Hey all, it's just going to be this one review tonight, as I've been struck down with a severe case of the “mehs”... What exactly is a case of the mehs you ask? That's when you're on vacation and you just don't really feel like doing anything... So yeah, it's just a case of the vacation doldrums. Vacation doldrums or not, I will have a new installment of Flashback Friday up tomorrow, but let me tell you in advance, it's probably going to be a brief post, since this week has been rather busy for me. With all of the activity at the beginning of this week, I just haven't had many opportunities to lounge around and read copious amounts of comic book back issues. But that's tomorrow, let's get to tonight's review first.
Thunderbolts #144: Writer: Jeff Parker. Pencils: Kev Walker.
Last Issue: 6 1/2 out of 10.
Review: We start this new era of the T Bolts off with Steve Rogers asking Luke Cage to take over the Thunderbolts program, since Luke knew what it was like to go from prison to super-heroics. After some hesitation, Luke agrees to do it... But come on, if the original Captain America asked me to leap off a cliff, I'd be looking for the nearest mountain! From there, Luke heads to the Raft, which is the primary prison for super-powered offenders. Luke meets up with original T Bolt Fixer, who introduces Luke to the Ghost, who is the first of Luke's new T Bolts. After talking to Ghost, Luke heads inside and meets up with Songbird(another former original T Bolt), and the two recruit another original T Bolt, Moonstone, to join Luke's team. Luke next heads down to the Ultra-Block, where the REAL powerful villains are held, and meets up with the Juggernaut. Luke isn't exactly keen about putting Juggy on the team, but after an impassioned plea from Prof. Xavier, Luke relents and offers Juggy a chance to make amends. Next up Luke heads to the cell of Crossbones(?!!?)and offers him a chance at being a T Bolt, which Crossbones gladly takes. Why Crossbones? Luke's advisors figured that Crossbones would be such a heinous person to place on the T Bolts, that most of the new T Bolts would gravitate away from Crossbones and towards Luke, which is what Luke's advisors wanted to see happen. From there, Luke meets up with original T Bolt Mach V, who takes Luke to Hank Pym. Pym then leads Luke to a room in the sub-basement of the Raft, where the Man-Thing was being held. Pym explains that Man-Thing would serve as the team's transportation, opening portals to wherever the T Bolts needed to go. After a quick meet and greet with Man-Thing, Luke gathers all of the other T Bolts and takes them outside of the Raft to run through some maneuvers. However, while Luke was mid-way through a speech to his new team, he is struck down by a large undersea craft. All of the new T Bolts watch surprised as the door to the craft opens up and former T Bolt's leader, Baron Zemo emerges and tells the T Bolts that he was offering them a chance to escape the Raft, so long as they pledged allegiance to him!
What I Thought: Not bad, not bad at all! This issue was going to go a LONG way in deciding whether or not I'd bother continuing with this series, or whether I'd be dropping it. After reading this comic, I can firmly state that I'll be sticking with T Bolts for the foreseeable future. I was... unsure about Luke Cage becoming the leader of this team, but thankfully Jeff seems like he'll be writing Luke more as the character from the old “Heroes for Hire” series(which I really liked), and not like the BENDIS-ized version of the character from “New Avengers”(which I didn't like). Being a huge fan of Juggernaut(maybe the ONLY good thing to come out of Chuck Austen's Uncanny X-Men run was the way he wrote Juggy), I was very pleased to see him join this team, and I REALLY hope this leads to Juggy returning to the side of the angels, because much like Riddler in the DCU, Juggy is a way more effective/interesting character as a hero type, as opposed to a common, ineffective villain. As for the other characters, I don't really like the addition of Crossbones, he's the type of character that could never reform, so why bother putting him on the T Bolts, although his inclusion WAS adequately explained. I like Moonstone, so she's a plus, and I have no feelings one way or the other for the Ghost or Man-Thing, so for the most part, I'm pretty happy with this version of the T Bolts. My one real gripe was with the end of this issue, with Baron Zemo... Now I KNOW Zemo switches sides more then just about any other comic book character, but I was under the impression that he was currently a hero(or at least an anti-hero), not a villain... Hopefully he's actually working with Luke and is only trying to see which of the new T Bolts would be willing to betray Luke, if not, I'm going to be a wee bit annoyed...
Score: 8 out of 10.Well, if nothing else, adding Crossbones to the mix will make things very interesting!