Just a Quickie: Thunderbolts [Faith in Monsters, Caged Angels]

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One of the many titles that I was introduced to while reading Civil War, was Thunderbolts. Written now by Warren Ellis with pencils by Mike Deodato Jr., the title is becoming one of my favorites to read. A quickie review follows…

Civil War had a tremendous impact on the team, making them a government sanctioned team that exist to track down unregistered superheroes. So far, the team has met with the likes of Steel Spider, Sepulchre, American Eagle and Jack Flagg. What makes this title so genius, is that despite these guys being targets of the protagonists, you learn to love these 3rd and 4th rate characters that by all means we shouldn’t care about. They make you feel for the underdog, and most importantly, they make these characters BADASS.

There’s awesome fighting sequences with all these guys, including an incredible American Eagle vs. Bullseye fight, and a nasty ending to the Steel Spider vs. ALL fight, that made Steel Spider a complete badass. Warren Ellis has a knack for making you care about these characters, and also the knack for writing a damn fine yarn: Thunderbolts is GOING to shit, and while reading it, you wonder how long the run can last with all the shit he’s pulling. Norman Osborne, the director of the Thunderbolts, is great. I really didn’t like the idea of bringing Norman back in the first place, but this is a new way of portraying Osborn. It’s not the Green Goblin we’re dealing with (yet), and I like that.

Everything is crumbling. The team chemistry sucks, predictably (Bullseye, Venom, Penance, Swordsman, Moonstone, Radioactive Man and Songbird make up the squad), and the antics between the characters is another strong point. You really feel for Songbird, who has the leadership qualities the team needs, but Norman tabs Moonstone, the most manipulative bitch on Earth, instead. Venom (aka Mac Gargan aka Scorpion) isn’t as boring as I’d have thought. Ellis pulls no punches writing Venom, as he shouldn’t. Penance, who had a really great mini series come out a couple years ago, is also a welcome addition. Some people don’t like what they’ve done to Speedball, but um, who cares about Speedball? I love how he was the impetus for the Civil War, and his penance is to wear a costume with 610 spikes on it (for every person he inadvertently helped kill). It’s fucked up, and I love it. Every character has their motives, and every issue is packed with humor, fun, action, much violence and political commentaries. Why on Earth does the government work with these people? Why indeed.

And lastly: Mike Deodato Jr.’s art is incredible. It’s the best I’ve seen him do. I haven’t read a helluva lot drawn by him, but I always felt like he was a little overrated, but that’s until I read Faith in Monsters and Caged Angels. His pencils are fantastic, dark and gritty. He draws every characters flawlessly. Also: I love how he made Norman Osborne a spitting image of Tommy Lee Jones (MAKE A TBOLTS MOVIE).

I haven’t read any of the original Thunderbolts, which is a travesty, but I really enjoy this title and it’s certainly easy to read, despite not knowing the history. It’s one of the better things Marvel has to offer, and I like its balance: you don’t have to read anything else to enjoy it, but it’s also not completely separate from the rest of the Marvel Universe. Check it out, guys (and do so by either getting the Faith in Monsters trade, or you can pick up Caged Angels part 1 which is issue 116)!

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3 Responses to “Just a Quickie: Thunderbolts [Faith in Monsters, Caged Angels]”

  1. gokitalo Says:

    Penance, who had a really great mini series come out a couple years ago, is also a welcome addition.

    I don’t remember that mini, although I do know he’s got a mini going on now.

    Thunderbolts is one of those titles I’ve heard both lovahs and hatahs of what Marvel’s doing right now have enjoyed. I haven’t checked it out yet, but Marvel’s pretty great with trades.

  2. spiffyithaca Says:

    What mini series is going on now? I know Jenkins and Gulacy did Penance: Relentless, which came out after Civil War, and is the one I read. It was sweet: he went after Nitro in Latveria and fought Doom.

    Definitely take a look at the Faith in Monsters trade. I read it in hardcover, and it was glorious. I think David said he was going to give it a try, or consider it, so you can wait on his thoughts, since he’s a old T-Bolts fan and more picky than me on what they’ve done to the team.

  3. gokitalo Says:

    Penance: Relentless actually came out this year, dude. The last issue came out this March:
    http://www.marvel.com/catalog/?id=8132

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