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Thunderbolts #105: Review

Oct 2006
Fabian Nicieza, Tom Grummett

Story Name:

Swimming with sharks

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Thunderbolts #105 Review by (August 10, 2014)
Grandmaster's Squadron Sinister, formed in #97, only contains 2 out of the 4 villains he 'created' in Avengers #69 - Nighthawk, who since then reformed and became a Defender, and Whizzer, now Speed Demon and recently a Thunderbolt. The original Dr Spectrum had his power prism destroyed in Iron Man #65, and Hyperion died in Squadron Supreme #8. Grandmaster gave a new power prism to Alice Nugent, previously a scientist introduced in Iron Man #194 (or possibly Avengers #164). This Hyperion is the lone survivor of a destroyed microworld - the original Hyperion really was created by Grandmaster, and made to believe the same origin. Iron Maiden was a Russian for of Black Widow in Marvel Fanfare #11-12. Since then she's been part of Superia's Femizons.

Helmut Zemo's scarred face has a complicated history. He 1st appeared in Captain America #168 as the villain Phoenix out to avenge his father Heinrich's death-by-Cap in Avengers #15. That ended with his face being scarred. And after that he wore a hooded mask and used the name Baron Zemo. Much later he was killed in #39 by Scourge as mentioned this issue, but his mind was transferred to a comatose body which he activated under the much-used codename Citizen V in #45. (And contrary to what he tells Cap here, he wasn't 'dead' for any time at all.) This body of course wasn't scarred. He actually left that body and was stored electronically for a while (#58) until he took over the body of his Counter-Earth counterpart (#62). It is this, originally unscarred, body we're dealing with now. Then came the re-scarring in Avengers/Thunderbolts. But as we have seen he can now use the Moonstones to switch between scarred and unscarred at will. So the question of what state his face is really in now is moot. This issue makes it appear (at least to me) as if Zemo's new attitude happened as a direct result of losing his stuff and dying in #39. However the new 'altruistic' Zemo didn't really surface until Avengers/Thunderbolts. But he *did* show signs of the real reason behind his behaviour after he got his latest body - the new Zemo intends to prove his superiority, not by defeating opponents, but by being 'better' than them.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thunderbolts #105 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Baron Helmut Zemo met with Captain America, Falcon and Hercules last issue (and it turns out Daredevil/Danny Rand is there too) to offer his help to the Registration resistance. But their 1st instinct is to attack him.

Zemo uses the Moonstones to suspend Daredevil and Hercules in midair, just to show that he can handle them. However Falcon causes his bird Redwing to steal the Moonstones. Cap then disarms him with his shield and Falcon punches him. But Zemo now has mental control of the Stones and calls them back to him. Then he sends everyone but Cap to New Jersey.

The Baron makes the Captain's shield too heavy to lift, and avoids a kick by making himself intangible. Then he pins the Steve Rogers to a wall with bands of force. But then releases him because he wants them to talk.

Zemo points out that the world has changed. He is now working for the US government while Cap is a fugitive. And the Baron claims, as he has for a while now, that he too has changed. As evidence he reminds Rogers that he saved his life in Avengers/Thunderbolts #5, at the cost of the scarred face (and more) which he takes his mask off to reveal.

Meanwhile Songbird meets Dallas Riordan in a bar. The CSA are offering Melissa leadership of the 50 States Initiative team in Colorado (where the Thunderbolts Mountain HQ is). She can take some of the Thunderbolts with her.

Fixer, Joystick and Mach-IV are in Washington to arrest Iron Maiden as she tries to get a fake ID to escape to Canada. Joystick is enjoying doing all the fighting herself.

Nighthawk returns to the Squadron Sinister's interdimensional base hidden in the flat of Dr Spectrum (Alice Nugent). We learn that he has infiltrated the SRA resistors, because his team are worried that Zemo will take advantage of the Civil War. They are working for Grandmaster, an Elder of the Universe, and are vying with Zemo for access to the Wellspring of Power (which among other things will allow GM to heal Speed Demon's broken legs, shattered by Joystick in #102). But the stakes are higher than that - if Zemo wins Grandmaster says it means the end of the universe. And that's why hero Nighthawk is helping.

In the Baxter Building Mr Fantastic, Radioactive Man and Yellowjacket are working on the portal between dimensions that will give access to the prison they are building. Chinese Dr Chen tries to convince the other 2 that what they're doing is as bad as some of the actions of his own government.

Back to Cap and Zemo. The Baron is still trying to persuade the Captain that he has turned over a new leaf. He reminds Rogers that the saving his life/scarring incident happened when Zemo's plan would have (allegedly) stopped all future wars, but the suspicious Avengers intervened and ruined it. He apologises for many earlier actions, including destroying Steve's WWII mementos in Av#275 during the Acts of Vengeance crossover. He claims to have learned some kinship with Cap when Scourge (Jack Monroe) destroyed his family memorabilia and 'killed' him for a while.

Zemo now repeats the offer he made last issue. When they've inevitably been captured he can help them escape from the hi-tech prison Mr Fantastic and chums are building (because as we saw last issue he has a hand in it's design). And sometime during the Civil War the resistance can openly help him and the Thunderbolts against the Grandmaster to save the Earth (thus regaining the public's trust).

Cap still doesn't trust him. But Zemo has 1 last card to play. He uses the Moonstones to bring Steve's footlocker forward in time from before he destroyed its contents. Inside Cap finds things like his original triangular shield and photos of his mother.

Zemo points out that with the power of the Moonstones he could conquer the world. But he doesn't want to. And he hands Cap an electronic key that will get him out of the threatened cage.

Steve thanks Zemo for everything. But after the Baron has gone Cap promises that he'll be watching his every move.

Back in Zemo's quarters in the Folding Castle we see that he has also retrieved his destroyed goodies.

Songbird comes to see him. But before Zemo lets her in he uses the Moonstones to make his face uninjured. He tells Melissa that all went well with Captain America, and she replies that the CSA will also be 'on board when the time comes' (which doesn't match what we saw her and Dallas talking about).

Zemo describes what he foresees as the end result of the conflict with the Grandmaster. Songbird will survive and go on to lead the Thunderbolts. He himself will be dead (again) because she will betray him, and he will have to sacrifice his life to save the world. Melissa Gold realises that he knows of her deceit, only pretending to be on his side (and his lover), but he has let everything happen.

But Zemo now adds a contradiction that he'll die and also live forever.


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> Thunderbolts: Book info and issue index

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

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Baron Zemo
Baron Zemo

(Helmut)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Falcon
Falcon

(Sam Wilson)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)

Plus: Dallas Riordan, Daredevil (Danny Rand), Doctor Spectrum (Alice Nugent), Fixer, Hank Pym (Skrull), Hyperion (Thunderbolts foe), Iron Maiden, Joystick, Mach-IV, Nighthawk, Radioactive Man, Songbird, Speed Demon, Squadron Sinister.