Archive for the ‘Charcoal’ Category

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 #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

Maximum Security #2 of 3

September 8, 2013

Maximum Security 2Kurt Busiek // Jerry Ordway
December 2000
**

The Reagan-era Captain America holds the line against criminal ET immigrants & uncovers a conspiracy by the great Kirby AI, the Kree Supreme Intelligence. A creative slant on alien invasion, tho’ a bit right-wing by design. Ordway echoes this conservativism, a throwback to dull early ’80s art.

continued in Avengers #35
last issue: Maximum Security #1 of 3
next issue: Maximum Security #3 of 3

also indexed for Dec. ’00
Avengers #35

Avengers #34

September 6, 2013

Avengers 34Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
November 2000
****

Pérez & Busiek put their all into GP’s swansong for an issue of old-school superheroics. An aristo aims to inundate the globe w/ “ionic energy”, killing millions & putting millions more under his control. Avengers & T-bolts can’t stop him, but his cracked daughter can. High stakes; deft dialogue; exuberant artwork; inspiring heroism; a huge cast: this arc exemplifies the duo’s superb Avengers run.

continued from Thunderbolts #44
continued in Maximum Security #1 of 3
last issue: Avengers #33
next issue: Avengers #35

also indexed for Nov. ’00
Thunderbolts #44
Maximum Security #1 of 3

Thunderbolts #44

September 5, 2013

Thunderbolts 44Fabian Nicieza // Mark Bagley
November 2000
***

Most of #44 exposits on the Avengers crossover (Count Nefaria has a classically baroque supervillain plan), while moving its various hammy subplots forward incrimentally. Fortunately, Bagley’s art looks better than ever due to new inker Adams, who emphasizes the ’90s manga-like physiques.

continued from Avengers #33
continued in Avengers #34
last issue: Thunderbolts #43
next issue: Thunderbolts #45

also indexed for Nov. ’00
Avengers #34
Maximum Security #1 of 3

Avengers #33

September 4, 2013

Avengers 33Kurt Busiek // George Pérez & Paul Ryan
October 2000
****

KB has rarely written 1st-person narration in his Av run, so it’s a surprise that he anchors this issue w/ a villainess’ internal monologue. But it effectively shows Mme. Masque’s struggle to overcome paranoia & trust the team. Atop GP’s layouts, Ryan’s touch of realism adds to her inner conflict.

continued from Thunderbolts #43
continued in Thunderbolts #44
last issue: Avengers #32
next issue: Avengers #34

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

Thunderbolts #43

September 3, 2013

Thunderbolts 43Fabian Nicieza // Mark Bagley
October 2000
***

The Black Widow drags the T-bolts into a crossover involving organized crime, Atlas, & the Avengers. It’s rather confusing, while the mag’s secrets—Fixer-as-Ogre, Scourge a’lurking, & general self-doubt—muddle the issue even more. But new inker Greg Adams augments Bagley’s cartoon impulses nicely.

continued from Avengers #32
continued in Avengers #33
last issue: Thunderbolts #42
next issue: Thunderbolts #44

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

Thunderbolts #42

August 31, 2013

Thunderbolts 42Fabian Nicieza // Mark Bagley
September 2000
**

Nicieza inches each plot forward a notch while pitching Atlas into an Avengers crossover. But his focus remains the soaping up of his cast: a rejected second chance for a butch-dyke supervillain; an internal monologue, midbrawl, for Dallas; & teasing secret IDs for Crimson Cowl & the Scourge.

continued in Avengers #32
last issue: Thunderbolts #41
next issue: Thunderbolts #43

also indexed for Sept. ’00
Avengers #32