What can I say, when I'm right, I'm right. In the review for issue 144 I stated that one of two things would happen with issue 145. The book would either take a turn down the tired road its tread upon before by having Zemo take control of the team again. Or it would make the obvious and less imaginative choice of having Zemo's appearance only be a test. I put my money on it being a test and it seems to have paid off! The story begins the same way as the previous issue ended, Zemo shouting at the new "Bolts" to get on his plane so he could once again assume control of the team he created. Crossbones, is the first to trade sides as he jumps right on board and waits for takeoff. Juggernaut on the other hand decides to jump ship completely and dives into the water making for an all out escape. That leaves The Ghost and Moonstone to make their decision. Moonstone decides that she'd rather be in control of the team and begins battling Zemo. The Ghost is able to see through the trick and simply stands on the sidelines. Cage pops up from his self-induced coma and calls an end to the field test. The team fails with flying colors which surprises no one. Cage makes his point to the team that they are being controlled and need to remember that they're on a leash. Moonstone gets in his face about the bluntness of his actions, in which Cage informs the team that he wouldn't have picked a damn one of them if it was his choice. This is an important moment as it shows the type of leader Cage is and that he has a lot of work to do if he's going to earn the respect of his team and vice versa. The team is sent out on their first mission to capture some escaped trolls from Asgard that are running amuck. It seems like a really bad idea to everyone involved taking a team that has only just been formed and nearly escaped, into the field, but Cage does it anyways. Man Thing functions as Pym said he would and transports them to the last known location of the trolls. The team springs into the action, each one trying their own way of doing things leading to complete chaos. Although predictable, this book was still really fun to read. Jeff Parker (Atlas) adds his own twist to the Thunderbolts after several high profile creators have come and gone from the title. It's a statement of his talent that he's able to seamlessly take over the book and make it his own. Parker is a much different writer from Andy Diggle (Losers, Shadowland) and Warren Ellis (Astonishing X-Men, Planetary) but he's able to continue their work in his own way, without a huge shift in the style/narrative of the book. The art is a good fit for the story and gives the book a serious tone without it being too dark like previous versions. Kev Walker's style is not too realistic, but very stylized. Everything has a gritty real world look, but it doesn't lose the loose cartoony lines he draws. The entire book is full of grey tones which play heavily into the fact that this is not a true "super hero" title, but a villain's title. Parker seems to be finding a unique path for the Thunderbolts to head down. Hopefully he stays the course and doesn't fall into the usual short-comings the title finds itself in. As it stands now this is a surprisingly strong title and continues the success the series has been enjoying since Ellis was on the book. Story – 7.5 Plot – 8.0 Art – 7.0 Color – 8.0 Overall – 7.6 I think maybe they should add Batroc to the team that would be interesting! Follow Dustin on Twitter and leave a comment saying who the next addition to the Thunderbolts should be.
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