Marvel Comics (December, 1998)
“Decisions” part 2: “Trust”
WRITER: Kurt Busiek
PENCILER: Mark Bagley
INKER: Scott Hanna
COLORIST: Joe Rosas
LETTERER: Sidbhan Hanna
EDITOR: Tom Brevoort
Hawkeye earns a few minutes to talk by holding his own against the Thunderbolts. He’s offering to take over the team and help clear their name, which he claims is sanctioned by the The Commission On Superhuman Activities. (In truth they hate the idea and warn him that if he tries they’ll consider him a villain as well.) Songbird is the only one who questions the plan (granted, Moonstone is only going along with it because she thinks Hawkeye is stupid, and probably thinks she can manipulate him) and storms off. MACH-1 goes after her, telling Hawkeye that he’s going to have to trust they won’t run off as much as they have to trust him to clear them. Songbird and MACH-1 reconcile while Hawkeye comes up with a plan to get them away from the National Guard. The Thunderbolts all agree to his terms, but first he adds one more: the Beetle once murdered a man and MACH-1 (the same guy with a new name) must serve his time for it, Hawkeye believing it’s the only crime that won’t be forgiven easily.
What they got right: This is the part I’ve been waiting for. We finally get an explanation for why Songbird has been devolving back into “Screaming Mimi” and it makes total sense. Plus it seems she will keep the confidence but lose the attitude, which is what I’ve been asking for. And Abe does it by caring rather than telling her off, which admittedly I do like better in the end. Hawkeye trying to clear the team (due to his own history as an accidental villain) also works and I’m looking forward to what will come of that.
What they got wrong: I’m admittedly not fully aware of Beetle’s history (and if memory serves the circumstances of the murder is explained next issue) but he’s the only one who murdered someone? The one character here I do know about is Atlas, during his days as Goliath. This includes his first appearance with the size-changing powers when he tore Los Angeles apart! He never killed anyone as Power Man? In fact I think he killed the lawyer that got him free. Really Jolt is the only one here who isn’t a criminal.
Recommendation: This is still a good version of the team and it redeems Songbird. Check it out.