Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thunderbolts: Cage TPB

It's hard to review this book fairly. Jeff Parker has combined two great concepts, the original Thunderbolts and the Suicide Squad, so it's not surprising that I dig the book. The line-up is a neat amalgam too. Mach V, Fixer, Moonstone, and Songbird all show up from the original Thunderbolts. The Ghost is hanging around from the Dark Reign era. Crossbones, Man-Thing, and the Juggernaut round out the team, with US Agent serving as warden of the team's prison base (The Raft). Of course, Luke Cage is the leader of the new team, playing up his early appearances as a wrongfully imprisoned man who ended up a hero.

This is Cage's book. He drives the action, he's the team leader, and he makes all the tough calls. What's great about this Cage is that it FEELS like Power Man. This isn't the domesticated gentleman who often appears in New Avengers. Cage has his old Power Man swagger back when he leads these criminals into danger.

Jeff Parker has great character moments with most of the team. Songbird is justifiably annoyed at Moonstone's fifth or sixth chance, until Cage reads Songbird's psyche profile. And Crossbones. That guy is just tremendous. You have to work to be as big a jerk as the man who shot Captain America.

I've liked Kev Walker's art in the past, but I'm not sure he's the right fit for this book. Everyone is blocky and looks like they walked out of a British 80's comic. I think someone with a bit more mainstream look might work better (unless Death's Head is showing up soon).



KlownKrusty said...

I found this ran out of steam after about three issues, or perhaps I just ran out of patience. I want to like Jeff Parker's writing but I get tired of his cliffhangers that don't mean anything ([SPOILER]= Hey, it's not Baron Zemo, it was just a practical joke!) and stories that seem to be there just to meander towards another fight scene.

What exactly is this collection of issues about? Luke Cage is the new leader of the Thunderbolts who are semi-reformed criminals - but do they actually have any real motivation or assignments, or is it all just a load of infighting for the sake of it?

I like Parker's version of Cage, he is, as you say, very much the Power Man of old. And I love Kev Walker's designs. But the book didn't seem to be going anywhere after three issues.

Timbotron said...

I definitely see your point, this first cluster of issues doesn't really hold together as any kind of greater story. There's no long-term goal for the book, and that's something I hope gets addressed in the next trade.

elnino14 said...

This was a book I dropped at the Siege Arc (which I never read) but I read this volume at a Bookstore recently. I had never been interested in T-bolts before the Ellis came on board and filled the team with mostly sociopaths. I found the concept unique and I loved the dark humor.

Diggles run followed a similar line but paled in comparison, while they were all evil, they mainly functioned as Osborn's black-ops team. They lost a lot of the characters to dark avengers or to the function of story and it was a serious downgrade but still interesting. Plus Diggle wraps up Ellis' arc nicely in two issues (probably the best two issues of his run).

But this arc continues the D-list characters (outside of Luke Cage) and it's kind of a really bad mix of pre and post-Civil War T-bolts. It doesn't really work. It was boring, and it didn't seem like they actually were for anything. So yeah, I don't approve of Parker's Bolts.