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The New Thunderbolts #18

Posted: Friday, February 10, 2006
By: Ray Tate



"The Whole Hole"

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artists: Tom Grummett(p), Gary Erskine(i), Sotocolor's J. Brown(c)
Publisher: Marvel

Is there any possibility that Robert Kirkman is really the Fabian Nicieza of counter-earth? Or visa versa? This issue of The Thunderbolts is a grade a certified mess. It is however a fun mess, steeped with individual characterization, intriguing developments and rock solid artwork.

Baron Zemo's plans for saving the world from itself move along quite nicely with the revelation of just who it was Zemo's team rescued from the darkforce dimension--a kind of limbo, presumably from whence the darkforce ectoplasm manipulated by such characters as Darkstar and Cloak oozes. Since I gave you the names of those heroes, you can be certain that neither of them was Zemo's object d'rescue. Instead, the identity belongs to a loser villain.

Another loser villain joins Zemo's cadre of crusaders. This one goes all the back to an ancient issue of Marvel Team-Up and provides a little estrogen to balance out the testosterone of Abe Jenkins and Blizzard. Fixer I'm guessing runs on STP. The curtain opens on a major portion of Zemo's plan at the cliffhanger, and a bizarre potential future opens up and disturbs one of the Thunderbolts.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Kyle Richmond's ranch that is, the team has a war game. So long as they don't involve the power-drill torture and complete disregard for the Hippocratic Oath leading to the Spoilers death, war games are always fun, and Nicieza does a splendid job balancing the action in between the banter. Things go awry when the T-Bolts attempt to persuade Genis Mar-Vell to play.

Genis opens up the portals that suck everybody in, and Nicieza plays them for laughs and for possible foreshadowing. You don't really need to know what happened to the T-Bolts while they were within the portals. So, he doesn't tell you. They were gags, and they set up the best gag of the book:

"I can kill him if you want..."

Lovely, and yes, I am rather biased. I hate Genis Mar-Vell almost as much as I hate Hal Jordan, and that's saying a lot. I've hated Hal Jordan a long, long time.



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