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Thunderbolts #100

Posted: Saturday, March 11, 2006
By: Ray Tate



"The War At Home"

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

The Thunderbolts reaches issue one hundred. Because of Nicieza's revelations of practically every plot point raised in past issues, the story actually feels eventful, more so in fact than ICk and House of Mutantcakes.

Last issue, the T-Bolts looked to be facing certain doom as a former teammate attacked them at Kyle Richmond's ranch. This issue smartly resolves that cliffhanger, and the resolution feeds into the plot to show just how powerful is the wizard behind the T-Bolts' recent and past problems.

The true maestro behind the cacophony reveals himself to be a brilliant strategist. In fact he's far more cunning now than he has been in the past. He aims to save the world, and if you can believe him, he just may succeed. Every move he has made since the return of the T-Bolts makes sense, and the impetus behind this story cunningly expresses that the universe abhors perfection including the perfect plans of geniuses that may or may not be mad.

The chaotic element in T-Bolts leads to the death of a player. I cannot say that I will miss this character, but the character's fans, and I'm sure there are a few, should not feel too incensed. Nicieza like the best of Marvel's authors leaves a back door for the character's return. I heavily doubt the character will return in Thunderbolts, but if some other author needs him, he need only follow the breadcrumbs leading to the backdoor Nicieza thoughtfully provided.

Marvel never really relied upon a multiverse, and I think the recognition of that cosmology has led to their more canny writers installing back doors for their dead. Take David Anger for instance. In Iron Fist the character was practically cut in half by Colleen Wing. Having undergone years of surgery, which neatly explained his absence, he returned years later to bother Spider-Woman. In The Thunderbolts reprint included in this special issue, Anger is shot and killed, but was he? Zemo is after all telling the story, and Zemo's interpretation serves as the back door. What if he did not know all the facts? Maybe Anger received medical treatment immediately after being shot.

For now a character is dead. The character's death answers many questions and sets up the unification of the two teams on the cover, which will no doubt provide more friction and conflict. Nicieza though is not a by-the-numbers writer. True, his writing almost appears to be a manifestation of a mental checklist, but he also includes in this issue one helluva, jaw-dropping surprise. His dialogue--especially for Joystick--offers playful semantics. These assets in the writing combined with Tom Grummett's comprehension of anatomy and super-hero kinetics makes Thunderbolts a perfect super hero comic book with just the right balance of drama, mystery and kickass.

Note Thunderbolts costs a little more this week, but you are not paying for the reprinted issues. The main story is about forty pages long. The reprints are free, and the whole package is worth the time and money.



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