Written by: Jim Zub
Art by: Sean Izaakse, Netho Diaz, Victor Nava
Colors by: Java Tartaglia
Letters by: VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover art by: Sean Izaakse , Nolan Woodard
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: December 28, 2022
Thunderbolts #5 ends the mini-series with the reveal of the villain behind all of the team’s recent troubles.
Is It Good?
There’s no way to talk about Thunderbolts #5 without revealing who the secret villain really is. Therefore, major spoilers are ahead. If you don’t want to know, turn back now.
Okay, you’ve been warned. The team fell into a surreal mind trap courtesy of longtime Doctor Strange villain, Nightmare. His goal? Take over America Chavez’s mind and use her dimension-hopping powers to absorb nightmare energy from across the multiverse.
I lamented in the previous issue’s review how it seemed highly improbable Jim Zub could rap up the entire series in a single issue while making sure every loose thread received a proper conclusion. Leaning on the “it was all just a dream” trope is probably the smartest and closest Zub could get to pulling off a successful ending, so kudos to Zub for making the right creative call.
However, some threads are still left dangling. Who or what is Gutsen Glory, where did he come from, and why does he look like a Cable knockoff? If America was under Nightmare’s influence, why were her powers failing? How much of Hawkeye’s behavior, and the mini-series as a whole, was real versus Nightmare’s distorted version of reality?
Zub does a commendable job wrapping the series up without making it feel incomplete or rushed, but the cracks are showing, and you can’t help but suspect the mini would have benefited from either revealing Nightmare earlier or adding an extra issue.
In terms of writing execution, the technical bits are well done. The pacing is smooth and brisk, the dialog is excellent, and the feel-good ending leaves the Thunderbolts on a hopeful note for the future.
In terms of art quality, Izaakse, Diaz, Nava, and Tartaglia pull off an impressive set of visuals. Once Nightmare steps to the front and unleashes his hellish visions, the art team flexes more than a few creative muscles to engage your eyeballs.
About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.
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Thunderbolts #5 ends the limited series the only way it could for a nearly complete conclusion. The main villain makes sense for the surreal troubles the team has endured, and most of the threads get a complete explanation. That said, a few questions remain unanswered, and while the issue doesn’t feel rushed, the arc certainly does.