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Review Group Week 281 - THUNDER Agents #8

The RG lends it's questionable talents to THUNDER Agents this week. In my opinion it's one of DC's best books, but who knows what the rest of these reprobates think!


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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.

It's the return of St. Nick Spencer this week, let's hope this goes better for him than the Double Team. Oh that just sounds wrong.


 
Starlord

I've heard a lot of great things about this book but never bought an issue until now. I'm glad I did. LOVED LOVED LOVED the artwork and the story, for me, was very easy to get into. This is one of those obviously solid books that deserves an even bigger following then it has.

I think I found a new book to buy in trades! Thank you for this choice, it was a great one.

Story: 8

Art: 10

My Score: 9

Asmodeus Jones

Okay, two things:

#1, that was GREAT!

#2, it can totally be read as a stand-alone single issue and doesn't spoil anything in the first arc itself, and nothing you wouldn't have seen coming anyway in #7 i.e. the nature of Colleen's relationship with Iron Maiden and the earlier Dynamo.

The interplay between the three stories is great, and the way the three artists portray three different points in TA history works well. Mike Grell is so perfect for the scenes in the 1980s and Nick Dragotta does the Silver Age 1960s-era absolutely right. I can see why St Nick says those Silver Age scenes took so long to write, and you can really feel the way he fretted over each word to get it just how he wanted it to feel. It's just right. It's so cool. I hope there's more of Dragotta and Spencer's Silver Age next issue too. Dan Panosian does a fine job depicting the modern-day, with only Colleen represented there actually as the Agents appear only in flashback this issue, and he makes both the redheads, mother and daughter, seem sexy and dangerous. I liked Fiona Staples' cover too, only I thought the TA logo should have been colored to be more offset from the similar-toned background behind it. That's the only real criticism I have of this issue. It was well-done all around by everyone involved, and St Nick's investment in the book and its characters strongly comes across when you read it. I never doubted for a second that picking T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #8 would deliver a top notch single-issue for the Review Group. I thought this was one of the best issues of the run so far, too!

Like the quote on the cover says, "If you haven't jumped on yet, now's the time."

And thanks to everyone who gives the book a chance this week, you are awesome!

10

*Also I recommend the earlier THUNDER Agents runs as well if you can find them or the Archive Editions at a decent price.

Bluestreak

I'll be honest. THUNDER Agents was the only Nick Spencer book that I hadn't read until today. I somehow missed out on the first couple of issues and decided that it'd be simpler to pick the book up in trade form.

However, before even opening up the book, my expectations were pretty high. This is a book that Nick Spencer fought for when negotiating an exclusive contract. This remains one of the few in-continuity books I've seen written by a writer for another company. Also, it's received high praise because of Spencer's writing, something that has been called into question in the recent past by members of this very group. Even I needed to be reminded that Spencer was capable of reading enjoyable in-continuity superhero books.

THUNDER Agents #8 lived up to the hype. Excellent writing, decent art and a plot that's easy enough to follow despite not knowing who any of the characters were. In ways, this series reminded me of Geoff Johns' first run on JSA, a book which drove me to pick up the backissues and learn more about the characters.

The plot focuses on a daughter's search for her mother, the Iron Maiden. Over the course of the issue, we learn that the Iron Maiden is a notorious killer with thousands of death under her belt. She also has a history with the THUNDER Agents, as revealed in the backup feature. In fact, the Iron Maiden ended up marrying one of the original THUNDER Agents, leading to all sorts of trouble.

The only issue that I had with the book is that Spencer had to cut small corners in order to fit his plot points in 20 pages. For one thing, I never caught the daughter's name as it's not mentioned once in the book. However, that's easily remedied by simply picking up the backissues.

Is this an excellent comic book? Yes. For all those who moan and complain about the crappy books we read and delight in tanking books in this group, pick this one up and read it.

9.5

Guitarsmashley

so, I'm not really sure how to approach this. I can see that everyone loves this book and I started out liking it but the 80's story took me out of everything and made it all just kind of well, it sloped down. sloped badly and I stopped caring and stopped wanting to read the book, I didn't even bother with the other story.

5

John Snow

This seems like a cool comic. The different timelines, the different art styles, it has a nice vibe to it. This was my first THUNDER Agents comic so it was news to me that a character named Iron Maiden even existed. The only thing I could really take away from this is that the Grell/Staples sections looked amazing, the Dragotta/Loughridge art was fun and the current day stuff was like early Humberto Ramos with the manga influence sucked out.

If they release a trade for TA I'll buy it as this still appears to be the comic everyone claims it to be, but there wasn't a hook in this that would have made me want to read more without that peer pressure.

Story: 7

Current Art: 7

80's Art: 10

60's Art: 8

Overall: 7.67

Comic_Doctor

To start, I've never read a THUNDER Agents book before, but I have always wanted to try it out.

The writing was quite solid - good enough to have me interested without any knowledge of any THUNDER Agents history. There was obviously plot-points that fans would know, but it wasn't distracting for me.

The art could have been better, but the styles fit the different eras nicely. The storytelling was nice - very smooth to read.

My favorite part was the how the backup story tied directly into the main story. It was like giving us a flashback without being cheesey

SCORE: 8.0

I'm looking forward to getting this series in TPB when it's available.

Eli Katz

I have mixed feelings about THUNDER AGENTS #8. I enjoyed much of the book. It was a fun, fast-paced read that drew me in with its espionage elements. I can't say at any point I was terribly bored by the book. But the opening scene, in which the overconfident informant is shot after giving up the goods, made me groan. I've seen this type of exchange and backstab one too many times in bad James Bond movies. But I did appreciate the double structure of the book, with the flashbacks from the 1980s tying into the main story. It made what was a rather conventional story into something more complex and layered.

Dan Panosian art is fine, but at times a little cartoonish looking for the style of this book. The women look like elongated strippers, with their legs stretching in ways that only insects could realistically manage. The story would perhaps have more power if the art had a more serious look to it. I could imagine Epting or Deodato working on this book and taking it to an entirely different level. Thank God for Mike Grell.

Overall, I can see why people are fans of this book. There's potential here. But this issue didn't hook me in.

STORY: 7

ART: 6

OVERALL: 6.5

Punchy

Story - Over the course of only 8 issues, Nick Spencer's THUNDER Agents has not only become one of my favourite DC comics of the last few years, but one of my favourite books in general. It is this book, not Morning Glories or Forgetless or Jimmy Olsen which really made me a fan of Mister Spencer, and each issue has become a highlight of my month.

This issue was no exception, THUNDER Agents is a book that just flows, the dialogue is wonderful, the tone is spot on, and every scene works. I particularly love the strange, almost parodying tone the book takes towards super-spies, certain scenes remind me of a slightly more serious Venture Bros, and that is high praise indeed. This issue, like the previous instalment is set in three time-periods, the present, where Colleen is tracking down her mother, the villainous Iron Maiden, 28 years in the past, where Colleen is just a baby and her parents have been detained by the THUNDER Agents, and even further in the past, where her father, the original Dynamo is still a part of the THUNDER Agents, and fighting against her mother.

Spencer does a good job of filling out the back-story of not just Colleen but of the THUNDER organisation as a whole, and wisely, it's not all spelled out at once, he lets the facts come out naturally, none of these flashbacks are info-dumps, they are very strong scenes in their own right, the dialogue in the interrogation scenes are very high-quality, nearing Bendis at his best levels.

One of the best things about this story is the silver-age sequences, where Spencer tells a story of the classic THUNDER Agents team in a very old-fashioned style. Doing scenes like this can be hard, as sometimes the writer lurches too close to just out right mockery of the cliches and gimmicks of silver-age superhero comics, you don't want your THUNDER Agents book interrupted by MAD Magazine. These read like proper homages, with a real love for the era's style. I haven't read silver-age pastiches as accurate since Alan Moore's supreme.

Overall, this was another gem of an issue, there was action, there was fun dialogue, and there were revelations. My only concern about the book at this point is that we're 8 issues in, and from the solicitations the book isn't continuing past the DC revamp, and really, not much has actually happened in the comic, this second arc has not even featured any of the fascinating new characters introduced in the first one, like Toby/Menthor or No-Man. I realise that the tone of this book is not plot-first, but rather character, but it would be a shame for the book to end with so much background detail set up but nothing ever happening in the foreground. That said, Spencer has suggested the book will be continuing in some form, so my fears may be groundless.

Regardless, this was a great issue, of a truly great series, if you've gotten into Spencer but discounted this book because it's DC, you need to check this out, it's unlike any other comic DC is publishing, and in a line that's become increasingly formulaic, we need to cherish these kinds of comics.

Art - Much like the book has 3 time-periods, it also has 3 artists, each doing one time. I was initially annoyed that CAFU was absent for this issue, as his artwork on the series has been fantastic, but Dan Panosian was a decent fill-in, especially as his scenes were the least interesting to me. Industry legend Mike Grell was great in the 70s scenes, as that time was really when he got off the ground, and his pencils really did take you back in time. I'm glad he's back doing mainstream work like this and an upcoming point one issue of Herc for Marvel. The silver-age art was from Nick Dragotta and it was, like Spencer's writing, a perfect fit for such a story, reminding you of such legends as Kirby and Infantino and of course Wally Wood. One of the strengths of this book has been the variety of artists featured, ranging from George Perez to Howard Chaykin to Ryan Sook, and this issue continued that. Each issue gives you something new art-wise.

Best Line - 'Maybe these two could play together sometime, I mean, if your kid can keep from screaming or throwing up when she sees Paige's face. It ain't pretty, you know?'

9/10

Rockman

I'm not entirely sure what this book is about, but everything about it really sucked me into the story. I want to know more about the two red headed girls, I want to know more about this agency of spies (??), I would really just like to read more of this book, which is a good thing. I wasn't blown away but like Spencers other non Marvel title a single issue has given me a desire to read more which I think is a good thing.

The art was good too.

Story 7

Art 9

overall 7.5


 
So where the fuck was Lion-O? Huh? Where the FUCK!

Oh, wait, that's Cats, not Agents, I get 'em mixed up. Woah, what's this, a bit of positivity? THUNDER Agents only went and got an average of 7.95, that's bloody impressive. Read the whole malarkey over yonder. Next week is Jonah Hex #69. LOL, 69. 

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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