Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thunderbolts: Violent Rejection TPB

With this trade, Jeff Parker just became a "must-read" author for me.

I've got a stack of trades up to my knees, so I accidentally grabbed the wrong Thunderbolts trade. I skipped Shadowland and came straight to this one. I wanted to put it down and read them in order, but I found myself so immediately wrapped up in this story, I couldn't go back.

Parker has picked up the Thunderbolts/Suicide Squad concept and is now adding to the genre with every story. This trade is chock full of super-hero goodness. An alternate-reality Superman (Hyperion) joins the team to fight off gigantic Godzilla-based monsters. Dr. Strange shows up to help Luke Cage get some magic might on the team by strong-arming Satana. Best of all, the whole "back-up squad" idea gets a nice push as Songbird and Fixer put together a new group of villains to be ready to step up to the prime time group.

Really, the list of characters involved is all I need to be sold on this comic. Cage, USAgent, Mach V, Songbird, Fixer, Juggernaut, Moonstone, Ghost, Troll, Shocker, Mr. Hyde, Boomerang, I could go on and on. And Man-Thing! If he's not one of the best 70's characters ever, I don't know who is (especially the way Parker writes him). If you love the Marvel universe, this comic is for you.

As you'd expect, in addition to the greater plot-lines like lost Teutonic castles and monsters, the interpersonal stuff is wonderful too. Moonstone is plotting and scheming. USAgent intimidates everyone he talks to. Cage is walking that line between inspiring and forcing his team to be heroes. This is great stuff.

Kev Walker and Declan Shalvey share artistic duties, and they nail it. Walker's art is always striking, but he does a better job than I remember with the interpersonal stuff too; I love the scene when Satana tries to seduce her new teammates. (There is a well-placed word balloon to keep Moonstone's introduction from getting too titillating.)


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