the Charlton Action Heroes line was canceled. It ended up with DC Comics when that company bought the Charlton superheroes, and Alan Moore originally wanted him as part of a little story he was working on called Watchmen, but DC had other plans. Later, the rights reverted to Morisi and his estate has managed them since his death in 2003.  Dynamite Entertainment previously published the character in a ten-issue series a short while back.

THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY IS MY FRIEND

A city has been attacked by an alien force, and all those who inhabited it are now dead. The heroes of the world have gathered to combat the threat, but know that they are not enough, they need more. Pyrophorus, The Test, Baba Yaga, Nucleon and Supreme Justice have come to the home of the one many who may be able to help them find a way to defeat r defend against the invaders. They lay out their case before him and ask for his help. The result is unexpected disinterest.  Why should he, Peter Cannon, also known as Thunderbolt, use his abilities to save a world, a civilization, which he sees as corrupt and contemptible? The embodiment of American, Supreme Justice, attempts to strike out in frustration at Cannon, only to be subdued by the man with the power of mind over matter. As he holds one of the most powerful men on the planet helpless, he tells him the only thing which makes this civilization worth saving is it is formed by people. People who can change. He goes to consult with the ancient scrolls, the culmination of the works of everything his adopted people had learned. Those people, long dead after a plague took even Cannon’s parents, entrusted their works to Peter Cannon, and he has used them to become more than the sum of his parts. His friend Tabu tells the heroes this as they await his decision, will he help them or leave them to their fate? Cannon reappears, now garbed in the uniform of Thunderbolt. He tells the assembled heroes of America, China, and Russia that if they do exactly as he says, they may win. Otherwise, the Earth is doomed.

With his direction, will the heroes triumph or is it too late? And who is behind the invasion, and what will they do once they have been discovered?

A MIND IS A TERRIBLE THING TO WASTE

The character of Thunderbolt has a short but interesting history, one woven between four publishers and multiple writers. This writer, fan favorite Kieron Gillen (The Wicked + The Divine, Iron Man) takes the reigns of Peter Cannon and immediately dashes your preconception of what a hero is. Peer Cannon has no love for civilization, and he seems to harbor a resentment regarding the fact that an advanced and peace-loving people, the villagers of the monastery where he grew up and his parents, were taken away by death but so many other unworthy where left behind and continue to live. He seems to have a sort of “survivor syndrome”, and it is a character aspect which Gillen expertly grabs on to and uses to make you see how above it all he is. Despite the fact that the civilization is corrupt and not worth saving, the people who make up that civilization can change it, therefore making them worth saving. He has some great dialogue, and he expertly retells the origin of Thunderbolt in a short time, makes it pertinent to the story, and does it in a way that makes you feel for the character despite his obvious character flaw. While previous writers may have wanted to show you how hard it was to be “gifted” with his abilities, Gillen eschews that and just presents Cannon as he is, a man with opinions who is not going to submit to societal niceties just to make others comfortable. That rawness of character, combined with a major cliffhanger, makes this a book that stands out and promises to be an entertaining and thought-provoking.

Artist Caspar Wijngaard (Twisted Dark, Limbo) makes his skill know here, and it is pretty good. His figures flow nicely on the page, and there are some really good sequences, such as when Cannon takes down Supreme Justice, that get your attention, but it is not perfect. At some point he has such detailed backgrounds you want to go back and just examine them, and then in some panels there is little to nothing to help the design flow. It is good solid work though, and the overall feel works with the character.

BOTTOM LINE: INTRIGUING BEGINNING WITH A NICE SWERVE

I have limited exposure to Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt. I read a few of his DC appearances and have a copy of Peter Cannon… Thunderbolt #58 published by Modern Comics, a reprint which is an exact duplicate of the Charlton issue, but little else. That said, he was an interesting character and I always wondered what could be done with him in a different setting under the care of a really big name creative team. Now I’m finding out, and it is looking good so far.

PETER CANNON: THUNDERBOLT #1 is a look at a different sort of hero, and with a writer such as Kieron Gillen at the reigns, is sure to be an exciting adventure.


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Back in February of 2008, Stacy Baugher wrote his first article for Major Spoilers and started a solid run of work that would last for over two years. He wrote the first series of Comic Casting Couch articles as well as multiple Golden Age Hero Histories, reviews and commentaries. After taking a hiatus from all things fandom he has returned to the Major Spoilers fold. He can currently be found on his blog, www.stacybaugher.com , were he post progress on his fiction work as well as his photography and life in general, and on Twitter under the handle @stacybaugher . If you're of a mind, he also takes on all comers with the under the Xbox Live Gamertag, Lost Hours. He currently lives in Clinton, Mississippi with his understanding wife, and two kids.

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