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Thunderbolts #4: Review

Aug 2016
Jim Zubkavich, Jon Malin

Story Name:

There is no high road part 4: Tip of the iceberg

Review & Comments

3.5 stars

Thunderbolts #4 Review by (September 18, 2016)
Kobik's reaction to the topic of jamming is because she is doing it to keep Captain America and Winter Soldier apart, as seen in CA: Steve Rogers #4. This is connected to the revelation in CA:SR#2 that it was Kobik that did Red Skull's bidding by making Cap a Hydra supporter. Is she still working for Skull? Or is she just trying to keep her hero Bucky from finding out what she did to his friend?

Squadron Supreme has been the name of several teams from different alternate realities with members with similar names and powers, usually modelled on DC characters.
Technically the 1st incarnation was the villainous Squadron Sinister of the main Marvel timeline (Earth-616) in Avengers #69-70 with a Dr Spectrum, Hyperion, Nighthawk and Whizzer.
The heroic Earth-712 team was introduced in Av#84, with more members. After more appearances and the introduction of more members including Power Princess they got their own 12-issue limited series. Then a Graphic left many members, including Nighthawk, dead and some stranded on Earth-616. More adventures of these followed until the Avengers/Squadron Supreme Annual returned them to their own universe, which they set to rights in the 1-shot SS: New World Order. And they set it even more to rights when the Exiles visited them in that series.
Another timeline, Earth-31916, housed the SS team that starred in the Supreme Power series. The usual suspects appear like Dr Spectrum, Hyperion and Nighthawk, but with many differences including in some cases super-ids like Blur and Princess Zarda. they crossed over into the Ultimate Universe in the Ultimate Power miniseries, leaving Zarda there. Their Earth was destroyed by the Cabal in New Avengers (2013) #24.

This Squadron Supreme consists of individuals from several realities destroyed by the gradual end of the multiverse that led to Secret Wars:-
Blur from the DP7 team of the 1986 New Universe (not the Blur from Supreme Power).
Dr Spectrum of the SS-analogue the Great Society who were destroyed with their Earth by the Illuminati in NAv(2013)#19-20. She survived because she travelled to Marvel Earth.
Hyperion from yet another Earth with a Squadron Supreme. It's universe was destroyed in Av(2013)#4 but he survived and eventually came to the Marvel Universe where he joined the Avengers.
Nighthawk from Earth-31916 the Supreme Power universe.
Thundra had never been a member of a Squadron. She has a complicated history involving an alternate future, but prior to Secret Wars she ennded up co-ruling the extra-dimensional Polemachus with Arkon. This survived into Secret Wars' Battleworld as part of the Weirdworld domain. Which in turn survived in the Bermuda Triangle of the post-SW Earth. Thundra came from there and partnered up with Hyperion.
(There was a different villainous Squadron Sinister from a different Earth preserved in Battleworld. Warrior Woman came from there and joined this Squadron Supreme pretending to be Power Princess from Earth-712. Then the real Power Princess turned up, and this is part of an ongoing plotline in the current SS series. Presumably they were both left out of this app to save confusion.)

The evil Hyperion that Moonstone remembers is from yet another Earth which he destroyed in an attempt to rule it. He became part of a time-travelling Weapon X team which became involved in the Exiles series. He later found himself on Marvel Earth and was inducted into the Thunderbolts. But he tried to kill them until *they* killed *him*.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thunderbolts #4 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Abner Jenkins/MACH-X considers his position. His time with a previous incarnation of Thunderbolts had turned him from a villain into a hero. Later he worked with SHIELD and wound up helping run Pleasant Hill, the 'prison' for supervillains in Avengers: Standoff. After the prisoners' revolt he escaped with some other ex-Thunderbolters who assumed he had been an inmate too. Winter Soldier took control of them as his new team, and Abe wonders which side of the law he's now on.

His buddy Erik Josten/Atlas has no such qualms. He's just impressed by the secret base Bucky Barnes has provided them with.

Fixer calls a meeting to show them a news report in which SHIELD has publicly declared them terrorists. Moonstone suggests Bucky call his pal Captain America to set things straight. Bucky says he's tried several times but can't get through (we saw 1 attempt in #1, and last issue Cap couldn't contact him either). Barnes asks Fixer if he's jamming signals - Fixer says no, but he will now if Winter Soldier's going to be contacting Avengers! The little girl/Cosmic Cube Kobik tries to act nonchalant.

Fixer is serious, if they want to remain free to do their leader's Man On The Wall job countering alien threats (like the pods they investigated in #2 which led to the confrontation with the Inhumans last issue). He wants all Internet/comms activity banned unless it's heavily encrypted.

SHIELD are doing forensics on the site of the #2-3 events, but all the Agents are KO'd by the speedster Blur of the Squadron Supreme. He is joined by Dr Spectrum and Nighthawk, who is interested because the aliens in #2 might be connected to the alien conspiracy he's been investigating (in issues of the Squadron's title).

Reports that the Thunderbolts possess an extreme superweapon (actually Kobik) are also relevant the the Squadron's prime directive - to neutralise planet-threatening stuff. Spectrum tracks the energy of the TBolts' departing aircraft, and Nighthawk calls in Hyperion and Thundra to join them.

To Atlas being on the run is just like the 'good old days'. He's more concerned about losing access to Facebook and Internet games. But MACH-X doesn't want to be a criminal again - while he was in the earlier Thunderbolts he surrendered to the authorities and went to prison to wipe his slate clean. He notes that SHIELD hasn't named him as a member of the new team, so maybe he could quit now.

Erik is understandably upset about his pal leaving. He reminds him of how SHIELD (via Kobik) brainwashed the villains in Pleasant Hill into believing they were ordinary folks leading ordinary lives. Now he's left with conflicting memories of a family that never existed.

They and Karla Sofen are interrupted by Hyperion literally dropping in to the room. Karla armours up as Moonstone and tries to psych him out by reminding him how the previous team beat him in their #153. But it's not the same Hyperion. Fixer and Winter Soldier arrive to join the fight.

But then Thundra and Dr Spectrum enter through the hole Hype made in the roof. Abner tries to suggest they talk before fighting, but at the same time hitting Spectrum in the face. Blur zooms in and retaliates. And Nighthawk somersaults in and demands they hand over the stolen weapon. Bucky and Kobik both know he means her.

There's a chance that Abner might get his wish. But then Moonstone zaps Spectrum (she seems to be getting all the knocks) and Hyperion reacts angrily. Nighthawk sends Blur to take the little girl to safety so they can unleash their abilities without worrying about her. Blur grabs Kobik but she freezes him to immobility.

By now MACH-X has got his armour on too, and the fight starts in earnest. Moonstone sees the Thunderbolts losing and asks Kobik to do something. But Bucky had forbidden the 'girl' from hurting people. But on the other hand her friends are getting hurt. So she does do something.

The Squadron Supreme suddenly find themselves in a hole in the ground where the Thunderbolts' base used to be. And the base reappears at the North Pole. Kobik says the Squadron won't find them here. But Abner Jenkins is still not sure this is where he belongs.

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


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

> Thunderbolts: Book info and issue index

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