Marvel Comics (July, 1997)
“A Shock To The System”
WRITER: Kurt Busiek
PENCILER: Mark Bagley
INKER: Vince Russell
COLORIST: Joe Rosas
LETTERERS: Dave Lamphear & OG
EDITOR: Tom Brevoort
After hearing Hallie’s story, the Thunderbolts go in pursuit of her friends, giving her a costume because Techno’s machine doesn’t do “street clothes”. The trail leads to one of Doctor Doom’s old castles, but he is also stuck in the Marvel Reborn situation (and I actually feel sorry for him) so he can’t be responsible. The Thunderbolts break in, and Hallie tags along. Zemo has Fixer/Techno set up some remote cameras to cover their mission as Hallie learns what became of the other kids, turned into mutations by Arnim Zola, who is also responsible for her new powers. Hallie manages to break through to the mutated kids as Zola forces them into one large biomass, and they destroy themselves. The press arrives just as the Thunderbolts take Zola in, but to Citizen V’s surprise the girl made an impact on the audience. Moonstone/Meteorite manipulates Zemo into accepting her onto the team, where she takes the name Jolt. But what is the not-so-good doctor scheming this time?
What they got right: Jolt is a good character and I hope more has been done positively with her…actually I just looked her up and that’s negligible. That’s a commentary for another time though. I like her personality later on and if the Thunderbolts really were evil (no jumping ahead, those of you who know what happens) she would be a good addition to the team. I also like how Zemo is surprised that the crowd takes to Hallie so fast but Moonstone was well aware of it seeing as she understands people and despite her love of manipulating others she lacks Zemo’s ego.
What they got wrong: Things are speeding up again. The Avengers took a lot longer to get the clearances that are being dropped immediately on the Thunderbolts and there are other teams that never got that level of support. The Heroes For Hire were reforming as we saw recently but I bet they don’t get that clearance. Again, I know they’re hurting for new heroes and the Thunderbolts have a lot of support but at times it feels like Busiek is speeding this along so he can tell his story before Marvel is dumb enough to pull him off of it. And given Marvel’s mindset at the time he might have had reason to be concerned.
Recommendation: This is still an enjoyable story. Give these original issues a look.