Archive for the ‘CCW Rant Review’ Category

Title: Thunderbolts #145
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Kev Walker
Color: Frank Martin
Publisher: Marvel
Cost: $2.99

Jeff Parker is the best writer in comics today. Yep, I said it, numero uno, top dog, the Squirrel Girl of comic book writers so to speak. Feel free to disagree with me, but please hear me out before you lay into me. Here are three reasons why I feel Jeff Parker is at the top of his game right now.

Agents of Atlas- One of the best books out there no one is reading. Jeff Parker took a bunch of obscure Marvel heroes from the 50′s with little to no background material to draw from and turned them into one of the most compelling super-hero teams out there. Why this book doesn’t get more love from the fans out there is a compete mystery to me. Is it because there isn’t a ‘X’ on their uniform? Not enough long winded dialog while sitting around sucking down Almond Chicken and Sweet and Sour Pork? Or perhaps not enough babies being thrown out of windows. Of course this isn’t the first time a well written book gets the ax from lack of reader support. However here is the amazing thing that Parker has done with Agents of Atlas, he has written a book of such quality that the higher ups at Marvel said screw the fans, we are giving this book another chance. How often does a writer impress the the editors of a large comic company so much with his writing that they are willing to ignore the apparent will of the people and keep bringing a book back from the brink. Jeff Parker has created an unstoppable, zombie of a comic in Agents of Atlas that refuses to die, much to my delight.

The Avengers- Jeff Parker did something amazing during the whole Dark Reign/Siege story arc, he managed to write the best Avengers stories during that dark period of Avengers history and he wasn’t even writing a Avengers book at the time! The New Avengers? Check out the Agents of Atlas: Dark Reign trade for Jeff Parker writing one of the best takes on the New Avengers out there. Mighty Avengers? Check out Thunderbolts #142 & 143 for a very cool story involving the that team. Hell, Mr. Parker even shows his skills doing old school Avengers with the Avengers vs. Atlas miniseries. I have said this before and I will say it again, why Jeff Parker is not writing a Avengers book of some kind at this point is a complete travesty.

The Thunderbolts- The third reason Jeff Parker is the best scribe in comics today is his current work on the Thunderbolts. I have never been a real big fan of ‘Bad Guy” books. I prefer my superhero books to be just that, centered mostly around heroes. I never had much interest in Thunderbolts mostly due to the fact I don’t want to read stories centered around bad guys. I had a change of heart when I heard that Jeff Parker was taking over the Thunderbolts after the whole Siege event. If you haven’t guessed by now, I am a huge fan of Mr. Parker and the fact he was writing the book was enough to peak my interest.

My initial excitement was dampened when I started to hear who was going to be on this newest incarnation of the Thunderbolts:

Moonstone– OK, she is a pretty solid character and a former member of the team. Moonstone has been ‘good’ in the past’ and I can see her getting another shot at redemption. The bonus being I don’t think we have to worry about her being used as a sexual object like Bendis served her up as, although a Moonstone/Ghost sex scene could be one of the kinkiest things ever!

Ghost- Another former member of the Thunderbolts who actually helped out the good guys at the end of the whole Siege deal. Plus he promised not to try and kill Tony Stark again, always a plus!

Juggernaut- Meh, never been a big fan of Cain Marko, don’t hate him, but not much interest in him either. I can see him getting a shot on the Thunderbolts however, every team needs some muscle, and even a underpowered Juggernaut fits that bill.

Crossbones- Really? Crossbones? One of the biggest unrepentant killers in the Marvel universe. Christ the guy was the Red Skull’s right hand man! If the Thunderbolts where the prisoners from the ‘Dirty Dozen’ movie, Crossbones would be the character of Private Maggot.

Man-Thing- Isn’t Man-Thing a mindless monster? Good luck with that!

I wasn’t very happy with the make-up of the team, but I did have confidence in the ability of Jeff Parker to pull this one off. The fact he made me interested in the Mighty Avengers during their brief appearance in Thunderbolts made me confident that Mr. Parker would turn this motley crew into something cool. I have to say by the second issue things are starting to turn out pretty well.

Issue #144 is mostly set up, with Luke Cage doing a pretty good impression of Major John Reisman from the ‘Dirty Dozen’, going about his interviews with potential new members of his team of Thunderbolts. One thing I liked was the fact that this wasn’t a chance for redemption for all members, not everyone on the new team was looking at a chance to see the outside of the ‘Raft’ permanently. In the case of the Juggernaut it was simply a chance to see the outside of his cell for a bit. In other cases, Luke Cage wasn’t happy with the people he was given to work with, Crossbones is sort of forced on Cage by as of yet unseen ‘selection council’, which I think will lead to some interesting story-lines in the future. Man-Thing ends up being sort of charity case for the Thunderbolts, the government wants to destroy it because it seen as a uncontrollable monster, but Hank Pym comes up with the idea of using the Man-Thing at a form a transportation to save it from destruction. Issue #144 ends with the new team of Thunderbolts first training session being interrupted my Baron Zemo, looking to stage a breakout and reclaim his old team.

Baron Zemo is back! Well, don’t get to excited, as it turns out this is all a set up by Luke Cage to test his new team, but not in quite the way you might at first think. You see, Cage expects his new team to screw up this first time, he doesn’t expect them to show any loyalty at all, Cage just wants to test out the measures he has set up to ‘Control’ his new team. It’s fun to see how Parker sets up the group dynamic by how everyone reacts to ‘fake’ Baron Zemo’s offer to escape.

Crossbones– Accepts Zemo’s offer so fast and is at his side so quickly that it is almost comical. It’s safe to say Crossbones is not a team player.

Juggernaut- Doesn’t go along with Zemo, but does take the opportunity to make a run for it, not a team player!

Moonstone- Doesn’t take Zemo up on his offer and tries to kick the Baron’s ass, could be a team player.

Ghost- In one of the cooler moment of the book, quickly sees though the deception of the whole test and isn’t fooled for a second. Ghost is a strange mix of crazy and calculating intelligence that is fun to see unfold in the comic. Ghost could very well end up being my favorite character in this book. I hope he is a team player!

After being shown they have no real chance to escape, the new team of Thunderbolts grudgingly prepare for their first ‘actual’ mission. It’s a simple task of tracking down some Trolls that escaped from Asgard when it was destroyed by the Sentry. Should be simple right? Well, we are talking about the Thunderbolts here, so nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Our new team find themselves having a harder time then expected. By the end of the comic Luke Cage might be regretting his decision to “Bring up some bad guys”.

I think Jeff Parker has done another amazing job here writing this book. He excels in taking strange, off the wall characters and forming them into interesting and cohesive teams that are fun to read. In this newest incarnation of Thunderbolts, Jeff Parker has all of the strangest charters in the Marvel universe to draw from. The prisoners of the Raft are a endless supply for creative, raw material for Jeff Parker to play with and use in ways only he can. Even the people running the prison are a interesting bunch, U.S. Agent being the warden of the prison, Fixer, Songbird and Mach 5 as staff, what could go wrong?

In the beginning of my review I stated that Jeff Parker was the best comic writer out there right now and for those of you who doubt me, let me say this: Brian Michael Bendis, who many consider the best writer out there right now, has to drag in characters like Wolverine, Spider-Man and now the Thing into his Avengers books to make them appealing to the fans, and his books are still lifeless and uninspired. Jeff Parker takes characters like Crossbones, Man-Thing and Ghost and creates a comic that blows anything Bendis is doing right now out of the water.

Jeff Parker = Squirrel Girl = the best thing in comics right now!

-IM