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Thunderbolts #2022: Review

Aug 2022
Jim Zubkavich, Sean Izaakse

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New York's ... finest?

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Review & Comments

4 stars
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Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thunderbolts #2022 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Hawkeye (Clint Barton) is practising his archery at a range. Afterwards he calls Wonder Man in LA to suggest reviving the West Coast Avengers. He's not thinking of the team Kate Bishop (the other Hawkeye) recently led but the originals (including Scarlet Witch, Tigra and Vision). When Simon Williams mentions Mockingbird Clint has to admit that it's awkward between him and his ex-wife Bobbi Morse these days. And when Simon asks about it being an official Avengers team he also has to admit that the Avengers have sort-of disowned him since his pretty-criminal methods (in the Hawkeye: Freefall mini-series). (But he still works with Black Widow and Winter Soldier as seen in Natasha's recent series.). Then he gets a call from Luke Cage, and has to admit that he doesn't keep up with the news and so didn't know he'd been elected Mayor to replace Wilson Fisk (Kingpin) (Devil's Reign #6). And Luke wants him to run a new Thunderbolts team.

Clint goes to a meeting in the Mayor's office where he meets Helen Astrantia (PR) and Harris Hutchley (Legal) who are working on the Thunderbolts Project. During his Mayorship Wilson Fisk outlawed superheroes in NY except his own Thunderbolts team of villains (some super-chars, some human troops) (as seen in the Devil's Reign event and the DR: Villains For Hire mini-series). In the DR: Omega 1-shot Cage discovered that he couldn't persuade the City Council to repeal that law because too may citizens supported it. So he concentrated on arresting the Thunderbolts members for the crimes they had committed. And now he tells Clint he intends to replace them with his own team, to reclaim and redeem the name of the team they had each run at different times. As Mayor he can't head the team himself so Clint is obviously the best choice for the job.

Barton accepts when he's assured that doesn't mean he has to arrest heroes. And he mentions that he's been talking about getting the West Coast Avengers back together. But Helen tells him they've already chosen the rest of the team using an algorithm to get the best mix:- America Chavez (the powerhouse), Power Man (the brick), Persuasion (the mentalist) and new guy Gutsen Glory (the loner). Clint approves of Chavez because he worked with her in Kate Bishop's WCA. Helen describes her abilities as flight, super-strength, endurance and inter-dimensional teleportation, plus she appeals to the LatinX demographic. Luke chose Victor Alvarez, the current young Power Man, because he wanted to see his own old super-id in the spotlight. Victor's super-strength come from the chi of his surroundings, and NY's cultural melting-pot gives him all he needs. Harry says Gutsen Glory's origin and powers are classified (even from Clint) but Helen points out that the public (and this comic's readers) like a man of mystery. Clint recognises Kara Killgrave (Purple Girl, daughter of Purple Man) but Helen says she's called Persuasion these days, and that's her power. Clint muses that they haven't got any energy or elemental powers - a lightning power would surely suit the brand Ms Astrantia is promoting.

Just then an aide bursts in to tell them that the Thunderbolts are on the loose. But it's not their team but Fisk's super-powered goons who were arrested but have escaped from their prison transport. Helen lists them as Electro, Whiplash, Taskmaster, Agony, Abomination and U.S. Agent. Barton grins at that last name. Behind the scenes he changes to his supersuit and weapons and meets the team face-to-face because the next scene is ...

... America Chavez porting them through 1 of her star portals to the site where the escaped felons are holed up with 3 hostages and surrounded by police. (All but Chavez have the lightning bolt symbol somewhere on their costumes.) Electro (Francine Fry) is keeping them at bay with electric blasts, which also disrupt communications. Hawkeye starts to discuss a plan of attack but Chavez pre-empts him by taking to the air and taking Power Man with her. They enter through the window Electro's been firing out of, knocking down her and Whiplash (Anton Vanko without his whip). PM then takes on Agony (Gemma Shin with a Venom clone symbiote that looks more like Carnage) while America spars with Taskmaster until he empties a clip in her face - which just makes dents.

The 3 heroes still outside are attacked by Abomination who smashes through a wall. Gutsen Glory brought a big gun which he fires, knocking the villain down. He calls it a Particle Rupture Laser but it takes 10 minutes to recharge. So he tosses 2 Subdual Grenades not caring that he's within the 15 metre safe range. He's about to follow with a Capture Grenade but Abomination is on him before he can throw it. It ends up 'capturing' a police car. Hawkeye's still trying to get his 1st arrow in play when Persuasion tells Abomination to stop beating on Gutsen and makes him punch himself repeatedly in the 'junk'.

After congratulating each other they spot another perp trying to escape. Hawkeye does get an arrow in this time - an explosive arrow which brings down US Agent. Clint Barton wants revenge for a beating John Walker gave him (way back in Avengers West Coast #64, and probably for some other things too). So he puts an arrow in the back of his shoulder and then starts hitting him with his bow. But USA grabs him by the throat until GG stops him with some tranquilliser darts.

Then the fight between Power Man and Agony erupts into the street. America throws the limp forms of Taskmaster and Anton Vanko through a star portal and then steps through herself carrying the 3 hostages. But Electro's up again. An electroblast knocks down everybody including her own teammates. And then she absorbs even more electricity from Gutsen Glory. But suddenly Spectrum (Monica Rambeau) swoops down and carries her into the sky. There's a lot of lightning and then she returns with the drained villain. Clint asks Monica if she'd like to join the team, just as a large amount the building the villains had been in collapses.

Later Clint has taken Spectrum to see Mayor Cage. But Luke is angry about the property damage which will make the public think the new Thunderbolts are as bad as Fisk's team of villains. (And as bad as all the heroes that have been wrecking the city repeatedly fighting villains and each other.) He also berates Barton for beating up John Walker who he'd been *told* (off-panel) had been undercover for the FBI in Fisk's team and was part of the police escort *not* a prisoner. Clint says it slipped his mind. But he wants to propose Monica as an energy-slinger for the team. Luke worked with her before in the Mighty Avengers. Cage says he'll consider it and dismisses Barton.

When the 2 are alone Cage reminds Rambeau that she turned down the offer to lead this team (in Devil's Reign: Omega), so why did she just steal their thunder? Monica replies that she'd hung around to keep an eye on them in case things went wrong. And Electro was going to hurt innocent bystanders so she had to step in. Luke says her sense of responsibility shows why she was his 1st pick for team leader (so much for Hawkeye being the obvious choice - Cage is learning how to be a politician fast). She says she still doesn't want to lead another team but she agrees to be on the team to help. Luke thinks Clint means well but isn't leader material.

Meanwhile Power Man and Guten Glory are hanging out. Young Victor worries that he didn't make a good enough 1st impression. The older man is cleaning his big gun and tells him to just evaluate the flaws in his performance and do better next time. After PM leaves GG suffers an electric spasm and complains "No. Not now. Not yet."

Meanotherwhile Persuasion steps out of a long shower to find America Chavez sitting morosely on a bench. She leaves her there and we see America try to generate a star portal which fails and makes her be sick.

Mrean3rdwhile Hawkeye with his typical array of wound dressings tries to tell himself that he's still got what it takes. But his image in a mirror persists after he goes away, and it gains glowing red eyes and an evil grin.

Sean Izaakse
Sean Izaakse
Java Tartaglia
David Nakayama (Cover Penciler)
David Nakayama (Cover Inker)
David Nakayama (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Joe Sabino.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Emil Blonsky)

(Clint Barton)
Luke Cage
Luke Cage

(Power Man)
Ms. America
Ms. America

(America Chavez)
U.S. Agent
U.S. Agent

(John Walker)

Plus: Agony (Gemma Shin), Electro (Francine Frye), Gutsen Glory, Harris Hutchley, Helen Astrantia, Persuasion, Power Man (Victor Alvarez), Spectrum (Monica Rambeau), Whiplash (Anton Vanko).

> Thunderbolts: Book info and issue index

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