Thunderbolts Issue 2 Review By Jerry W. Vandal
Bullets, Brawn and Bedlam
Written by Daniel Way
Pencils by Steve Dillon
Colors by Guru FX
Cover: Julian Totino Tedesco
“If you’re looking for options…you’re looking at the wrong guy,” Frank Castle stoically mouths off to Red Hulk after the crimson behemoth shrugs off the demand for him to release Venom with a simple , “or”. It’s a statement that sums up the make-up of this team. Venom, Elektra, Deadpool, Punisher and Red Hulk aren’t together to like one another or get along. They’re a group of individuals put together to get a job done. And that job involves leaving a rather large amount of blood behind them to seep into ground.
“No longer will large-scale aggression be ignored, or hidden, or condoned—it will be met in kind… and with overwhelming force,” is how Red Hulk describes the violence that is about to occur on Kata Jaya (an island off the coast of Madripoor) to some of its officials. It’s a statement about what this book is about—that being screw diplomacy. If you’re a bad guy doing bad things to your people—the Thunderbolts are going to be a black and red storm of mayhem.
Thunderbolts looks to be a great collaboration between Daniel Way and Steve Dillon and an interesting stint for the combination of these characters. I’ve always liked the concept of the Thunderbolts, but it’s never been a book that has made its way into my pull list. The combination of characters however resonated with me for some reason—perhaps my guilt of not picking up Venom on a monthly basis—perhaps the prospect of seeing Dillon draw Frank Castle again—perhaps the great job Way did on Deadpool. Perhaps, and most likely the great cover done by Tedesco. Looking at covers a few months back of the upcoming Marvel Now! books this one jumped out at me. If this team was comprised of Spot (who had an interesting role in Mark Waid’s last couple of issues on Daredevil), Captain Ultra, Squirrel Girl and Ant-Man Tedesco’s job on the issues first cover (and second) would have made me put in $3 to check this book out even though he is not on involved in the interiors.
Speaking of interior, Dillon’s artwork is a very clean style that somehow screams grit. The details in the lines around his eyes I think are what sell the hardened lives of so many of the characters in this book (and his run on Punisher with Jason Aaron). These guys look mean and not to be trifled with—considering the goal of this Thunderbolts cast, he’s a perfect artist to depict this crew of bruiser, stabbers and shooters.
And Daniel Way is proving to be a versatile writer. Thunderbolts is going to have more serious tones than his previous work on Deadpool. In issue two he’s already begun to establish that there’s some alpha male tension between the guys, sophomoric when dealing with Deadpool, while Elektra remained very quiet. Her quietness in this issue is fitting as she’s the assassin of the group. The other members are not really known for their covertness—but it’ll be interesting to see if Elektra’s role remains this way. Venom doesn’t like Deadpool. Deadpool, stops Elektra from taking off her wetsuit to focus on the job (apparently Wade can focus). Venom doesn’t care for Red Hulk’s silence about where their information is coming from. And Frank makes it very clear he is not afraid of the hulking Ross. So there’s lots of tension between the characters and that should make for interesting stories when these guys aren’t shooting and smashing stuff. And there’s plenty of action. Even Red Hulk’s declaration to the Kata Jaya officials, while in conversation had a rather large explosion to it.
And then there’s the cliff hanger. The reveal of where Red Hulk is getting his information about the dictators and countries he’s keeping an eye on. I’ll leave that bit out. I see the cover is out for issue 3, but don’t bother with a google search to check it out. Go pick up the first two issues. I think you’ll be surprised by a book that may slip through the cracks of your pull list. The first issue is a drawn out conversation between Ross and Castle with a page for each of the other Thunderbolts as they’re being included. Some mimes get shot by Deadpool, so if I’ve done a poor job of selling how good a book this is going to be, please check it out just for that. I will admit a little disappointment to in reading it, but only because I wanted to see this group together. And issue 2 does that really well and has me excited for what’s to come. It also made me appreciate the first issue more as Daniel Way tells a story. There’s going to be a lot of action. A lot of bullets. A lot of blood. But, I think as this book unfolds we’re going to end up with something more. That being a book about that says something about the time we’re in and the kind of brute force it might take to change that. I’m not advocating or dismissing the course. But I am looking forward to seeing how it plays out.