The Devil’s Reign has ended, but someone still has to protect New York City. Your Major Spoilers review of Thunderbolts from Marvel Comics awaits!
Writer: Jim Zub
Artist: Sean Izaakse
Colorist: Java Tartaglia
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: August 31, 2022
Previously in Thunderbolts: In the aftermath of Devil’s Reign, the Big Apple has big problems, and it’s up to a new group of Thunderbolts to turn things around. But when Clint Barton gets tasked with heading up this team and proving they can go toe-to-toe with anything the Marvel Universe can throw at them, the first opponent he’s going to have to face is himself.
HAWKEYE’S BACK ON TOP!
After recent events left him on the outs with The Avengers, Clint Barton is hoping to get the band back together, but even Wonder Man isn’t interested in taking his calls. Fortunately, the newly minted mayor of New York City Luke Cage is in need of a leader for his new focus-grouped multicultural and perfectly balanced super-team. When The Kingpin’s enforcers (the last team to go by the name Thunderbolts) go wild in the city, Hawkeye and his team (Power Man, America Chavez, Persuasion, and Cable-esque man of mystery Gutzen Glory) are able to bring them down, but their teamwork is inexact, powers are on the fritz and millions of dollars in damages ensue. Worse than that, their bacon ends up being saved by Spectrum, Luke’s first pick for team leader, who turned him down.
Oh, and Hawkeye may be possessed?
THEN THE OTHER SHOE DROPS
There’s a lot going on in these pages, but the interesting thing for me is seeing the connections between team members: Monica and America were in The Ultimates together, Hawkeye and America were recently in the West Coast Avengers, while Power Man and Spectrum were part of Cage’s Mighty Avengers team. All of that is left by the wayside in the new era, though, as Kingpin literally passed a law stating that ONLY the Thunderbolts can operate in New York under the power of law. The art is really interesting, but there are moments of inconsistency throughout the story that make it a little confusing what’s going on in the issues. Izaakse’s female characters look really great, but a full-page shot of America and Power Man leaping into action is very oddly angled and somewhat off-putting. The final page cliffhanger also took a couple of re-reads to fully grok the visual language of what’s being prepared.
BOTTOM LINE: FEELS LIKE A LIMITED SERIES
The downside of Thunderbolts #1 is that it really FEELS like it’s expecting to be brief (and after so many recent team books like The Union, West Coast Avengers, and half a dozen others) and that seems to limit the storytelling potential of this limited series, but the art and story are good enough to pull a better-than-average 3 out of 5 stars overall. As much as I like this concept and line-up, I feel like we’re going to wrap up everything easily in five issues, with the characters all forgetting that it happened inside of a year.
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Once again, Marvel assembles a cool super-team with a secret (that being "Hawkeye is useless.") Still, it feels like a book that expects a short run.