Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Four-color Fiend: It was bound to happen

Since I've been sucked into the whole SECRET INVASION story at Marvel I have picked up just about every issue of any title that seemed to be tied into SI. I have to admit that I have been happily surprised to find that I enjoyed every issue I read. Oh, sure there were some that stood out from the others and might be titles I continue to purchase after the last Skrull has been revealed.

Still I guess it was inevitable that I would finally come upon a book that I didn't particularly like.
Unfortunately, it just happened to be THUNDERBOLTS #122, one of the last Marvel titles I was still buying before I dropped comics completely for a while. Created by Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley, the team was comprised of Marvel villains under the leadership of Baron Zemo, who pretended to be heroes in order to secretly gain power. As things went along, some of the members (now working under different code names) actually began to believe they could be like the heroes they formerly fought. While not entirely original, the book under Busiek was interesting and well written. He and Bagley turned a group of second & third-string baddies into characters we cared about. When the writing chores were turned over to Fabian Nicieza he continued to put the characters through changes, including bringing in former Avenger (and also one-time villain) Hawkeye to lead the team. An ill advised change in the book (keeping the title but making it about super-powered wrestlers) didn't last long and Niceiza returned with the NEW THUNDERBOLTS, making the book again something worth reading.

I haven't picked up an issue of the title in the past year, since starting to read comics again, but have read reviews (or rather pans) of what has been going on in the title during this time. Instead of trusting far wiser reviewers that the book wasn't very good I decided to take a chance. Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...wrong!

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This issue of T-bolts is listed as a SECRET INVASION tie-in, but unless you really pay attention to a couple of panels (always the check the eye color of characters in the SI books) you'll not understand why. Of course, the appearance of Captain Marvel (or rather the Skrull who thinks he is CM) in the last few pages might count if you know his back story.

Basically, you have an unlikable group of characters only two of which, as far as I can tell, were part of the old T-bolt team with which I was familiar. The team is managed/lead by Norman Osborne (sociopath, abusive father and murderer) who was formerly the Green Goblin, members include original team member Moonstone (manipulative, uba-b*tch and possibly a murderess), Venom (human encased in the symbiote costume formerly worn by Spider-Man and a multiple murderer & cannibal), Radioactive Man (not the cool Bongo Comic character, but a third-string Thor villain, created by the 'Red' Chinese government back in those good ol' Cold War era), Swordsman (who assumed the name of a one time villain, later Avenger and is apparently the son of Baron Strucker an old time Sgt. Fury villain and former Nazi; this guy appears to have an odd relationship with his late sister who he hoped to have cloned and who seemingly shows up during the issue {again note her eyes}), Penance (formerly the Steve Ditko hero called Speedball, who feels responsible for a the destruction of a city and the death of thousands of civilians, which more or less led to the events of "Civil War"), and finally, Songbird (also an original T-bolt, former villain and the only non-murderer as far as I can tell). Except for this last character, I couldn't find a single T-bolt likable and frankly all she does this issue is complain and confront Moonstone over who runs the T-bolts when they are in action.

Blah! Unrepentant characters, half of which should be serving time in prison, if not sentenced to death for their deeds. This is what the U.S. government with aide by fascist d*ckhead Tony Stark has brought together to confront actual heroes who have not registered.
Buying this was a mistake that I'm not going to make again.
(Thanks to Wikipedia, with link in the headline for giving me a lot of this information)
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