Archive for the ‘Fixer’ Category

Captain America #608: Bucky Barnes

October 10, 2015

Captain America 608A-story: Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
September 2010
A-story: ****

Bucky’s caught in a media storm when his secret ID as Cap & his history as the Winter Soldier get leaked. The defamation is by Baron Zemo, a clever supervillain w/ several classic schemes already. He’s a worthy foe for Bucky, and this rivalry could be stretched from an arc into an epic.

B-story: Rikki Barnes
last issue: Captain America #607
next issue: Captain America #609

also indexed for Sept. ’10
Captain America #608: Bucky Barnes
Fantastic Four #581
Steve Rogers: Super Soldier #1 of 4
The Thanos Imperative #2 of 6
Young Avengers #1

Captain America #606: Bucky Barnes

October 6, 2015

Captain America 606A-story: Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
July 2010
A-story: ***

I like this hero’s twisted psyche: less a deathwish than a pain-as-penance hang-up. But the arc’s elsewhere: Baron Zemo learns Cap’s secret ID! As the hooded son of the Nazi who’d “killed” Bucky in WW2, he’s a natural enemy to test our hero’s mettle. This has potential to revive the flagging run.

B-story: Rikki Barnes
last issue: Captain America #605
next issue: Captain America #607

also indexed for Jul. ’10
The Fantastic Four #579
The Marvels Project #8 of 8
Secret Avengers #1
The Thanos Imperative: Ignition #1 of 1

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 #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

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 #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 #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 #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 #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 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 #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

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