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Thunderbolts #11: Review

Mar 2017
Jim Zubkavich, Jon Malin

Story Name:

Return of the Masters part 2: Chance of a lifetime

Review & Comments

4 stars

Thunderbolts #11 Review by (April 8, 2017)
The different past is all part of the build-up to Secret Empire. The Pleasant Hill prison in Avengers Standoff was all part of the scheme, and that's where Kobik changed history while rejuvenating Steve Rogers.
Many elements of Captain America's new history have been revealed in the pages of the current CA:SR series. Including Steve's association with young Helmut Zemo. And Bucky causing Heinrich Zemo's death in CA:SR #13.
I've wondered before whether Kobik actually changed the past or just changed Steve's memories. Kobik here says the past has been changed. And CA:SR#11 claimed Helmut Zemo had been later brainwashed into forgetting he was Steve's friend. But Bucky here didn't know about the changed past. And indeed I can't see how that past would result in the Winter Soldier. So I'm still confused.

Bucky remembers Zemo's androids from the original version of the drone story that led to Winter Soldier and Cap's suspended animation. The androids were shown in Avengers #56's expansion of the tale.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thunderbolts #11 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Last issue Baron Helmut Zemo's Masters Of Evil invaded Thunderbolts HQ. Winter Soldier was brutally beaten, but Kobik the young Cosmic Cube said she'd fix everything. And Bucky Barnes found himself back in his young body in WWII as Bucky the sidekick of Captain America - but with his future memories intact.

Bucky thinks Kobik must have sent him to the past to change it - to stop Cap being frozen and himself from becoming Winter Soldier. Cap (Steve Rogers) finds him and they report for a mission. But along the way Bucky learns that he has recently killed Baron Heinrich Zemo (Helmut's father). This means that the past has already changed because it was the incident with Zemo's drone plane that caused Winter Soldier and Cap's suspended animation.

The mission involves reports of 10-foot armoured giants attacking troops. Bucky will be sent to investigate and then call in Cap and the Howling Commandos to deal with them. Cap protests that he should go with Bucky, but Bucky says it's alright. Bucky gets the impression there's something Steve's not telling him.

That night Bucky finds some suspicious trucks and a barn. Inside the barn he finds some boxes. The boxes emit light which creates the 10-foot giants. Which Bucky recognises as Zemo's androids. They attack and beat him unconscious.

When he awakes he's tied with chains to the infamous drone plane. A young man announces himself as Helmut Zemo and he wants revenge for the death of his father. He says he got the plans for the drone bomb from Bucky's most trusted friend, and now he's going to launch it and Bucky at the allied troops.

Bucky says this won't stop the Nazis from losing the war. But Zemo knows that the war is lost. But Hydra will rise from the ashes. And Bucky is shocked to see Cap join Zemo.

Rogers protests that Zemo is going against the plan to eventually turn Barnes to their side. But Zemo is bent on revenge. Steve makes 1 last gamble to save his friend - he begs him to pledge allegiance to Hydra. But Bucky refuses.

Zemo launches the plane. And it lands amidst American troops and explodes ....

.... but Kobik pulls Bucky out of the scene at the last second. She's angry because he was supposed to join Hydra and then everything would be OK. She explains that Mr Schmidt (Red Skull) got her to change history so that Steve Rogers was brought up belonging to Hydra. Schmidt told her to keep it secret, but she just arranged things so her best friend Bucky could be in the club too. But he messed it up!

Bucky tries to tell her that Hydra are evil but Kobik has been told they're the good guys. Bucky asks her to change everything back, but it breaks young Kobik's heart that her friend is being mean to her. She petulantly threatens to send him back to the drone where he'd die. But Bucky accuses her of ruining everything.

Kobik snaps. We see an X-ray-type image of Bucky surrounded by shattered fragments of his history.

To be concluded next issue, after which the series will allegedly go on hiatus during Secret Empire.

Jon Malin
Jon Malin
Matt Yackey
Jon Malin (Cover Penciler)
Jon Malin (Cover Inker)
Matt Yackey (Cover Colorist)

> Thunderbolts: Book info and issue index

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