REVIEW: Thunderbolts #103

“Taking Civil Liberties”

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artist: Tom Grummett
Inker: Gary Erskine
Colorist: SotoColor’s J. Brown
Letterer: RS & Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne
Production: Tom Valente
Editor: Molly Lazer
Consulting Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics

When I think about Marvel Comics I always think back to when I first really started to get into the Avengers and Fantastic Four. Sure, the comics were different back then from the ones being published today, but there was a certain feel of the way the stories played out and the way the characters were written. I like a lot of the comics I read today and a lot of the writers that have really been at the forefront over the last 5-6 years have really done some great work, but only a handful make me think back to the way those comics were once written. Fabian Nicieza is one of those writers that makes me think back and reminds me that there are still writers like that writing some great Marvel comic books. Thunderbolts is one of those great, classic feeling titles that old-timers like me can sink our teeth into and really enjoy.

Thunderbolts has always been a commitment to read for fans of this series. There are things going on in this series that you have to be paying attention to see and you have to have been reading to really get the real meaning. But new readers can dive into this book with very little problem because things are always happening. There’s always something new coming up in each issue and there’s always a starting point for every reader no matter when they start reading. Nicieza is a great storytelling in those regards, and what he has been doing in the pages of Thunderbolts leading up to this Civil War tie-in have really shown that in spades.

When you’ve been reading Thunderbolts since the beginning or just since the last issue you know that Zemo is up to something. He’s always up to something. Is he being honest with what he’s saying, or is he just manipulating the facts in order to benefit himself and his vision of what needs to be done in the world. Zemo makes statements about wanting to save the world and that the Thunderbolts will have the means to be the saviors if certain measures are taken. See, perfect Zemo, but even though that’s the case, this issue makes everything that has come before look like child’s play.

Zemo, Mach IV, Fixer, and Radioactive Man meet with Herny Gyrich and Iron Man (along with Mr. Fantastic and Yellowjacket) to determine the Thunderbolts place in the Superhuman Registration Act that is now law. Everyone should know you can’t give Zemo a place in all of this without something happening, but Iron Man goes ahead and asks Zemo and the Thunderbolts to begin recruiting and registering super-villains.

Idiot.

This moment is a little shocking, but what is revealed at the end of this issue shocked me and actually made me grin. Yeah, grin. I just grin knowing that once again Fabian Nicieza had written one of those classic moments in Marvel history and I was there to see it happen. This is something that you’d see back in the 70s and 80s in the pages of Avengers and Fantastic Four. This is classic Marvel.

Tom Grummett is a great artist. It’s as simple as that when it comes to describing him. There’s nothing that’s flashy about Grummett’s art. He’s a strong artist that can provide solid art to a book and allows the story to be told without getting in the way. Grummett’s art style is a clean and classic style that shows emotion in the characters in body structure and facial expression. I like the fact that a series that’s being written in the way that Thunderbolts has been written since day one has an artist that can provide the same look and feel as the writing portrays.

To put it all in perspective, this is a true Civil War tie-in because of the interaction between the Thunderbolts and Iron Man. The Thunderbolts are going to be key players during and after the Civil War miniseries is published and its going to be very interesting how this B-List series with its C-List characters manage to play in an A-List storyline. Marvel isn’t leaving anyone behind with Civil War, and its nice to see the Thunderbolts playing a key role in things for a change.