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Thunderbolts #134: Review

Sep 2009
Andy Diggle, Miguel Sepulveda

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Thunderbolts #134 Review by (February 28, 2018)
This issue is listed as part 2 of 4 of the Widowmaker story arc begun last issue. But #134-136 are also a crossover with Secret Warriors #7-9. The 6 issues of this crossover can't be put in a simple sequence. Instead the 2 series run in parallel with some shared plot and scenes. The issues don't line up 1 to 1, but this particular issue does lie totally within SW#7.

After leading the Dark Avengers as Iron Patriot in New Avengers #56-60 Norman Osborn accepted the commission from Baron Strucker to kill Nick Fury in SW#7. Since last issue Black Widow led Ant-Man, Ghost, Headsman and Paladin in Spider-Woman (2009) #5-6. Scourge and Mr X stayed home for that, but Scourge and Ghost were on hand in SW#7 for NO to delegate the NF job to.

Fixer and Mach-IV were last seen in #109 after Civil War when they left the team to do tech-work for the CSA, which is where we find them now.

Nick Fury has been leading his Secret Warriors in their series but he just took time out in Dark Avengers #9 to make a deal with Ares, the father of 1 of his troop. But we'll learn next issue that the NF who Black Widow has been reporting to is really a hologram manipulated by Osborn.

Fixer and Mach-IV will be back in #136. Everyone else stays for next issue.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thunderbolts #134 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Image from Thunderbolts #134
(Ex-Thunderbolts) Abe Jenkins (Mach-IV) and Norbert Ebersol (Fixer) are working at a Commission on Superhuman Activities research site. They've upgraded Abe's old armoured flying suit, which Norbert now calls the Mechanised Aerial Combat Harness, for the Defence Department. But their latest test run is aborted before it begins when something rockets into their lab through the open hangar bay door.

That something turns out to be their old teammate Songbird.

In the current Thunderbolts HQ, the ex-prison the Cube, Headsman (Cleavon Twain) watches Mr X practising martial arts moves - which he claims are based on alien Kree and Shi'ar techniques. Mr X invites him down for a sparring match. Cleavon is just a brawler and so doesn't like the idea, even when X offers to keep both hands behind his back. So X riles him up with insults, and then easily takes him down with just footwork.

He ends up throttling Headsman with a foot on his throat, until Black Widow interrupts with a video call for a mission to go after Songbird. (Norman Osborn was annoyed when he learned Melissa Gold was still alive last issue.) As X turns to leave Twain throws a knife at his back. X dodges and catches it in midair. He refuses to return it unless Cleavon takes it from him. And then promises to give it back to him "when he least expects it".

(Osborn has devised this mission after being asked by Hydra to kill Nick Fury in Secret Warriors #7. As we will learn later in this TB/SW crossover this is all part of a cunning plan to kill 2 birds with 1 stone.)

Songbird has come to Fixer and Mach-IV on the run from Osborn to suggest they reform the old gang to take him down. She blames herself (and them) for allowing  him to take over the Thunderbolts after Civil War, which started the ex-Green Goblin's rise to power. Abe is ready to follow her (largely because of the romantic attachment they had in the Thunderbolts), but Norb doesn't want them to become outlaws again.

Melissa lets them off the hook and says she'll go find another ex-TBolt Radioactive Man. But before she goes she gives Abe a kiss.

The current 'Bolts are in their Thunderstrike jet. Pilot Black Widow is covertly communicating with Nick Fury. He wants her to keep Songbird alive and bring her to him. It may blow her cover, but Ghost already knows her secret anyway.

Osborn contacts her and tells her Scourge (Nuke) will lead the team on this mission. She is to remain in the plane and monitor Songbird's comms to see who her allies may be. BW is not happy.

Songbird is flying along minding her own business when she's attacked by 2 missiles. Which miss her, as does a hail of bullets. Widow alerts the troops. Headsman offers to take his flying disc and bring SB in, but Ant-Man (Eric O'Grady) doubts his ability to even stay in the air. (Paladin's here as well.) The missiles loop back for another pass but Melissa grabs 1 with her sonic powers and throws it at the jet. BW ejects before the plane crashlands.

The explosion has also knocked Songbird to the ground. She recovers to find Black Widow standing over her. But BW tells her they need to get away before the Thunderbolts come after them. Widow injects herself with a counteragent for genetic camouflage. Her body is wracked with pain as it changes, including her height. She is revealed as not the blonde villain Yelena Belova but the Avenger Natasha Romanova. (Like we didn't know that.)


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Preview Pages
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Page #1from Thunderbolts #134
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Page #2from Thunderbolts #134
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Miguel Sepulveda
Miguel Sepulveda
Frank Martin
Francesco Mattina (Cover Penciler)
Francesco Mattina (Cover Inker)
Francesco Mattina (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Albert Deschesne.
Editor: Bill Rosemann.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Iron Patriot
Iron Patriot

(Norman Osborn)

Plus: Ant-Man (Eric O'Grady), Fixer, Headsman, Mach-IV, Mr X, Nuke, Paladin, Songbird.