Saturday, 22 April 2017

The End of the Thunderbolts?

Apologies for a delay in posting!!! I'm going to touch on both Secret Empire #0 and Thunderbolts #12 to make up for my tardiness!

Before I jump into the thick of it I have some dreadful news ...

Apparently this could be the "end-end" of T-Bolts. T-Bolts was originally going to be picked up again later this year (Autumn/Winter maybe?) but that might not be the case. I can't for the life of me fathom why when every comic shop I've been to has sold out of most, if not all, copies of Thunderbolts for most issues. I don't think my city is exceptional in terms of comic readership, if anything, it's a pretty small market, but compared to other comics but TBolts was doing incredibly well. I was late getting into town this week and I kid you not, I went to 3 of the major comic shops and #12 was sold out in two of them and in the third shop I was lucky enough to pick up the last copy. This wasn't even a week after TBolts came out so it would have been in the new release category and had already sold out in 3 stores within a week. Further, when I look at back issues/older issues, TBolts is hard to find in an abundance. I can't speak for every territory I saw pretty good sales in my territory ... unless they stocked particularly low numbers of Tbolts for ... reasons? 

Anyway, that aside, TBolts might not be picked up which ... makes literally no sense to me and I can only hope Marvel change their minds regarding this decision because, despite its explosive ending, I don't think the TBolts are totally wrapped up and the series sold pretty well to my knowledge. Anyway, complaints aside, lets get into Tbolts and Secret Empire because that's what you came here for. 

Back to Thunderbasics

TBolts begins with Jolt and Atlas in "present day", so no more WW2 stuff. Because this issue gets so heavy, I think Zub, Malin and Yackey wanted to start on a happy note, so Jolt helps Atlas back on his feet and the pair endeavour to help Bucky and the others although Jolt (rightly) points out that Atlas is in no fit state to take on Zemo and the Masters of Evil. 

If you were left wondering what happened to Bucky who appeared to be getting blown to smithereens by a moody cosmic cube in the last issue ... Well Kobik and Bucky make an explosive return to "present day" Thunderbase. Kobik is distraught and unhappy to say the least. Given the extent of manipulation she's been subjected to at the hands of SHIELD, Redskull, even the Thunderbolts and dare I say Bucky? (Despite his good intentions, he certainly influenced her, good, bad or otherwise), it comes as no surprise she reached a breaking point. 

She zaps herself and Bucky back to the present where Zemo and the Masters, Fixer and Moonstone all await him. 
Mach X and Songbird are cornered by the Masters and fighting a losing battle. I know this is a comic, but Wrecker's brutal attack on Mach X (literally beating his head in with a crowbar) actually made me somewhat uncomfortable, on top of Melissa's broken ribs at the hands of Thunderball ... it was somewhat more visceral than the other fights the TBolts engaged in. I think it may be in part due to the fact I felt a real sense of peril for the characters since everything was going wrong, I felt like this wasn't another battle they would win against the odds. For the first time ever, it felt like they'd lose ... which they basically did. 

All was not lost though ... I mean ... remember a prediction I made waaaaay back forever ago? WELLLL IT WAS RIGHT!!! Ghost wasn't a throwaway easter egg. He attempted to turn the tides in favour of Songbird and Mach X although it was a case of too little too late, especially given the fact a sentient cosmic cube was destroying reality right above their heads ... BUT HEY CHECK IT OUT! GHOST'S HERE!
Who needs a guardian angel when you can have a guardian Ghostie!!!
While Bucky goes toe-to-toe with Zemo (and wins), Moonstone and Fixer worry about Kobik. Jolt and Atlas attempt to calm her down and Moonstone toys with the idea of killing Zemo. When Bucky tells her not to kill Zemo ... Moonstone has other plans. She'll kill Zemo even if it means taking out Bucky first... So much for team spirit!
Zemo and Bucky are downed and Kobik is spiralling out of control, Jolt and Atlas can't control or contain such vast amounts of energy. Fixer fumbles as he considers taking the shot to end it all. At this point, despite Kobik's memory tampering and their strained relationship, it appears that Fixer was beginning to understand and similarly adopt Bucky's approach to her. He did start calling her she and was less frosty toward her but ultimately, he apologises to Bucky and takes the shot. 

The panels that depicted Kobik's destruction and the immediate aftermath, Abe and Melissa being separated as they were pummelled with the rubble of the Thunderbase, Kobik apologising and telling Bucky ... and the other Tbolts possibly, that she loved them ... These panels killed me, they were beautiful and painful. Kobik and Bucky's distress was tangible. Zemo takes advantage of the distraction to knock Bucky out while he has his back turned. 

Even Fixer appears moved by the whole thing, as he notes Kobik used the last of her energy to protect them from the explosion... I hope I'm not the only one who thinks Fixer was growing attached to Kobik in his own weird way.

All hope is not lost however, as Fixer notes that Kobik broke into shards which spread across the planet and can be traced. Atlas emerges from the rubble, Zemo orders him to pick up Bucky, the Zemo-TBolts are going on an adventure ... presumably to find the Kobik shards or cause more chaos. Moonstone immediately jumps in with Zemo (despite wanting to kill him seconds ago ... Karla just can't play well with others), Fixer begrudgingly has to lead them to the pieces of Kobik so he's roped in with Zemo and Atlas, looking dejected, picks up Bucky and they vanish into a portal. Atlas himself said he's a follower, with no alternative, he rolls with Zemo but it's pretty clear he's not as happy about this arrangement as he could be... Not that anyone could blame him, Zemo points out that basically everything is his fault because he inadvertently led Zemo and Co to Thunderbase. 

Later, Songbird emerges from beneath the snow and ruins of Thunderbase, weeps for Abe who is presumed dead, and she begins to walk away towards ... goodness knows what but I'm sure she'll make her way into Secret Empire pretty easily. Ghost emerges from the snow and picks up a Jolt who, utterly exhausted, has shrunk down to a teeny tiny size. 

So that was TBolts. A few of my predictions came true in some shape or form others didn't.
  • All my nagging about Ghost paid off ... he came, he saw, he ... didn't conquer much but hey, there he was!
  • Abe and Melissa didn't side with Zemo, as I sorta suspected, unfortunately their escape didn't go as well as I'd guessed it would ... Guess I got too optimistic there. 
  • The Inhumans incident was ... never touched on again ... although all this drama with Ulysses kept them busy I guess and the Tbolts weren't exactly following the news to hear when their names were cleared because they were getting beaten up ... I wish they'd wrapped it up though.
  • HYDRA-Cap is still "unknown" to the Tbolts except for Bucky and Zemo, but with Secret Empire going down, this won't remain secret for long. Ulysses vision is also hanging in the air, Tbolts would have been too soon to wrap up that prediction though, it is continuing in Secret Empire. 
  • Abe's role in PH remained a secret, but it would have been interesting to see Atlas' response, had he known. 
  • I guessed that Fixer and/or Moonstone would have a change of heart, and I think I'll give myself a point for that, I assumed Fixer would have a change of heart and Moonstone would roll with Zemo and for the most part, it seems clear that Fixer's heart is with Bucky but his head with Zemo. If he wasn't truly invested in Bucky's Bolts, why would he apologise "Sorry Boss" before taking a shot at Kobik. Moonstone on the other hand is as cold and heartless as ever (but I still can't help but love her ...)
  • Jolt and Erik choose sides ... sort of happened. Atlas was forced to team up with Zemo and Jolt slipped away (or rather shrank away due to Kobik's energy overload). Now they find each other in different camps but I highly doubt they'll part forever. 
This post is getting a wee bit long so I won't go into Secret Empire #0 just yet, A LOT happened in TBolts. I'll try keep this brief, but with Kobik blown up ... and history sort of "stuck" now ... perhaps that explains the controversial twist revealed in Secret Empire #0, but more on that next time!!

Thanks for reading! 

P.s. If you can, drop a message to asking them to consider renewing TBolts (remember to be polite!!!) and hopefully they'll pick it up again. There is SO much more that can happen with the Tbolts, the story is certainly far from over and it would be fantastic to see it played out properly rather than see it in a 4-panel side-note in some other story. I think these characters deserve more than a mere mention in one of the bigger arcs to wrap up the next part of the story and Zub & Co were absolutely FANTASTIC. TBolts is faaaar from over and we know it!!!