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Thunderbolts #136: Review

Nov 2009
Andy Diggle, Pop Mhan

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4 stars

Thunderbolts #136 Review by (March 13, 2018)
This is the end of the 4-part Widowmaker story arc from #133. But it's also the end of a crossover (#134-136) 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. This issue overlaps with the end of SW#8 and all of SW#9 but doesn't share any scenes. Norman Osborn's appearance at the end of this issue follows from his apps in SW#8-9.

Scourge was added to the team in #133. We knew he was someone else under the mask and now he is revealed to be Nuke. We 1st met that guy as a crazed Government supersoldier in Daredevil #232-233. Later the Government sent him after Wolverine in Wo: Origins #1-5, during which we learned that he had a long history with Logan and was turned into the slightly cyborg Nuke by the Weapon Plus program, subdivisions of which had created Captain America and given Logan his adamantium bones and claws. During that arc he lost limbs and became even more of a cyborg.

Andy Diggle stops writing the series with this issue, and the new scribes take it in new directions.
1 result is that Osborn never does actually revive Yelena Belova, and we don't see her again until the 2013 Secret Avengers.
Black Widow (NR) exits the series via the BW: Deadly Origin mini.
Fixer, Mach-IV and Songbird won't be back until the team is rebuilt in #144 after the end of Dark Reign. But 1st F & M will help retool the Raft prison in a story in Enter The Heroic Age which leads into that new team.
Nuke will continue to use the Scourge guise and will appear with Ant-Man, Ghost and Paladin in Captain America: Reborn #3 before reuniting with Headsman and Mr X for our next issue.
Before then Norman Osborn will be in CA#600 and the Reborn limited series where Steve Rogers returns.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thunderbolts #136 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Last issue in Nick Fury's secret base #20 Home Run beneath the Yankee Stadium the Thunderbolts (Ant-Man (Eric O'Grady), Headsman, Mr X, Paladin and Scourge - Ghost is as often off being intangible somewhere) left Norman Osborn with the captured Fury. They are taking Black Widow (Natasha Romanova) and Songbird to their fates - Melissa Gold to be beheaded and BW to be interrogated.

Headsman with his axe is the obvious choice for executioner. Mr X is going to make Widow watch. Headsman apologises to SB for what he has to do. Paladin appeals to their leader Scourge - they're soldiers not assassins. He asks Ant-Man to back him up, but amoral O'Grady as usual is unable to pick a side. Scourge orders Cleavon Twain to do his duty, but instead Headsman buries the axe in *him*.

Everyone is surprised to find that Scourge is a cyborg, who shrugs off Cleavon's attack and Cleavon himself. Mr X relishes the opportunity to kill Headsman, who he's been sneering at since he joined (in #132). But Paladin shoots at him. Or to be more precise, past him to shatter Black Widow's handcuffs. Widow leads still-cuffed Songbird out of here at the run, leaving the boys to fight.

Now Paladin really does shoot at Mr X, but X impales his shoulder with 1 of his swords. Headsman chops off 1 of Scourge's arms to stop him reaching for a big gun. But Scourge takes the axe off him with the other hand and prepares to execute *him*. Except Paladin empties a magazine into Scourge's back which puts him down. Mr X prepares to kill Headsman with his other sword...

... but Ghost finally makes an appearance and electrocutes X's brain. he then turns Paladin intangible so he can pull him off the sword which is embedded in a wall. Paladin doesn't feel anything until Ghost makes him solid again. Ghost also has a plan which will enable them to stay in the Thunderbolts. He shocks unconscious Scourge's head too. He says Mr X and Scourge's short-term memories will be scrambled so they won't remember what happened. And he can use another of his abilities (mentioned in #133) to edit security camera footage to show that Widow used a stun grenade on them all to escape.

But miniature Ant-Man has seen it all from his hiding place in a ventilation grill.

BW & SB have made their way to the surface, where the Stadium is surrounded by H.A.M.M.E.R. troops. They took Songbird's sonic amplification rig, so she can't use her power to fly them to safety. So Natasha steals a HAMMER truck and they drive away. HAMMER give chase and a helicopter gunship hits them with a missile on the George Washington Bridge. The truck ends up hanging precariously over the side. Melissa tells Natasha to trust her and jump...

... and they are scooped out of the air by Mach-IV. Fixer remotely messes with the gunship causing it to crash. And they're all away free. (We don't know how Songbird knew that would happen.)

Later the 4 of them are holed up in a derelict building. Melissa thanks Abner Jenkins for the rescue. He says that (after the 3 met up again in #134) he persuaded Norbert Ebersol that they should help her. Fixer makes light of it by saying he couldn't let Abe go go up against HAMMER by himself. Natasha says they've got to get revenge for Norman Osborn killing Nick Fury. (Except she didn't actually witness that happen last issue and in Secret Warriors #8.) But Norb tells them that he's learned that it was only a Life Model Decoy that got shot in the head (as revealed in SW#8) - Fury's still alive (as far as they know).

In Avengers Tower Norman Osborn is raking Scourge over the coals for the failure of his 1st mission as Thunderbolts team leader. He lost all 3 of the targets (ignoring the fact that they never *had* Nick Fury, and it was Osborn who failed to hold on to the Warriors who were running the LMD in SW#9).

Scourge says he doesn't want to go by the codename Norman gave him (#133). He wants to go back to his real identity. He removes his mask and we see the flag-painted face of the patriotic Nuke. Osborn accepts that and unveils the new team leader. The real Yelena Belova (the other Black Widow) who he has in a stasis tube. (We learned last issue that NO knew all along that the Black Widow on his team was the SHIELD Agent and Avenger Natasha Romanova. He'd been playing her.)

Pop Mhan
Carlos Rodriguez
Frank Martin
Francesco Mattina (Cover Penciler)
Francesco Mattina (Cover Inker)
Francesco Mattina (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Albert Deschesne.
Editor: Bill Rosemann.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Eric O'Grady)
Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Black Widow
Black Widow

(Yelena Belova)
Iron Patriot
Iron Patriot

(Norman Osborn)

Plus: Fixer, H.A.M.M.E.R., Headsman, Mach-IV, Mr X, Nuke, Paladin, Songbird.

> Thunderbolts: Book info and issue index

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