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New Thunderbolts #15

Posted: Monday, November 14, 2005
By: Tim Lamb



ďDoes Anyone Remember the Squadron Sinister?Ē

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artists: Rick Leonardi

Publisher: Marvel Comics


Plot: Something is afoot (pun intended) with the Thunderbolts' resident speedster and a building sub-plot with one of Marvelsí older and oft-forgotten super-teams (no, not the Champions!).

Comments: I love the Thunderbolts. I, like most readers, really enjoyed the original series and hated the "Fight Club Thunderbolts" Marvel tried to force on us a few years back. And, overall, Iíve enjoyed this new series taking things back to the drawing board. For the most part.

In this issue, Speed Demon, who had previously been revealed to being funding the team through less than honorable means, commits another score against a big company that he feels can stand the loss. and Spider-Man's comment last issue about his old foe's speed is correct.

The problem is, in true comics' fashion, Speed Demon does not rob just any old conglomerate. No, he robs Richmond Industries, run by Kyle Richmond, a.k.a. Nighthawk (given the issue's title and the fact that Nighthawk is right there on the cover, I hopefully am not spoiling anything for anyone). Now, Kyle figures out the score and wants his booty back. As you hopefully remember, Nighthawk began his career in the Squadron Sinister (hence, the title of the issue) and he actually shows his stuff well against a number of Thunderbolts. Admittedly, Iíve always loved Nighthawk and enjoyed his presence here more than I did most of the team. We also learn thereís more to Speed Demon's increase in speed than meets the eye. And, luckily, it appears he wonít be doing his best Barry Allen impersonation as the cover depicts.

There are assorted character bits involving the other Thunderbolts, and some are enjoyable. I have to be honest and say Iím no fan of what Nicieza is doing with Captain Marvel/Photon, but anyone who can make me like the Radioactive Man gets a little slack while other things play out. In fact, in regards to the Radioactive Man, Nicieza reminds us consistently that some of the old Silver Age villains Stan Lee created that were based on Cold War fears were not so much villainous but carrying out the agendas of their country. In other words, they do have their own form of honor and are not just hackneyed stereotypes.

Unfortunately, this version of Thunderbolts, while good, does not recapture the lightning in a bottle feel of the first series. To be fair, however, thereís no way anyone couldíve pulled off the shock readers felt reading the last page of the original Thunderbolts #1. Couple that with the fact that it appears some of these villains cum heroes arenít looking for redemption as much as they are an alibi. Again, though, it has a mostly interesting mix of characters (okay, Photon aside, Joystick does nothing for me yet) and a solid storytelling style. While it may not be the top of my pull list, itís FAR from being dropped.

What? You want to know about the art? Okay. One of the things I LOVE about this book is the art by Tom Grummett. In my opinion, he is one of the best and most often under acknowledged artists working today. Heís a draw for me. Absolutely a great comic book artist.

But, wait, whatís that I hear you say? ďHey, Tim, you tool! You talk about Grummett, but you said Rick Leonardi drew the issue at the top of the review! Get it together, newbie!Ē And, normally, youíd be right. But Rick Leonardi is our artist for this issue. This normally is a great thing. Rick Leonardi is also a great artist with a distinctive, crisp style. This is why this issue disappointed me in the art department. There were panels and yes, even pages, where Iíd be scanning for hints that Leonardi actually drew this to no avail. Iím sorry to say, the art in this issue only makes me miss Grummett more.

Final Word: Not a bad effort and not a bad lead-in to the second part. But, this book needs to deliver more in terms of story and impact if itís going to make up for a lack of big-name, A-list characters (and NO, that does not mean I want Wolverine on the team, Marvel!).



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