Marvel Comics 2016
Written by Jim Zub
Illustrated by Jon Malin
Lettered by VC’s Joe Sabino
The Thunderbolts were bad guys pretending to be good guys...until some of them realized they actually like being good guys. But their checkered pasts landed them in Pleasant Hill, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s reality-bending super prison. Buck broke them out on the condition that they help him with his mission. Bucky also rescued Kobik, the sentient Cosmic Cube who powered Pleasant Hill. Of course, caring for a little girl with unlimited power is all fun and games until someone gets their moonstone ripped out……
I’m a huge fan of Jim’s work and his ability to tell a story. I’m thrilled that he’s taking on this group and after two issues it’s surprising me how much Bucky not only fits in with these characters but isn’t shabby as a leader either. Last issue we left off with Karla mouthing off, as per usual, and wanting leadership of the team when Kobik ripped out her moonstone.
I think the shock of what happened was incredibly wonderfully written. That this omnipotent little girl acts before thinking is a typical response at that age and yet the consequences are much more dire because of her power levels. It’s also an interesting look at a few things, Bucky’s ability to play daddy to Kobik and that Karla will absolutely never change, thank Ra! Still this leads into the issue’s all out action.
I think that the dynamic between Bucky and Karla is incredibly well done. He wants to think, strategize and gather intel while she really is a brawler, shoot first ask later. If and when they find a balance in being able to communicate and work together it’ll be interesting to see how effective the team can then be. Mind you I am in no way shape or form suggesting a relationship, physical or otherwise here! We all know he has questionable judgement and she’d do it to undermine and manipulate him so no going there please it’s more interesting this way.
Seeing the team in action this issue made me so happy. Over the years they’ve really become something of a stalwart team of misfits that can get into your system. Sure a few have graduated to the big leagues as it were but there is so much potential with this group right here. Fixer and Atlas are great characters one just wants to do stuff the other is so moldable it isn’t funny. Just the team dynamic here is better person per person than anything other Marvel team book on stands. This isn’t built by some formula it’s organic and naturally done. That makes them unique at the moment and much more interesting.
May I make a suggestion regarding the interiors. I think Jon shouldn’t try to do so much here. I feel like there’s a disconnect between pages as styles don’t match up, at times it’s JrJr doing Image (which is a huge turn off for me) at other times is just Image and occasionally it looks original. Perhaps just pencils or pencils and inks, something to free up time for him so it looks more cohesive. There is some really nice work here and some questionable choices and I think too much in a short amount of time is the key factor in that. I think it would benefit in the flow of the story through pages, panels and stronger backgrounds. I do see potential and good things don’t get me wrong but it’s just too all over the place at the moment.
I’m a huge fan of the Marvel books that don’t fit the norms and this is one of them. It’s nice to see Jim getting a chance to bring this team back to the limelight!