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

 

Thunderbolts #21

July 8, 2014

Thunderbolts 021Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
December 1998
****

Hawkeye’s new role as the T-bolts’ captain lends legitimacy to the team, & also makes formal this mag’s position as the beta Avengers. It even reinvigorates the mag’s heel-face dynamic after a slow six months. And #21 spends time on Songbird’s motivations, filling her personality out nicely.

last issue: Thunderbolts #20
next issue: Thunderbolts #22

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

Thunderbolts #20

July 7, 2014

Thunderbolts 020Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
November 1998
***

A confrontation w/ the new, for-profit Masters of Evil ends in stalemate as Moonstone’s egotism interferes with victory. Mostly the ish is a knockabout melee btw two superteams—Busiek’s in his element, & Bagley does fine too—but the issue’s heart is a post-mortem debate about needing new leadership…

last issue: Thunderbolts #19
next issue: Thunderbolts #21

also indexed for nov. ’98
Avengers #10

Thunderbolts #19

July 6, 2014

Thunderbolts 019Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
October 1998
**

As the cover announces, #19 intros the winner of Wizard Mag’s “create-a-villain” contest. Maybe that’s why the ish feels like padding, as the T-bolts emancipate a mountain town from generic super-troopers. Of course, KB & MB provide solid craftsmanship, but they don’t move the plot forward from #18.

last issue: Thunderbolts #18
next issue: Thunderbolts #20

also indexed for Oct. ’98
Avengers #9

Thunderbolts #18

July 5, 2014

Thunderbolts 018Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
September 1998
***

With morale low, the T-bolts are bested by the poseur Masters of Evil, who then offer them a job (incl a pension!). The twists and moral jeopardies keep surprising me—it’s a clever iteration of Stan Lee’s trope of heroes accused. Also nice: Bagley has shed some of his more outmoded ’90s tics.

last issue: Thunderbolts #17
next issue: Thunderbolts #19

also indexed for Sept. ’98
Avengers #8

Thunderbolts #17

July 4, 2014

Thunderbolts 017Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
August 1998
****

A powerful Avengers foe is defeated when Moonstone convinces him to think through his vague plans for world domination. Meanwhile, Baron Z is bested by the “true” Citizen V! Busiek toys w/ & undercuts classic supervillainy, but he obv loves them, both in convention & (as w/ Moonstone) in the breach.

last issue: Thunderbolts #16
next issue: Thunderbolts #18

also indexed for Aug. ’98
Avengers #7
Avengers/Squadron Supreme Annual 1998

Thunderbolts #16

July 3, 2014

Thunderbolts 016Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
July 1998
**

The T-bolts easily defeat a team of D-listers, the Great Lakes Avengers—a lost opportunity to balance the book’s soapy adventure with real comedy. For the first time, the mag actually feels rote, even as it gets usurped by Busiek’s Avengers as the core of the Marvel Rebirth, post-Image & -bankruptcy.

last issue: Thunderbolts #15
next issue: Thunderbolts #17

also indexed for Jul. ’98
Avengers #6

Thunderbolts #15

July 2, 2014

Thunderbolts 015Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
June 1998
***

After a top-notch pair of arcs, a new status quo for this morally ambiguous superteam. The T-bolts hide out west, on the run from SHIELD while they try to clear their reps. Busiek focuses again on Moonstone (AKA Meteorite), whose ego-driven schemes provide the strongest engine for conflict & fun.

last issue: Thunderbolts #14
next issue: Thunderbolts #16

also indexed for Jun. ’98
Avengers #5

Thunderbolts #14

July 1, 2014

Thunderbolts 014Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
May 1998
****

Some time-kinked plotting links an alien planet (of barbarian bug-men!) to a future invasion by Kang the Conqueror & to the proportionate powers of Hank Pym & other growing men. The upshot is, to return her team to Earth, Moonstone commits regicide! Slippery moral qualms point the mag forward.

last issue: Thunderbolts #13
next issue: Thunderbolts #15

also indexed for May ’98
Avengers #4

Thunderbolts #13

June 30, 2014

Thunderbolts 013Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
April 1998
****

Bagley finally wins me over (for the moment, at least) w/ his strong environments—from NYC to a space station to, here, an alien world out of a pulp novel. The T-bolts get zapped to a planet ruled by barbarian bug-people! The alt dimension’s linked to Atlas’ growth powers via long-term continuity.

last issue: Thunderbolts #12
next issue: Thunderbolts #14

also indexed for Apr. ’98
Avengers #3

Thunderbolts #12

June 29, 2014

Thunderbolts 012Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
March 1998
****

This mag executes its climax perfectly, albeit predictably. Via mind-ray & modem, Zemo rules the world from his sentient orbital satellite (AKA T-bolt Techno). But his onetime team helps Iron Man stage a coup (the old Marvel heroes v. heroes), then surrenders to face trial! MB’s late-’90s art still isn’t my taste, but it complements KB’s massive cast & retro superheroism perfectly.

last issue: Thunderbolts #11
next issue: Thunderbolts #13

also indexed for Mar. ’98
Avengers #2

Thunderbolts #11

June 28, 2014

Thunderbolts 011Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
February 1998
***

The team finally fractures as their leader takes over the world via mind-rays from an orbital satellite—classic comic-book stuff, but none of it hinges on their false IDs. Still, Busiek shows a clear aptitude for the megalomaniac character, & Bagley is fashionable yet bright & energetic in tone.

last issue: Thunderbolts #10
next issue: Thunderbolts #12

also indexed for Feb. ’98
Avengers #1

Thunderbolts #10

June 27, 2014

Thunderbolts 010Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
January 1998
****

The team’s true IDs are exposed, earlier than readers or characters expected—’cept for Baron Z, who outs them as an abusive ploy. How evil! The plot devo coincides w/ the true Avs’ return (from a mid-’90s Image-y continuity reboot). It signals a true climax to a long plot, rare in comics.

last issue: Thunderbolts #9
next issue: Thunderbolts #11

Thunderbolts #9

June 26, 2014

Thunderbolts 009Roger Stern with Kurt Busiek // Ron Frenz with Mark Bagley
December 1997
*****

On fill-in duty, Stern & Frenz execute a pitch-perfect pastiche of the Lee/Heck Avengers—down to 2×3 grid—showing how that team’s second wave were heroic despite public mistrust. It’s framed (by Black Widow) as a tale of redemption, & draws a canny comparison btw the T-bolts & the underdog Avs.

last issue: Thunderbolts #8
next issue: Thunderbolts #10

Thunderbolts #8

June 25, 2014

Thunderbolts 008Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern // Mark Bagley
November 1997
****

The first T-bolts story to last more than one ish ends w/ the mag’s best since #1. The team fends off a set of monsters menacing NYC, winning adulation & SHIELD access. But what’s esp great is how it delves into the psyche of Songbird, codependent & unconfident till now, when she must act alone.

last issue: Thunderbolts #7
next issue: Thunderbolts #9

Thunderbolts #7

June 24, 2014

Thunderbolts 007Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern // Jeff Johnson
October 1997
***

Who misses Bagley? His sub does fine w/ a more realistic, equally fashionable style. Also a help on plotting is R. Stern, who wrote maybe the best Masters of Evil tale. Then, Zemo nearly killed the Avengers; now, he lets his team get captured & possibly killed by a periodic table of monster-men.

last issue: Thunderbolts #6
next issue: Thunderbolts #8

Thunderbolts #6

June 23, 2014

Thunderbolts 006Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
September 1997
***

Embracing their role as Avengers surrogates, the T-bolts perform the archetypal super-feat of rescuing a crashing plane (Bag’s best sequence so far). Readers wondering how long the mag’s conceit can sustain itself will enjoy Baron Z’s petulant refusal to protect NYC until he gets SHIELD clearance.

last issue: Thunderbolts #5
next issue: Thunderbolts #7

Thunderbolts #5

June 22, 2014

Thunderbolts 005Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
August 1997
***

An iteration of the trope—more FF than Avengers—where the team, minding their own business in NYC, gets attacked by supervillains. As conventional as this mag is, its style’s of a piece: a sunny throwback, w/ just enough reminders of the heroes’ latent villainy to point superteam mags forward.

continued from Thunderbolts Annual ’97
last issue: Thunderbolts #4
next issue: Thunderbolts #6

Thunderbolts Annual ’97

June 21, 2014

Thunderbolts Annual 1Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley, Gene Colan, Tom Grummett, Chris Marrinan, Bob McLeod, George Pérez, Ron Randall, & Darick Robertson
July 1997
**

Cashing in on a hit, Marvel requests an annual after 5 issues! Busiek recounts the Baron’s recruitment drive, a backstage approach (a la Astro City) to the usual teambuilding formula. Not as strong as the similar #-1 issue—the circumstances add little texture. The exception’s Songbird, whose super-Bonnie & Clyde scenario has a small-time scope & genuine emo. DD fans will enjoy Colan’s pages.

continued from Thunderbolts #4
continued in Thunderbolts #5
next issue: Captain America/Citizen V Annual ’98

also indexed for Jul. ’97
Thunderbolts #-1
Thunderbolts #4

Thunderbolts #4

June 20, 2014

Thunderbolts 004Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
July 1997
***

Moonstone, a shrink & the most duplicitous of the rogues, schemes by encouraging her captain to adopt a team mascot (an orphan mutated by a Kirby mad scientist). The superteam dynamic recalls Squadron Supreme, channeling a fondness for genre tropes into a playful but earnest deconstruction.

continued in Thunderbolts Annual ’97
last issue: Thunderbolts #-1
next issue: Thunderbolts #5

also indexed for Jul. ’97
Thunderbolts #5
Thunderbolts Annual ’97

Thunderbolts #-1

June 19, 2014

Thunderbolts -001Kurt Busiek // Steve Epting
July 1997
***

I’m not an Epting fan, but inked by Wiacek here, he’s A1. Ish #-1 is one of those ’90s gimmicks, showing the criminal genesis of its protags. It’s formulaic, except for (a) Songbird, fleeing an abusive dad, & (b) Zemo, whose father relates how he strangled the WW2 Cit V w/ bare hands!

last issue: Thunderbolts #3
next issue: Thunderbolts #4

also indexed for Jul. ’97
Thunderbolts #4
Thunderbolts Annual ’97

Thunderbolts #3

June 18, 2014

Thunderbolts 003Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
June 1997
***

KB pits the title team—the true Masters of Evil—against a pretender to the name. Fortunately, one of KB’s strengths is his skill w/ team dynamics. MB’s springy dynamism & doll-like bodies synthesizes manga’s mannered physiques w/ Image’s baroque brawn, a mid-’90s style done better by Joes Q & M.

continued from Spider-Man Team-Up #7
last issue: Thunderbolts #2
next issue: Thunderbolts #-1

also indexed for Jun. ’97
Spider-Man Team-Up #7

Spider-Man Team-Up #7

June 17, 2014

Spider-Man Team-Up 1Kurt Busiek // Sal Buscema
June 1997
***

Team-Up ties in tightly to T’bolts, & adds a clever flip to the old Marvel Misunderstanding. Here the “good” guys sock Spidey partly at the city’s behest but also cuz T’bolt Mach-1 is really the Beetle, out for payback! Sal B’s solid as ever, perfect for Busiek’s subversion of superheroism.

last issue: Spider-Man Team-Up #6
continued from Thunderbolts #2
continued in Thunderbolts #3

also indexed for Jun. ’97
Thunderbolts #3

Thunderbolts #2

June 16, 2014

Thunderbolts 002Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
May 1997
****

Baron Zemo’s clever plan to insinuate his two-faced team into the Avengers’ vacant slot is already working; his deputy wonders if they’ll prefer honest celebrity to criminal success. Busiek fills out the personalities a bit (& starts adding soap), which’ll help sustain this premise in the medium term.

last issue: Thunderbolts #1
next issue: Thunderbolts #3

Thunderbolts #1

June 15, 2014

Thunderbolts 001Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
April 1997
*****

Lives up to its rep as a key issue of ’90s superheroics. W/ the “daylight” heroes dead & NYC in ruins after an inane X-Men/Avengers crossover, a new team of unknown superheroes become media darlings for their earnest, old-school approach to do-goodery. But their secret is, they’re really neferious villains! The brill twist on the superteam trope clarifies yet ironizes the era’s antihero morality.

next issue: Thunderbolts #2

Annihilation: Earthfall #4 of 4

June 14, 2014

Annihilators - Earthfall 4 of 4A-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tan Eng Huat
B-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Timothy Green II
February 2012
A-story: ** // B-story: **

Avengers & Annihilators (terrible name) foil an invasion of Earth by linking alien tech somehow. The vague plot & fumbling art brings to a sad end this v.g. six-year run. At least the ‘coon & the tree, holdovers from the run’s brighter era, get to blast off into the sunset.

last issue: Annihilation: Earthfall #3 of 4

also indexed for Feb. ’12
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #8 of 9
The Fantastic Four #601
FF #13

Annihilators: Earthfall #3 of 4

June 13, 2014

Annihilators - Earthfall 3 of 4A-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tan Eng Huat
B-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Timothy Green II
January 2012
A-story: *** // B-story: ***

A cosmic boy-antichrist has installed himself, Midwich Cuckoo-like, in millions of minds; among the heroes, only the Kirby tyrant has the balls to zap the innocent & save the galaxy! Meanwhile, DnA burlesque the editorial interference of the SF line via a monstrous, meddling TV exec from ’80s X-comics.

last issue: Annihilators: Earthfall #2 of 4
next issue: Annihilators: Earthfall #4 of 4

also indexed for Jan. ’12
The Fantastic Four #600
FF #12

Annihilators: Earthfall #2 of 4

June 12, 2014

Annihilators - Earthfall 2 of 4A-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tan Eng Huat
B-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Timothy Green II
December 2011
A-story: * // B-story: **

The dutiful Marvel misunderstanding, wherein our team of galactic heroes mix it w/ the Avengers. Huat detracts from that formula by staging combat as H’wood-style demolitions, w/o context or finesse. In the back-up, however, Green imaginatively & attractively offers Flash Gordon-type fun.

last issue: Annihilators: Earthfall #1 of 4
next issue: Annihilators: Earthfall #3 of 4

also indexed for Dec. ’11
FF #10
FF #11

Annihilators: Earthfall #1 of 4

June 11, 2014

Annihilators - Earthfall 1 of 4A-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tan Eng Huat
B-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Timothy Green II
September 2011
A-story: ** // B-story: ***

DnA phone in their swansong on Marvel’s SF renaissance. The galactic super-squad discovers a fundamentalist space-sect’s outpost on Earth. Huat draws an awkward, rubber-faced variation on Marvel house style. Worse, RR & Groot, demoted to true back-up status, get only a few pages for a bar brawl.

continued from Annihilators #4 of 4
next issue: Annihilators: Earthfall #2 of 4

also indexed for Sept. ’11
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #7 of 9
FF #9

Annihilators #4 of 4

June 10, 2014

Annihilators 4 of 4A-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Tan Eng Huat
B-story: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Timothy Green II
August 2011
A-story: *** // B-story: ***

A team of forest animals stop a disembodied telepath from escaping from their biotech lunatic asylum! The idea’s treated just tongue-in-cheek enough, while the art nails the absurdity w/ a smart, contempo style. The title team, meanwhile, brokers a peace btw longtime Marvel antags the Spaceknights & the Dire Wraiths, in a quality demo of cosmic compassion triumphing over violent solutions.

last issue: Annihilators #3 of 4
continued in Annilators: Earthfall #1 of 4

also indexed for Aug. ’11
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #6 of 9
FF #5


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