Written by: Jim Zub
Art by: Sean Izaakse
Colors by: Java Tartaglia
Letters by: Vc’s Joe Sabino
Cover art by: Sean Izaakse, Chris O’Halloran, David Nakayama
Cover price: $4.99
Release date: August 31, 2022
Thunderbolts #1 reinvents the team and its brand as the new Mayor of NYC, Luke Cage, puts a new group in place with heroes instead of Wilson Fisk’s cadre of villains. Can the Mayor’s office reclaim a tarnished brand?
Is It Good?
Thunderbolts #1 is fine. You could even conclude it has potential. The first issue serves mostly as a light introduction to Luke Cage’s project and the new teammates, but what Zub put together shows promise.
The central premise revolves around Mayor Luke Cage gathering a PR and Marketing team to reclaim the Thunderbolts brand after Wilson Fisk’s disastrous decision to populate the group with criminals to do his nefarious bidding. Cage wants the Thunderbolts name to stand for something good, as long as it hits all the key demographics on social media.
Therein lies the conundrum. There’s a heavy marketing spin to the proceedings that some readers might find eye-rolling, distasteful, or both. Populating the team with heroes based on algorithms and demographic trends makes sense from a data analytics point of view, but as the story points out, the team composition has all the heart and soul of a manufactured 90s Boy Band. Conversely, the story makes sense for how a government office would assemble a super team in the modern age. A higher calling is irrelevant when you need to get your approval rating up in the 18- to 24-year-old demographic.
Thankfully, there’s more to the story than politics and number crunching. The teammates are all familiar characters, except one. Their first mission – apprehend the former Thunderbolts attempting a jailhouse break – makes sense as a proving ground to get to know their powers and personalities. And the way the team doesn’t come together into a well-oiled machine gives Clint Barton just the right challenge for his unique set of skills.
Is it good? The jury is still out, but the potential is there, and except for the egregious use of the reviled “Latinx” word, the issue is relatively cringe-free.
About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.
Thunderbolts #1 is a surprisingly solid setup issue that brings a new team together under the authority of Mayor Luke Cage. The introductions are well-paced and shown rather than simply told. There are intriguing hints that not every team member is problem-free. And the rationale behind forming a new team makes sense for the story Zub is telling.