Marvel Comics (June, 1997)
“Too Many Masters!”
WRITER: Kurt Busiek
PENCILER: Mark Bagley
INKER: Vince Russell
COLORIST: Joe Rosas
LETTERER: Dave Lamphear
EDITOR: Tom Brevoort
Mach-1 captures a bad guy but steals his loot, which doesn’t sit well with Baron Zemo since it messes with their plans. As Four Freedoms is rebuilt with the Thunderbolts symbol, the “heroes” learn that another group has taken the name Masters Of Evil, only they’re working for a group trying to consolidate the criminal underworld in New York after the Onslaught disaster. Black Widow wants them as well, deciding that she wants to work alone and take down all outstanding criminals the Avengers fought. Eventually the old and new Masters clash, with the Thunderbolts victorious. However, they return home to find a teenage girl…namely Haley, who has escaped from the her captors and seeks the Fantastic Four’s help (not realizing they’re suffering a fate worse than death…namely Heroes Reborn) and she’ll go through the Thunderbolts to do it!
What they got right: Since they developed a new Masters Of Evil it’s only right to have them confront the originals in their fake hero personas. The fights are good as the new Masters show they’re at least capable of standing up to their predecessors. Also we’ll finally get a resolution to the Haley subplot before it gets old.
What they got wrong: All I have is a word balloon that is supposed to be pointing to Citizen V but isn’t really pointing to anyone, Atlas being the closest person.
Recommendation: Still an excellent run on the early days of the comic and a good concept. Track these early issues down.