Daredevil #30

August 27, 2014

Daredevil 030Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
April 2002
****

DD’s secret ID is common knowledge in the underworld. It’s a smart development, but the real plot engine is Kingpin’s blindness, a weakness that leaves him open to a generational coup. Bendis’ chronology leapfrogs all over; that & excellently structured scenes disguise the slow pace of this arc.

last issue: Daredevil #29
next issue: Daredevil #31

also indexed for Apr. ’02
Alias #6
Avengers #51
New X-Men #123

Daredevil #29

August 26, 2014

Daredevil 029Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
March 2002
****

#29 spotlights a mob capo who wants a piece of the action & conspires to oust the Kingpin & kill Murdock for his shystering, which is hurting business. Bendis wears his cinema influences heavily, w/ Tarantino-style anecdotes & non-linear storytelling set atop a Scorcese setting of seedy NYC crime.

last issue: Daredevil #28
next issue: Daredevil #30

also indexed for Mar. ’02
Alias #5
Avengers #50
New X-Men #122

Daredevil #28

August 25, 2014

Daredevil 028Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
February 2002
****

This mag’s entry into Marvel’s all-silent month showcases Maleev’s talents. The mob has put a hit out on Matt M, which leads to his alter ego beating on assassins. AM’s photorealism uses panels cannily to show action & movement. BMB, however, relies on knowledge of DD’s backstory for full effect.

last issue: Daredevil #27
next issue: Daredevil #29

also indexed for Feb. ’02
Alias #4
Avengers #49
New X-Men #122

Daredevil #27

August 24, 2014

Daredevil 027Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
January 2002
*****

The mob action that surrounds the now-blind K’pin mimics the goomba lowlifes of The Sopranos; in another thread, a rookie cop panics & opens fire when he spies DD. The weird intrusion of a masked super-avenger into cop/crook tropes gives the mag a whole new layer of realism & archetypal power.

last issue: Daredevil #26
next issue: Daredevil #28

also indexed for Jan. ’02
Alias #3
Avengers #48
New X-Men #120

Daredevil #26

August 23, 2014

Daredevil 026Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
late December 2001
*****

Bendis & Maleev start their classic collab on DD by playing up the mag’s crime/justice theme. A supercharged criminal explodes at the NYC courthouse. In-story, it mirrors the Caesar-like assassination of the Kingpin. But the chaos also clearly & vividly echoes the 2001 attack on Lower Manhattan.

last issue: Daredevil #25
next issue: Daredevil #27

also indexed for Dec. ’01
Alias #2
Avengers #47
New X-Men #119

Daredevil #19

August 22, 2014

Daredevil 019Brian Michael Bendis // David Mack
August 2001
*****

This era saw some relatively radical comics from Marvel, & this arc is one of the most notable. Bendis intros his slant on violent crime–here, a kid traumatized by rescuing DD from his own supervillain father. But it’s Mack’s art, its complexity & expressionism, that finally makes the work great.

last issue: Daredevil #18
next issue: Daredevil #20

also indexed for Aug. ’01
Avengers #43
New X-Men #115

Daredevil #18

August 21, 2014

Daredevil 018Brian Michael Bendis // David Mack
July 2001
*****

This arc reads like a fill-in, partly because its action is concurrent w/ the Mack-written issues of ’99-’00. But also, the hero’s off-page and the fight’s over! Reporter Urich wants to know why the witness, a kid, has gone catatonic. His own Daredevil-related PTSD & history of trauma feels earned.

last issue: Daredevil #17
next issue: Daredevil #19

also indexed for Jul. ’01
Avengers #42
New X-Men #114

Daredevil #17

August 20, 2014

Daredevil 017Brian Michael Bendis // David Mack
June 2001
*****

Art this radical is nearly unknown in super-comics—maybe Sienkowicz or Dave McKeon. The writing’s not nearly as far out, tho’ it goes further than most masked-avenger stuff, echoing Miller’s grittiest issues. Its theme’s the fallout of costumed fights in the form of a supercriminal’s abused son.

last issue: Daredevil #16
next issue: Daredevil #18

also indexed for Jun. ’01
Avengers #41

Daredevil #16

August 19, 2014

Daredevil 016Brian Michael Bendis // David Mack
May 2001
*****

DD‘s newshound interviews a boy in a fugue of superhero fantasy. Bendis’ run, a high-water mark in the decade’s supercomics, begins auspiciously by retaining Mack to execute dizzying expressionistic art. He designs each page—each panel—as a unique unit & not as an invisible delivery for plot.

last issue: Daredevil #15
next issue: Daredevil #17

also indexed for May ’01
Avengers #40

Daredevil #15

August 18, 2014

Daredevil 015David Mack // David Ross
April 2001
***

The finale of this long-delayed arc wrong-foots the reader by skimming past DD’s skirmish w/ Echo to fill the Kingpin’s backstory out. Pity, since Echo’s the first truly interesting new character this mag has seen in ages. Ross closes for Joe Q, but what’s really missing is the hint of Mack’s style.

last issue: Daredevil #14
next issue: Daredevil #16

also indexed for Apr. ’01
Avengers #39

Daredevil #14

August 17, 2014

Daredevil 014David Mack // Joe Quesada with David Ross
March 2001
****

Thankfully, #13’s problems have retreated. A novelistic timeframe—months presumably—lets Foggy N. dismantle the Kingpin’s empire in montage, tho’ that makes the pacing of the Echo/DD plot wonky. Meanwhile, Quesada, now Marvel EiC, hands a few breakdowns to Ross, while Mack must have a hand too.

last issue: Daredevil #13
next issue: Daredevil #15

also indexed for Mar. ’01
Avengers #38

Daredevil #13

August 16, 2014

Daredevil 013David Mack // Joe Quesada
October 2000
**

Foggy tries to connect a client’s murder to Fisk while his partner seeks the witness, who in turn shoots & “kills” the acquitted Kingpin of Crime. Mack’s delays finally seem to catch up with him, as he squeezes about a year of plot into one issue. The trial scenes are particularly woolly & clichéd.

last issue: Daredevil #12
next issue: Daredevil #14

also indexed for Oct. ’00
Avengers #33
Maximum Security: Dangerous Planet #1 of 1
Thunderbolts #43

Daredevil #12

August 15, 2014

Daredevil 012Joe Quesada & Jimmy Palmiotti // Rob Haynes
June 2000
**

JQ & JP put their editor caps on for this better-than-average fill-in for a mag swamped by delays; Haynes offers a simple, light style. Set near the fight-scene of #11, the tale connects a trio of civilian stories though O. Henry-like sentiment, firearms, and a nod to divinely-guided coincidence.

last issue: Daredevil #11
next issue: Daredevil #13

also indexed for Jun. ’00
Avengers #29

Daredevil #11

August 14, 2014

Daredevil 011David Mack // Joe Quesada
May 2000
****

Ironically, the book’s massive delays help the rapid romance btw Matt & new foe Maya Lopez—only two issues ago, he was moping over longtime partner Karen’s death! Psychedelics suggest the blind/deaf couple’s synesthetic experience, art so entrancing it makes plausible the duo’s day-long date.

last issue: Daredevil #10
next issue: Daredevil #12

also indexed for May ’00
Avengers #28

Daredevil #10

August 13, 2014

Daredevil 010David Mack // Joe Quesada
March 2000
*****

Who’s the force behind this phenomenal work, indie artist Mack or Marvel insider Quesada? The lovely design serves to intro a compelling counterpart to Matt M: a Latina/American Indian, deaf, able to mimic actions perfectly, a potential hero whose super-origin is corrupted by K’pin’s intrigues.

last issue: Daredevil #9
next issue: Daredevil #11

also indexed for Mar. ’00
Avengers #26

Daredevil #9

August 12, 2014

Daredevil 009David Mack // Joe Quesada
December 1999
*****

Mack shows how conventional the previous arc was, by delivering beats in montage structure. In turn, the dramatic scenes act as breaks rather than as framework. He pushes Joe Q to new, Eisner-like heights of composition, each page a frame-free splash. Plotwise, Kingpin has a new pawn to ruin DD.

last issue: Daredevil #8
next issue: Daredevil #10

also indexed for Dec. ’99
Avengers #23
Thunderbolts #33

Daredevil #8

August 11, 2014

Daredevil 008Kevin Smith // Joe Quesada
June 1999
*****

Having revitalized DD by resetting it to the Born Again era, Smith writes a lovely denouement. His arc’s main defect has been its high body count; he counters the ’90s machismo w/ honest emotion. There’s a lovely confession/absolution from Spidey, & Black Widow calls Matt out on his misogyny.

last issue: Daredevil #7
next issue: Daredevil #9

also indexed for Jun. ’99
Avengers #17
Avengers Forever #7 of 12
Thunderbolts #27

Daredevil #7

August 10, 2014

Daredevil 007Kevin Smith // Joe Quesada
May 1999
****

An expository monologue from the mystery villain, Mysterio. In a sense, he’s Smith’s surrogate: a movie industry man, an interloper (from Spidey’s mag, in M’s case), manipulator of the plot. So it’s nicely neurotic that DD defeats him w/ a negative review! But why kill off a classic Ditko creation?

last issue: Daredevil #6
next issue: Daredevil #8

also indexed for May ’99
Avengers #16
Avengers Forever #6 of 12
Thunderbolts #26

Daredevil #6

August 9, 2014

Daredevil 006Kevin Smith // Joe Quesada
April 1999
***

A diptych. Half of #6 has DD angsting over his g’friend’s death; what stands out here isn’t the emo, it’s the 4×4 gridwork by Joe Q. The second half delivers a big action sequence. The hero climbs the baddie’s skyscraper lair, a video-game structure, lacking even the deathtraps of a Silver Age tale.

last issue: Daredevil #5
next issue: Daredevil #7

also indexed for Apr. ’99
Avengers #15
Avengers Forever #5 of 12
Thunderbolts #25

Daredevil #5

August 8, 2014

Daredevil 005Kevin Smith // Joe Quesada
March 1999
*****

Quesada turns out top-notch work, edging pages w/ nouveau-celtic designs & staging a classic DD/Bullseye match. Great script too, as Doc Strange summons the Marvel U’s devil for info on the false infant-messiah. A great issue, marred only by Smith’s “fridging” of longtime cast-member Karen Page.

last issue: Daredevil #4
next issue: Daredevil #6

also indexed for Mar. ’99
Avengers #14
Avengers Forever #4 of 12
Thunderbolts #24

Daredevil #4

August 7, 2014

Daredevil 004Kevin Smith // Joe Quesada
February 1999
****

Murdock, wounded & paranoid, recoups for a few days w/ his absentee mother, a nun. This soft reboot is dangerously close to becoming a pastiche of Born Again rather than a remix. What saves it is #4’s thematic focus on the hero’s dubious (& very Catholic) view of women as either mothers or sinners.

last issue: Daredevil #3
next issue: Daredevil #5

also indexed for Feb. ’99
Avengers #13
Avengers Forever #3 of 12
Thunderbolts #23

Daredevil #3

August 6, 2014

Daredevil 003Kevin Smith // Joe Quesada
January 1999
****

Echoes of Born Again as Matt’s life tears apart; here it’s due to an infant messiah, object of a war btw angels. Disappointing tho’, that Karen Page’s AIDS diagnosis is mystical & not an outgrowth of her past. Joe Q pencils the paragon of the ’90s manga-influence, using Doré woodcuts as backdrops!

last issue: Daredevil #2
next issue: Daredevil #4

also indexed for Jan. ’99
Avengers #12
Avengers Forever #2 of 12
Captain America/Citizen V Annual 1998
Thunderbolts #22

Thunderbolts #0

Daredevil #2

August 5, 2014

Daredevil 002Kevin Smith // Joe Quesada
December 1998
*****

DD has adopted an infant, product of a virgin birth & possible (anti-) messiah, hunted by murderous thugs & ostensible angels. Smith leans hard on his hero’s Catholic upbringing, testing Matt’s faith w/ one bad turn after another. In a final twist, ex-junkie, ex-GF Karen Page tells him she’s HIV+!

last issue: Daredevil #1
next issue: Daredevil #3

also indexed for Dec. ’98
Avengers #11
Avengers Forever #1 of 12
Thunderbolts #21

Daredevil #1

August 4, 2014

Daredevil 001Kevin Smith // Joe Quesada
November 1998
****

Maybe the strongest success (definitely the most popular one) of Marvel’s “soft” reboots after the moribund Image Era. Smith brings nerd-love AWA film experience & Hollywood caché, & delivers a v.g. script. But it’s future EiC Quesada who shines, w/ deceptively simple layouts & dynamic acrobatics.

last issue: Daredevil #380
next issue: Daredevil #2

also indexed for Nov. ’98
Avengers #10
Thunderbolts #20

Thunderbolts #121

August 3, 2014

Thunderbolts 121Warren Ellis // Mike Deodato
August 2008
***

The creative team stages a trad grand finale—punching, zapping, & quipping. Ellis, at least, has a touch of wit, but action is not Deodato’s forte. Still, the duo have established a v.g. status quo for this mag, by writing Songbird well &, even better, by casting Osborn as a neocon supervillain.

last issue: Thunderbolts #120
next issue: Thunderbolts #122

also indexed for Aug. ’08
Guardians of the Galaxy #2
The Immortal Iron Fist #16
Nova #14
Secret Invasion #3 of 8

Thunderbolts #120

August 2, 2014

Thunderbolts 120Warren Ellis // Mike Deodato
July 2008
****

A quartet of telepaths have lain waste to the psyches of this unbalanced team—a turn of events that’s sent Norm Osborne for his Green Goblin mask! His psychotic willingness to commit violence has deliberate echoes of Rumsfeld’s self-justifying rants, & he’s played (via photoref) by Tommy Lee Jones.

last issue: Thunderbolts #119
next issue: Thunderbolts #121

also indexed for Jul. ’08
Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1 of 1
Guardians of the Galaxy #1
The Immortal Iron Fist
 #15
Nova #13
Secret Invasion #2 of 8

Thunderbolts #119

August 1, 2014

Thunderbolts 119Warren Ellis // Mike Deodato
May 2008
***

The base is on lockdown: a super-jail whose prisoners incl a cell of telepaths w/ radical politics. Our title team is ripped by factions, as a Nazi aristo (Swordsman), attempts a coup w/ his suborned guard of redshirt soldiers. At the climax, he faces a monstrous Venom—staged as a St. George moment!

last issue: Thunderbolts #118
next issue: Thunderbolts #120

also indexed for May ’08
Annihilation: Conquest #5 of 6
The Immortal Iron Fist #13
Nova #11

Thunderbolts #118

July 31, 2014

Thunderbolts 118Warren Ellis // Mike Deodato
February 2008
***

A central part of Busiek’s original T-bolts, which Ellis has revived, is the sense that the status quo is unsustainable. The team starts to tear apart—but this is too soon, due to decompressed pacing. Ironically, the best moment has Songbird & Rad-Man cooperate to douse a flaming jet in its hanger.

last issue: Thunderbolts #117
next issue: Thunderbolts #119

also indexed for Feb. ’08
Annihilation: Conquest #2 of 6
The Immortal Iron Fist #12
Nova #9

Thunderbolts #117

July 30, 2014

Thunderbolts 117Warren Ellis // Mike Deodato
December 2007
***

Doc Samson takes the tough-love approach to a shrink session w/ castmember Speedball. The doc is Ellis’ surrogate in rehabilitating this broken character, once a goofball & now a super-masochist in an iron maiden! Deo often puts together dandy layouts, tho’ his photo-reffed actors are wooden.

last issue: Thunderbolts #116
next issue: Thunderbolts #118

also indexed for Dec. ’07
Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #4 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord #4 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #4 of 4
The Immortal Iron Fist #10
Nova #7

Thunderbolts #116

July 29, 2014

Thunderbolts 116Warren Ellis // Mike Deodato
October 2007
****

T-bolts effectively goes bimonthly for the rest of this revisionistic run. Ellis takes a ’90s-style strikeforce of black hats & uses it as a vehicle for W. Bush-era commentary. The dark side of the post-Civil War: a crackdown on civil rights, as the team’s base is an overcrowded black site prison.

last issue: Thunderbolts #115
next issue: Thunderbolts #117

also indexed for Oct. ’07
Astonishing X-Men #22
Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #2 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Star-Lord #2 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #2 of 4
The Immortal Iron Fist #8
Nova #5

Thunderbolts #115

July 28, 2014

Thunderbolts 115Warren Ellis // Mike Deodato
August 2007
***

The field op is a failure, although the T-bolts capture their man (a Spidey wannabe). A second exception: during the chaos, Songbird takes the opportunity to strike Bullseye from the team. Ellis works excellently in the moral shadows, but Deodato’s photo-referencing can make the actors seem stiff.

last issue: Thunderbolts #114
next issue: Thunderbolts #116

also indexed for Aug. ’07
Annihilation: Conquest: Prologue #1 of 1
The Immortal Iron Fist #7
Nova #3

Thunderbolts #114

July 27, 2014

Thunderbolts 114Warren Ellis // Mike Deodato
July 2007
***

A super-rumble in downtown Phoenix has a trio of ‘undocumented’ superheroes undaunted by the title team’s surprise attack. A slightly subpar issue, partly cuz it’s so decompressed. Deodato quits the grid layout to imply the dynamism of battle, but he loses a sense of space and slows the pacing.

last issue: Thunderbolts #113
next issue: Thunderbolts #115

also indexed for Jul. ’07
New Avengers: The Illuminati #3 of 5
The Immortal Iron Fist #6
Nova #2

Thunderbolts #113

July 26, 2014

Thunderbolts 113Warren Ellis // Mike Deodato
June 2007
****

Several subplots are converging on Phoenix AZ: a querulous strike team of psychopaths & a trio of naïve super-types just trying to avoid the Marvel überplot, a super-draft (AKA the Initiative) & do the right thing. Deodato’s faces are very expressive, due to painterly contouring by his colorist.

last issue: Thunderbolts #112
next issue: Thunderbolts #114

also indexed for Jun. ’07
The Immortal Iron Fist #5
Nova #1

Thunderbolts #112

July 25, 2014

Thunderbolts 112Warren Ellis // Mike Deodato
May 2007
****

The team’s a vivid array of luridly damaged psyches. Norman Osborne finally justifies his Clone-era resurrection, but it’s Moonstone & Songbird who stand out (as they had in Busiek’s T-bolts). The women butt heads over the leadership role in a scene out of a military briefing in the Iraqi Green Zone.

last issue: Thunderbolts #111
next issue: Thunderbolts #113

also indexed for May ’07
Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus #2 of 2
Astonishing X-Men #21
Civil War: The Confession #1 of 1

Thunderbolts #111

July 24, 2014

Thunderbolts 111Warren Ellis // Mike Deodato
April 2007
****

Norm Osborne, on antipsychotics, leads a federal team of superconvicts. Here, they arrest one of Captain America’s protégés with extreme force & revolting machismo. This new take on the T-bolts does what Civil War didn’t: use a superhero idiom to take a timely stand against domestic policing.

last issue: Thunderbolts #110
next issue: Thunderbolts #112

also indexed for Apr. ’07
Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus #1 of 2
The Immortal Iron Fist #4

Thunderbolts #110

July 23, 2014

Thunderbolts 110Warren Ellis // Mike Deodato
March 2007
****

A marquee creative team revamps this mag superbly. In Ellis’ hands, the T-bolts are a variation on Suicide Squad, but w/ a strong satiric take on his übermenschen in The Authority as informed by Homeland Security. Deodato, in the cinematic mode-of-the-monent, has the virtue of being a very good DP.

last issue: Thunderbolts #109
next issue: Thunderbolts #111

also indexed for Mar. ’07
Annihilation #6 of 6
New Avengers: Illuminati #2 of 5
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #12

Thunderbolts #33

July 22, 2014

Thunderbolts 033Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
December 1999
****

Busiek’s swansong recounts Jolt’s trauma during the Onslaught attack—no surprises yet. His real interest is in a techno-oddball right out of Astro City: a pudgy, scruffy recluse who’s lurked in a mountain base since X-Men #28, thru several changes of ownership, & now accepts T-bolts membership.

last issue: Thunderbolts #32
next issue: Thunderbolts #34

also indexed for Dec. ’99
Avengers #23

Thunderbolts #32

July 21, 2014

Thunderbolts 032Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
November 1999
***

An aristo-fascist conspiracy airs the ol’ gladiator trope. Like so much of this mag, both in writing & art, it’s well-crafted convention—but compare this melée of zaps & thunks to Kirby’s original (a killer roller-derby)! Thru it all, I’m still not a Bagley fan: his style is pretty, but he never surprises me.

last issue: Thunderbolts #31
next issue: Thunderbolts #33

also indexed for Nov. ’99
Avengers #22
Avengers Forever #11 of 12

Thunderbolts #31

July 20, 2014

Thunderbolts 031Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
October 1999
***

Encyclopedic Busiek goes all-out on the Roy Thomas Approach, tying a quasi-fascist conspiracy from Kirby’s ’70s Cap to Englehart’s Secret Empire. Like Bag’s art, the tale’s fun but generic, lacking the political conviction of those earlier writers; these are simply heavies trying to conquer America.

last issue: Thunderbolts #30
next issue: Thunderbolts #32

also indexed for Oct. ’99
Avengers #21
Avengers Forever #10 of #12 

Thunderbolts #30

July 19, 2014

Thunderbolts 030Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
September 1999
***

After Graviton falls into an alt dimension, he’s recruited by a hooded figure. From the new base’s labyrinth of corridors, another secretive shadow overhauls the T-bolts’ sky-jalopy. Then there’s the still-unknown IDs of Citizen V & Crimson C… This gambit rarely ends in a satisfying reveal.

last issue: Thunderbolts #29
next issue: Thunderbolts #31

also indexed for Sept. ’99
Avengers #20

Thunderbolts #29

July 18, 2014

Thunderbolts 029Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
August 1999
****

One flaw of T-bolts is its chirpy fan-girl sidekick, now joined by a 2nd superteen. W/ their teammates captured, it’s up to them to save the day. But one strength of T-bolts is its team dynamic, such that other scenes showcase more vivid characters—like Moonstone, sniggering at Graviton’s clichéd goals.

last issue: Thunderbolts #28
next issue: Thunderbolts #30

also indexed for Aug. ’99
Avengers #19
Avengers Forever #9 of 12

Thunderbolts #28

July 17, 2014

Thunderbolts 028Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
July 1999
***

Graviton returns, leading a floating island of flying pirates over San F! Busiek has an aptitude for megalomaniac plans! He & Bagley also have a great sense of pacing, staging tight scenes of clear motivation. And when they break the one-off issue rhythm w/ a cliffhanger, it helps show the stakes.

last issue: Thunderbolts #27
next issue: Thunderbolts #29

also indexed for Jul. ’99
Avengers #18
Avengers #0
Avengers Annual 1999
Avengers Forever #8 of 12

Thunderbolts #27

July 16, 2014

Thunderbolts 027Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
June 1999
***

This ish compares the title team to the West Coast Avengers & then the Champions (the ’70s poster kids for generic superteams). To underscore the tribute, ex-Champ Archangel guest-stars as a visitor to the new secret base in the Rockies. Subplots simmer as well, w/ each char getting a moment.

last issue: Thunderbolts #26
next issue: Thunderbolts #28

also indexed for Jun. ’99
Avengers #17
Avengers Forever #7 of 12

Thunderbolts #26

July 15, 2014

Thunderbolts 026Kurt Busiek & Joe Casey // Mark Bagley & Leonardo Manco
May 1999
****

Having earned a rest, Busiek & Bagley hand the reins over to Casey & Manco for a doozy of a fill-in. #26 goes into a super-prison, where Mach-1 quells a riot. Its approach is an homage to Astro City, w/ a realistic, hard-boiled perspective & gloomy style augmented nicely by echoes of Windsor-Smith.

last issue: Thunderbolts #25
next issue: Thunderbolts #27

also indexed for May ’99
Avengers #16
Avengers Forever #6 of 12

Thunderbolts #25

July 14, 2014

Thunderbolts 025Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
April 1999
***

The second anniversary ish serves as climax to T-bolts‘ second act: a brawl w/ 25 super-goons! Moonstone has been the mag’s protag, & ever since her regicide, she’s provided it w/ plenty of character. #25 fills in her backstory (a childhood of class resentment & manipulation) as she weighs betraying her team to usurp the megalomaniac plan of Crimson Cowl, femme leader of the Masters of Evil.

last issue: Thunderbolts #25
next issue: Thunderbolts #26

also indexed for Apr. ’99
Avengers #15
Avengers Forever #5 of 12

Thunderbolts #24

July 13, 2014

Thunderbolts 024Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
March 1999
***

The T-bolts save Kansan bystanders from their turf war w/ the Masters of Evil, who possess a Kirbytech weather device. Busiek’s focus, however, is devising a détente w/ the new Citizen V, a sort of female Batman, who gets a stern lesson in heroics from Hawkeye after her earlier work w/ Captain A.

last issue: Thunderbolts #23
next issue: Thunderbolts #25

also indexed for Mar. ’99
Avengers #14
Avengers Forever #4 of 12

Thunderbolts #23

July 12, 2014

Thunderbolts 023Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
February 1999
****

As Mach-1 turns himself in, an industrialist funds an armored team (& Bagley co-creation) to capture the T-bolts, led by a wannabe Cap. Since Hawkeye joined, this mag has found its swing! KB & MB juggle a huge cast using trad methods like 2×3 grids, bright 2D chars, & a constant shift in status quo.

last issue: Thunderbolts #22
next issue: Thunderbolts #24
see also Avengers #12

also indexed for Feb. ’99
Avengers #13
Avengers Forever #3 of 12

Thunderbolts #0

July 11, 2014

Thunderbolts 000Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
January 1999
***

The team faces a hit-squad of armored baddies, & bolster their bona fides. Though this non-sequential issue was done special for Wizard magazine, it fits cleanly btw T-bolts #22 and Avengers #12. It also demos what makes the mag appealing: a neo-classical sense of superheroics in art & in writing.

see also Thunderbolts #22

also indexed for Jan. ’99
Avengers #12
Avengers Forever #2 of 12
Captain America/Citizen V Annual ’98
Thunderbolts #22

Captain America/Citizen V Annual ’98

July 10, 2014

Captain America & Citizen V annual '98Kurt Busiek, Karl Kesel, & Barbara Kesel // Mark Bagley
January 1999
***

Marvel’s ’98 annuals are team-ups: here it’s Captain A on a mission from the T-bolts mag. Backstory: in his plan for world domination, Baron Zemo had impersonated the grandkid of Citizen V, a WW2-era supersoldier. Now the true grandchild (& her back-up team) works w/ Cap to stop Baron Z from launching a super-rocket. Props to Bagley, who pencils a whole annual w/o stinting on style or setting!

continued from Thunderbolts #22
continued in Thunderbolts #23
see also Thunderbolts #0

also indexed for Jan. ’99
Avengers #12
Avengers Forever #2 of 12
Thunderbolts #22
Thunderbolts #0

Thunderbolts #22

July 9, 2014

Thunderbolts 022Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
January 1999
****

Finally addressing the cast’s criminal acts, #22 turns the cape-comics trick of making fisticuffs an allegory for internal conflicts. Mach-1, who once killed a man, considers jail as a gesture of good faith; meanwhile, Atlas trades blows w/ Hercules, who he’d incapacitated in a classic Avengers arc.

continued in Captain America/Citizen V Annual ’98
last issue: Thunderbolts #21
next issue: Thunderbolts #23
see also Thunderbolts #0

also indexed for Jan. ’99
Avengers #12
Avengers Forever #2 of 12
Captain America/Citizen V Annual ’98
Thunderbolts #0

 


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