A Cursed Waste

Jeff Parker and Kev Walker's Thunderbolts has been pretty damn good since they took over the book a couple of months ago. Walker's art, which I've never seen any of elsewhere, is killer- it's got this sort of cartoon-y energy that I really enjoy and that lends itself well to dynamic storytelling. His slight redesigns of the characters are pretty cool too: it hits a perfect sort of stylized realism that, combined with the rest of the aesthetic, reminds me of the Dodsons in concept, if not entirely in style.

Parker's dialogue and plotting, usually fantastic, is particularly so here. He nails an interesting Luke Cage, and his Thunderbolts (in particular Crossbones and Juggernaut) are much, much more dynamic and nuanced than they are usually portrayed. This is a fascinating team, and the scribe takes full advantage of what makes them so curious- a few of them appear to be actually trying to do good, actually trying to redeem themselves in one way or another. The others are just violent lunatics, but still pretty interesting ones.

And then there's Man Thing.

Clearly, Parker's having some fun here, and it comes through: this is a pretty entertaining comic book. Beyond that, though, it's also a pretty good comic book, and that comes into focus pretty clearly in #147. The exceedingly silly Avengers Academy tie-in is unnecessary and is the one down note of an otherwise excellent comic (and an incredibly uninteresting one at that- I bought the first of the AA issues associated with this ish of Thunderbolts and I have no idea how anyone finds those characters intriguing). Beyond that, though, there are some great character moments here, and some even better fight scenes- this is the first time we get a real clear idea of where exactly each of the players stand and what exactly they're after. Warden Walker (formerly US Agent) wants respect, as do Cage and Songbird, but the Warden has to work a little harder from down in his wheelchair to get it- but get it he does. Juggernaut, too, gets a fascinating little arc, and whether he's playing at something or if he's actually seeking a little bit of grace will be something to watch from Parker's Thunderbolts next.

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