Marvel Comics (July, 1998)
“Thunder & Lightning”
WRITER: Kurt Busiek
PENCILER: Mark Bagley
INKER: Scott Hanna
COLORIST: Joe Rosas
LETTERER: Sidbhan Hanna
EDITOR: Tom Brevoort
After the success of the Thunderbolts as heroes the Great Lakes Avengers decided to continue their knockoff status and christen themselves the Lightning Rods. (The leader, Mr Immortal, is kind of an idiot.) However, they do put up a good fight before the remaining Thunderbolts work together to take them down and sneak past SHIELD. While planning their next move (and Melissa continues to fall further back into Screaming Mimi’s mindset) the Hulk appears nearby and starts leveling a nearby town. The Thunderbolts decide to go after him though Abe isn’t so sure. He’s right because it turns out to not be the Hulk but an energy-absorbing robot sent by Techno and Zemo to take them down. While all this is going on Erik returns home to apologize to his family only to find his parents dead, his brother leaving to take on an assumed named and his other brother drunk with their farm closed down. After Lindy’s death, Erik disappeared only to return as the supervillain Power Man, which turned the town against the rest of the Josten family. The other brother owes money to a loan shark and when Erik interferes they both end up in trouble until Erik uses his powers to save them. Except the brother was shot and dies, leaving nobody left for Erik to turn to. Meanwhile, Zemo has a challenger to take down the Thunderbolts…Citizen V?
What they got right: As much as I don’t care about the Great Lakes Avengers or whatever they’re calling themselves this week at least the fight was good. What they lack in common sense they make up for with fighting skill.
What they got wrong: At one point Songbird actually refers to herself as Screaming Mimi. This is personal preference mind you because it’s not bad from a writing perspective but I’d rather she find a way to be a stronger person without falling back to her supervillain persona. Hopefully Abe can either get her to see reason or just break off the romance for his own sake.
Recommendation: Still enjoying this run. Worth checking out.