Marvel Comics (1997)
“The Origin Of The Thunderbolts!”
WRITER: Kurt Busiek
PENCILERS: Mark Bagley, Bob McCleod, Tom Grummett, Ron Randal, Gene Colan, Darick Robertson, George Pérez, & Chris Marrinan
INKERS: Al Milgrom, Will Blyberg, Scott Koblish, Jim Sanders, Tom Palmer, Bruce Patterson, Karl Kesel, & Andrew Pepoy
COLORIST: Joe Rosas
LETTERER: Dave Lanphear
EDITOR: Tom Brevoort
Now that Jolt is part of the team she wants to know how Citizen V formed the Thunderbolts. Not wanting to spill the beans he fudges slightly. Zemo was looking for a new plan after all his failures and his wife’s death. During his search he came across Goliath’s screams as he was being tortured by the Kosmos in their dimension. Seeking the Fixer’s aid in rescuing he also came up with the idea of reforming the Masters Of Evil, and sought out others. Screaming Mimi had destroyed her vocal cords after the death of her lover, Angar the Screamer after a bank robbery. Fixer designed her a new carapace based on Klaw’s sonic sound technology. Zemo then sought out the Beetle, who was robbed by his own men and barely escaped Daredevil with Zemo’s help. But before Zemo could launch his new scheme the Onslaught incident happened, sending various heroes to their death (although actually a pocket dimension but nobody knows that yet), ruining Zemo’s revenge. Only fighting Kosmos to reclaim Goliath reawakened Zemo’s spirit and when he suggested they should take the hero job with the Avengers and other heroes gone, Zemo came up with the Thunderbolts scheme. they broke Moonstone out of prison and she reluctantly joined since the “prison break” would add more years to her sentence. Jolt is fine with this story, but Meteorite is still scheming.
What they got right: This was a big story and it used all of that extra space well. You kind of feel sorry for Screaming Mimi, now Songbird since she has new powers, and the former Beetle, although more Mimi. While Dr. Sofen sees holes (which I’m sure she hopes to exploit for whatever her ultimate goal is) I give Zemo/Citizen V credit for trying to hide the real story with a fake one close to it. Seeing Citizen V’s reaction to the happy hug from Jolt was interesting. And the various art styles (a different penciler/inker team each story) didn’t hurt the visuals, although Gene Colan and Tom Palmer (if I counted the pages right) had the best art with Screaming Mimi’s story.
What they got wrong: This story needed a larger comic than the usual page count, but considering how few issues there were why was this an annual? I know it didn’t quite match the Flashback Month theme since this was an origin and not random history, but it’s a bit early for it to be called an annual. I also hope Hallie was wearing underwear because that skirt is waaaaaay too high considering this is a teenage girl being drawn. I don’t care if girls actually dress like that, it doesn’t mean that’s a good thing. Call me a prude if you want.
Recommendation: It’s a surprisingly good story for one focusing solely on villains and worth checking out if you’re following these early issues of the series. If not this might make you check it out.