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New Thunderbolts #13: Review

Dec 2005
Fabian Nicieza, Tom Grummett

Story Name:

Ditch

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

New Thunderbolts #13 Review by (November 27, 2014)
The team fought this Dr Spectrum briefly during the previous issue. In #15 we'll learn that her name is Martha Gomes, but she'll lose the Power Prism there to Alice Nugent who will wield it in later issues. The original Prism was destroyed in Avengers Annual #8. Grandmaster is intent on creating a new Squadron Sinister, and has created a new Prism (presumably this time without a Skrull mind inside). I guess that the Prism stops working here because GM thinks it hasn't found a suitable host. Speed Demon was a member of GM's 1st Squadron as Whizzer alongside the 1st Dr Spectrum. At this time Henry Pym has been replaced by a Skrull, which may explain his anti-Avengers role here. But then Spider-Woman is a Skrull replacement too.

Fixer was a member of the old team before they dissolved after Avengers/Thunderbolts. Since then he's appeared in Cable&Deadpool #11-12, fixing Cable's cybernetics. Mach-IV reformed the team in #1 after Avengers Disassembled. Alongside former members Atlas and Songbird he recruited Blizzard. Photon invited himself in. Then Abe Jenkins brought in Joystick and Speed Demon, and later Radioactive Man. Photon arrived as Captain Marvel (Genis-Vell), but he 'died' as was recreated as Photon in #6. Red Ronin is a giant robot built to fight Godzilla in the monster's #6. During that series it was piloted by young Rob Takaguchi. Since then it has been used by several hi-tech organisations. It will appear as part of the Thunderbolts Civil War army in #107 (after the old title and numbering is reinstated).

The title "Ditch" comes from a Biblical quotation (of dubious relevance) "If the blind shall lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch". There's a little continuity error in Henry Gyrich's memo. #13&14 were both published Oct 2005, the same month as New Avengers #12. House of M finished Sep 2005. The Official Index places HoM between NAv#10 and #11, and this story between NAv#15 and #16. But at that stage HoM was a secret known only to a few participants. SHIELD only learn about it in NAv#19. Carol Danvers knew but wouldn't have told the CSA. Danvers used to be an Avenger as Warbird before Avengers Disassembled. She's referred to here by that codename but in OI chronology she's already reverted to Ms Marvel after HoM. She will hang around with the New Avengers but won't actually join them. Instead she'll become a Mighty Avenger after Civil War. Carol quit the Avengers and joined Homeland Security in Av(1998)#70 as Chief Field Leader. In Uncanny X-Men #445 she was Chief of Tactical Operations of HS. In #4 of this series she was referred to as HS's Superhuman Liaison, and in #5 as their Director of Superhuman Affairs. Now she's specifically Director of the Commission on Superhuman Activities, part of HS. The CSA itself goes a long way back, including lots of interaction with Thunderbolts in their earlier series.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

New Thunderbolts #13 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
An internal Commission on Superhuman Activities memo from Deputy Director Dallas Riordan to Director Carol Danvers lets us know that 6 weeks have passed since the end of the Purple Man story last issue. Mach-IV allowed Songbird to replace him as team leader (because of dubious decisions like accepting finance from Hydra), but then quit the team to recover from his injury by Swordsman in #10. Melissa Gold fired Blizzard (because the young guy's just not up to the job). And she asked for Joystick to be sent back to jail, but the CSA have left her in place. Meanwhile the team have had undocumented successful encounters with U-Foes, Mr Hyde and AIM.

Another memo from Assistant Director Henry Gyrich to Riordan repeats the official disquiet with the unsanctioned New Avengers team, heightened by Scarlet Witch's reality-changing during House of M. He recommends that something must be done about them.

The events of this issue and next are spread over a day and a night. We begin early in the 2nd morning where Danvers, Gyrich, Riordan and the Vice-President(!) are watching Spider-Woman communicating with Luke Cage. Cage says they've just been ambushed, and Jessica Drew says she's just dealt with an intruder in Avengers Tower.

The we skip back to the previous morning when the remaining Thunderbolts (Atlas, Joystick, Photon, Radioactive Man, Songbird and Speed Demon) fight the new (female) Dr Spectrum, who's beating them all. But she's distracted when Speed Demon claims to know about her Power Prism (from his early days as Whizzer in the Squadron Sinister). She claims it just appeared one day recently stuck to her palm, and gave her a costume and powers. But now it just stops working, and the team hand her over to the police.

Songbird answers a TV reporter's question about the absent Blizzard and Mach-IV, saying they'll be back after Mach-IV has recovered from his injuries and Blizzard has improved his super-suit. Abner Jenkins hears the interview and congratulates (talking to himself) Melissa on being economical with the truth. He himself is upgrading his exoskeleton.

That afternoon Danvers, Gyrich and Riardon have a meeting in Washington where they agree a plan to use the Thunderbolts to send the New Avengers a message.

That evening Dallas in New York tells Melissa that the CSA want the Thunderbolts to fight the Avengers. Songbird is understandably reluctant, but Riordan threatens that if they don't do it the Thunderbolts will be considered as much a loose cannon as the New Avengers.

Afterwards Dallas chats with Erik Josten her former boyfriend. They remind us of some elements of their complicated relationship in the original series. At 1 time they both inhabited her body, and his ionic energy freed her from her wheelchair. Later they were separated - he wound up powerless but she still had some of his energy. But in #1 of the New series Erik regained his ionic powers, and in #8 we learned that Dallas was back in the wheelchair. This is the 1st time they've met since then, and it is made clear that Atlas didn't mean to take the energy away from her.

Later still, the still-convalescing Mach-IV is testing out his repaired flying suit near Avengers Mansion when he sees Iron Man and Sentry flying off to action followed by a quinjet. Fixer from the previous team incarnation shows up with an offer for him.

Meanwhile Songbird is explaining the plan to the rest of the team. The Avengers have been called out to a decoy situation in a remote area where there will be no danger of civilian casualties. We see Captain America, IM, Luke Cage, Sentry and Spider-Man facing the giant robot Red Ronin. But now that they're here the robot vanishes.

But then a spatial aperture opens and a giant fist breaks the quinjet. Atlas steps through followed by Photon, Radioactive Man, Songbird and Speed Demon. The team members choose opponents.

Songbird takes on Cap, who wants to know why they're doing this. After all, they offered her Avengers membership at the end of the Avengers/Thunderbolts mini-series.

Atlas grabs Luke Cage and throws him out to sea. But not before reminding him how in Power Man #21 they fought over that name, which neither of them uses any more.

Spidey picks his old foe Speed Demon, while Iron Man faces his old sparring partner Radioactive Man. And the hyper-powerful guys Photon and Sentry square off, each suffering from their own forms of insanity.

Meanwhile Joystick has been sent to break in to Avengers Tower, where she runs into Spider-Woman.

Now it's back to just before the CSA meeting we began with. The VP has arrived and met Carol Danvers. A 3rd person in the room turns out to be Henry Pym, who was a founding Avenger as Ant-Man.


Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:




Tom Grummett
Gary Erskine
James Brown
Tom Grummett (Cover Penciler)
Gary Erskine (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Richard Starkings.
Editor: Tom Brevoort.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Luke Cage
Luke Cage

(Power Man)
Ms. Marvel
Ms. Marvel

(Carol Danvers)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Spider-Man
Spider-Man

(Peter Parker)
Spider-Woman
Spider-Woman

(Veranke)

Plus: Atlas, Dallas Riordan, Doctor Spectrum (Martha Gomes), Fixer, Hank Pym (Skrull), Joystick, Mach-IV, Photon (Genis-Vell), Radioactive Man, Red Ronin, Songbird, Speed Demon, Squadron Sinister.

> New Thunderbolts: Book info and issue index

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