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Thunderbolts #12: Review

Apr 2017
Jim Zubkavich, Jon Malin

Story Name:

Return of the Masters part 3: Broken toys

Review & Comments

4 stars

Thunderbolts #12 Review by (April 25, 2017)
I've wondered in these comments before what exactly Kobik *did* to Steve Rogers in Avengers Standoff. Did she change his past or just his memories? The fact that especially Buck Barnes still remembered the Marvel history we're used to (fully confirmed last issue) argued for the latter. But Secret Empire #0 has I think solved the problem.
If I read it right Kobik *did* change the past so that Steve was brought up in the service of Hydra. But in this altered past Hydra and the Axis won WWII. But Kobik also arranged for the Allies to use a Cosmic Cube to change the past so that *they* won - and their changes produced the version of Marvel history we know, with Captain America loyal to America, etc.
So everyone including Bucky remembers that, and Cap has believed himself to be a loyal American up until Standoff. And when Kobik changed him then she created the new past and made him think he was recovering the real memories of it.

Ghost has been hanging in the walls of the Thunderbolts' base for several issues. It's not been revealed who he's working for. If it was Cap/Hydra then Zemo wouldn't have needed Atlas' phone signal to locate the base.

This issue is 1 of 3 with a cover banner SE: Opening Salvo. The other 2 are CA:SR#16 and US Avengers #5. All 3 precede SE#0. This issue also precedes CAS:SR#16 where Bucky is a captive of Zemo, and Fixer is trying to glue the Kobik Cube back together again.

This series ends here, at least for now. There is an open possibility that there will be Thunderbolts post-SE, but I can't see it being the same team. (But that's happened before.)


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thunderbolts #12 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
In #10 Baron Zemo and his new Masters Of Evil found the Thunderbolts' Arctic base and captured Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes. Last issue Kobik, the little girl who is a Cosmic Cube, took her friend Bucky back to the WWII past to show him the new version she created during Avengers Standoff. Lots of events didn't happen the way he remembers them, and most importantly his mentor Captain America/Steve Rogers was an agent of Hydra. Kobik hoped that Bucky would join Hydra too, and then they could continue to be great friends. When it didn't work that way she had a tantrum.

Now outside the base semi-conscious Atlas is freezing to death. His friend Jolt returned from Counter-Earth in #10 and now she jolts his heart back to work. They stagger back to the base and find it busted wide open with Kobik hovering in the air and screaming/crying.

Bucky drops from the sky at the feet of Zemo and some of his villains. Which now includes Fixer and Moonstone who have switched sides. Bucky and Zemo start to fight.

The other 2 Tbolts, Mach-X and Songbird, are surrounded by Wrecker and his Wrecking Crew. As they fight Mach-X tries to convince the villains that they can't trust Zemo. But then Thunderball breaks Songbird's ribs.

Kobik has whipped up a whirling storm which has already whisked Klaw away. Whiplash saves himself by tethering his whip to the ground, and Man-Killer is hanging on to his foot. But he kicks her free and she gets zapped by a bolt of lightning.

Jolt zaps Tiger Shark as Atlas tries to talk Kobik down. Fixer realises the Cube is starting to tear reality apart. He thinks he may be able to figure a way to fix things.

The Wrecking Crew beat on Mach-X while Wrecker prepares to kill Songbird with his crowbar. But then the Ghost phases out of a wall and sticks a bomb on his back. We learn that he's here to hack Fixer's computer system, but he can't do that if this battle destroys everything.

Winter Soldier wins his fight with Baron Zemo. But then Moonstone zaps him in the back. This is a bit much for Fixer, but Karla says Bucky's tactic of befriending Kobik didn't work. She's too dangerous to leave loose.

Atlas somehow has Kobik in a force bubble. Jolt is trying to siphon off her energy but there's too much. Fixer has created an array of force projectors which he fires at Kobik. There's a large explosion. Kobik says she just wanted everyone to be happy. And then she explodes.

Zemo KO's Bucky and gathers his remaining crew. The Wrecking group break free of some rubble and claim Mach-X is dead. (Although I think I saw him being blown free with Songbird.) Fixer has bad news for Zemo - the Cosmic Cube has broken into pieces and the fragments have been widely scattered. Zemo orders him to track and retrieve them. Atlas also survived. Zemo welcomes him (back) the the MOE, and the eternal follower Erik falls in line. He gets to carry the unconscious Barnes.

After they've gone Songbird struggles out of a snowdrift. But she can't find Mach-X, so she trudges off into the snowscape. Behind her Ghost phases out of the snow. He finds and pockets Jolt whose energy body has shrunk.

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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