Archive for the ‘Dallas Riordan’ Category

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

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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 #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 #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

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 #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 #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
Quicksilver #10

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
Avengers/Squadron Supreme Annual 1998

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 #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 #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 #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 #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 fromThunderbolts #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

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