Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt #5
An amazing use story and executed so masterfully it should have people talking for years to come.
Peter Cannon has traveled across the dimensions to find a way to defeat the one enemy which he has never before fully, physically faced, himself. When it becomes clear that there is no real way to defeat one’s self, what is the only option? Maybe just to give you what you want? PETER CANNON: THUNDERBOLT #5 is in stores now!
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Art: Caspar Wujngaard
Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Color: Mary Safro
Cover: Kevin Wada
Alternate Covers: Pauline Ganucheau, Caspar Wungaard
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: May 29th, 2019
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in PETER CANNON: THUNDERBOLT: Peter Cannon and the heroes of his world have been attacked by alien beings from another dimension. When it is discovered the mastermind of the attack is none other than the Peter Cannon of another Multiverse, this Peter uses his understanding of Formality to take himself and his fellow heroes to the home dimension of the evil Thunderbolt. It does not go well. With thirty years more experience, Thunderbolt makes short work of the heroes, leaving Peter with little choice than to jump to another multiverse and look for help. Landing in a black and white world with no superheroes, he must uncover a way to defeat an older, more experienced version of himself or stand by while all of everything is wiped out. But the world with no superheroes gives him more than he could have expected, and he leaves that world armed with new resolve.
EVIL OR JUST MISUNDERSTOOD?
Peter Cannon crosses over the multiverse armed with a new knowledge which Pete Cannon, and his normal, everyday friends, in a world with no superheroes, taught him. He takes with him not only knowledge, but a new way of looking at things. He only hopes it is enough to defeat his older and merciless self. As he walks the halls of Thunderbolt’s home and headquarters he comes across Tabu, or at least this world’s Tabu. At some point in the past, this Tabu tried to escape what Thunderbolt had become and was stopped by being placed in a metallic, sentient robotic form. He still feels for Peter Cannon the way he feels for Thunderbolt. Peter Cannon is the man Thunderbolt once was. That love, and possibly the hope for something better, leads him to reveal the alien control room to Cannon. Thunderbolt guesses Peter Cannon’s next move and is there to stop him, but Peter offers another solution. If he stops the attack on the dimension without superheroes, he will share the secret of travel between dimensions. Thunderbolt accepts and with a snap of his gold gloves fingers stops the assault. Watching the monitors, Peter sees Pete, still at the pub called The Clock. Pete raises a glass to him, acknowledging all is well. The people believe the vanishing aliens was all a hoax.
Peter Cannon holds up his end of the bargain, giving Thunderbolt the secret of travel. Suddenly a monologue appears an artifact from the other dimension. Peter tells his older self to watch and learn, but Thunderbolt believes he has all the information he needs. What follows is a fight between a man and himself to know his better, with a conclusion that must be seen to be believed.
HE’S NOT EVIL, HE’S JUST WRITTEN THAT WAY.
I reviewed the first issue of this series several months back and must say, with this fifth issue I did not see what was coming. With this five-part story entitled “Watch” Kieron Gillen has given us an entry into comics that must be read to be understood. The whole story pays homage to so much, from the original Thunderbolt series to the Watchmen, even with some allusions to Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art”. I have to say that after binging all five issues, I had to set back for a moment and digest it. There are aspects of the writing that play with the idea of how we convey the average story and work themselves into a commentary on how you actually read and view comics. It is not an essay on how to write a unique and different story, it is a working example of what can be done when you take the theories and techniques of a story and actually give them to the character to apply within his own world.
I’m not sure that makes sense, but it feels right as I type it.
The art is wonderful as well. Caspar Wujngaard (Angelic, Tabatha) should be commended, not only for his excellent art, but also for being able to translate Gillen’s script. There is heavy use of the nine-panel layout, and after a few pages you do not even notice, it just works because his art flows so effortlessly across the pages. Even when the panels are not specifically marked, the nine-panel format cast its own shadow in the layout of the characters and their surroundings. It is all solid, well done, and engaging. Do not get me wrong, this is not a fourth wall breaking title. This is a character using the ideas of comic book design, the Formalism of comics, and applying them to his own world. Wujngaard applies it perfectly, and it makes for great comics.
Again, I’m not sure my description makes sense, but it feels right as I type it.
BOTTOM LINE: WHOA.
On an individual basis, this is a great story by a great creative team. It is excellent entertainment and you will enjoy it. There are some moments that will catch you off guard and make you happy for it. Then there are other moments where you wonder if it really will turn out all right. There is death, romance, a renewal, and second chances abound. Also, it has one of the single most amazing uses of the nine-panel format I have seen on the page.
PETER CANNON: THUNDERBOLT #5 is a satisfying conclusion to a thrilling story which may make you look at the art of storytelling differently.