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Review Group Week 271 - Thunderbolts #156

Written by Niam Suggitt on Wednesday, July 27 2011 and posted in Reviews

This week's it's the Thunderbolts, nebulous villains turned heroes turned villains to anti-heroes turned anti-villains turned heroes turned villains again fun.


The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse's News Stand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate.

This week's pick is Thunderbolts #156, Luke Cage! Man-Thing! Songbird! Moonstone! Boomera- what the?


Sadly this is a book that took a casuality the last time I whittled down my weekly pull lists. I had planned at the time to just pick up the trades when they came available but I forgot.

Anyways I can see the book has really gotten its footing since I last picked it up. Parker writes these characters very well and I really appreciate how the work together at this point. The inclusion of Satana was pretty funny as well. The interviews which were interspersed through out the story were also interesting, I like all of the villains (that I knew) which they showcased and would love to see each of them join the team, though I doubt it will happen.

The art however is what turned me off of the book initially. I just do not care for the style, especially song birds hair. I know it is well done, but it is just not for me.



Final tally: 7 (not an average you doofuses)


Love this book.

Parker is a fun writer. He gets the 616 and loves these characters. It shows.Walker/'s art continues to grow on me.

I give the story an 8 and the Art a 7. We'll call it an 8 overall.

John Snow

This comic was seriously flat. The status quo of the book was easy enough to pick up on, but it was devoid of any action, drama, intrigue or humor that was in any way captivating to me as a new reader. There were a lot of characters in it that I have an affection for (Why is Songbird's Screaming Mimi hair back?) but within the current concept of the book there doesn't seem to be enough space to actually develop their ongoing stories in a fulfilling way.

The art was adequate for a book filled with C-List characters, much like the writing it was non-distinct.

Reading this, it makes me wonder if the direction Ellis took Thunderbolts in hasn't run it's course. Civil War was a long time ago and the whole government run superhero program is more than a bit played out. For me, a return to a more classic Thunderbolts formula would be welcomed.

Story: 3

Art: 5

Overall: 4

Stephen Day

This was a fun issue. Satana's reaction to the Man-Thing was interesting and it should be fun to see where this strange relationship goes. I also liked how the interviews were interspersed with the scenes featuring Gothenvald Castle, with the latter being particularly fun. Undead and other supernatural German things in a castle that disappeared from Earth's plane of existence in 1911? What a great concept.

8 out of 10

Royal Nonesuch

I should preface this with the fact that I'm just not a guy who responds to Jeff Parker's writing. To me, there's no there there. When I read something he's written, I feel like nothing was accomplished and I wonder why I even bothered. Unfortunately, this issue of Thunderbolts really didn't shake me of that notion. Nothing that happened here really grabbed me. The creepy castle was kind of interesting, but that was about all. Also, it looks like The Shocker might have something to do again, and I always liked him as a villain.

The art didn't do much for me either. It just looked scatchy and uninteresting. Kev Walker seemed to do the bare minimum needed to tell the story, but it was just unappealing to me.



another comic with shitty art and a story I didn't want to finish and don't care about it. Say what you will about Ellisbolts, at least he made it crazy and readable. This just had a boring tone and no actual movement to it.


Once again I drag down a book into the bowels of hell.

Fieldy Snuts

I really like this series. It's a fun book and one of my favorites that I look forward too every month. Ever since Ellis turned the status quo on its head by having a team of irredeemable sociopaths as heroes followed by Diggle's take which turned the team into Osborn's personal kill squad, Parker has taken the book more or less to its roots with a new status quo: Prisoners being offered a chance to join the Thunderbolts team and earn their freedom and possibly redemption by undertaking government sanctioned missions. A sort of work-release program for supervillains more or less.

Every issue so far has been quietly building up small threads (Fixer's disgruntlement at being relegated to support status, Luke Cage fighting the system to keep the ideals alive of what the Thunderbolts program should be, Ghost playing along but keeping his cards to himself, Moonstone trying to find a way to play an angle for herself, the former US Agent John Walker in his role as warden of the Raft and much more). Everything has been a slow burn yet the story arc's still manage to stay relatively self contained.

Now we get the next developments, the inclusion of Satanna, Satan's daughter, to the team as their magic expert, who is equally eager to work her magic on the team itself for better or worse in an amusing scene where she gets acquainted with every member in an extremely friendly manner...even Moonstone who was on the receiving end in a rare instances.

Unfortunately we don't have much time to digest this though as we're immediately thrown into the next TBolts mission into an ancient German castle populated by WWI era supernatural German troops.

Then there's the other new development: The interviews leading to the formation of the B-Team which will be led by Songbird. Troll seems to be a sure bet of making the cut thanks to the character being created and featured heavily in this book. Same with the winner of Marvel's "Pick the next Thunderbolts member" poll: The Shocker, one of Spider-Man's greatest and most underrated villains of all-time.

I especially liked Mach V's reasoning for forwarding Herman onto the team: For kicking Spider-man's ass a few times back in the day. This has the potential to be the best buddy combination since Taskmaster and Constrictor over in the old Avengers: Initiative book.

The rest of the team has a decidedly mercenary feel though: Centurius (who I vaguely remember from way back in one of my 60's Nick Fury trades) and Boomerang, who clearly see only their skills as assets to the team and don't give a rats ass about rehabilitation. And finally the last of this issue's interviewee's: Mister Hyde who I see as the Crossbones of this lot.

Out of the character mentioned but not interviewed there were definitely some interesting candidates: It'd be nice to see Blizzard return to the Thunderbolts given his history and appearance, the Super-Skrull (maybe this is why he didn't make the cut in the Annihilators...?), Black Mamba (though minus the rest of the B.A.D. Girls )

That's what I've enjoyed about this book so far, rather than other titles that subtly build up a big bad throughout an arc the character's actual development seems to be the focus here. Example: who'd have imagined the Ghost could be one of the most fascinating characters on the team? With all this foreboding about the teams volatile composition it's obvious that there will be a payoff somewhere down the line but so far this has been a title that is building up mostly low-tier characters...and this issue is no exception.

Onto the art: I love Kev Walker's work on this title. I find his art different, awesome and most importantly of all it can tell the story by itself...he's absolutely nailed it on this book. RoK: Imperial Guard, where I first saw his work, didn't do much for me but what I saw as a shaky start on TBolts (the ugly Songbird hair) I love it. What really stands out is his depiction of Luke Cage, arguably one of my favourite renderings of the character.

Can't understand all the hate for it at all. I remember Parker describing it in some interview in an analogy that fits: cross between Jamie Hewlett and Mike Mignola. If that's not your thing then I suggest you stick to the comfort zone of DC in-house art.

Story: 8

Art: 8

Overall: 8


I usually really love the thunderbolts and everything in it. I love the use of the Fixer (last I saw him was Cable/Deadpool) and I like that songbirds hair is finally growing back. My main problem over all is that there was just too much going on and the out of nowhere heel turn of the daughter of the devil is confusing because she'd just been recruited

All in all, I'd say it's an 8.


This book is SO much better already since Ellis left it's unbelievable. Though no where near what it was back in the day, it's worth checking out again. Art is meh for me but the stories are popping all over the place and I love it.

Story: 7


My Score: 6


This was boring, then it was confusing, then it was boring some more, then it was a bit like Hellboy then it ended. The art was interesting (especially when it was a bit like Hellboy or Man-Thing was happening) but ultimately couldn't save this comic from being so boring. Maybe this worked better if you cared who was going to be the back-up team but I didn't nor did this story make me wish I did.


Asmodeus Jones

This didn't do much for me, art or story-wise. It wasn't terrible, it just wasn't that interesting to me. Normally I'd try to write more, but I'm swamped this week. I sort of liked the haunting angle, but the interviews and stuff left me cold. I can see why some people like the book and a lot of the characters getting play in it, but this particular issue seemed pretty five-y to me.


All in all, Thunderbolts got a 5.92 out of 10. Uh-oh, sorry Mister Parker! If you want to read the full thread, click NOW. Next week's book is The Walking Dead #84... braaaains, braaains, the RG has no braaaaaains.

Written or Contributed by: Niam Suggitt

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About the Author - Niam Suggitt

Niam Suggitt, Punchy to his friends, is the most humblest of all the Outhouse writers.  His easy going manner and ability to see and recognize the point of views of those who he disagrees with has made him one of the most sought after members of our community to resolve conflicts.  Although he likes all of you, and considers everyone to be his friend, Punchy would prefer you use “Niam Suggitt” when quoting him for the front cover blurb on your book.  Follow this wonder of a man at @NiamSuggitt, if you want to, he’s cool with you either way.


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