“Thrilling Adventure Hour” co-creators Ben Acker and Ben Blacker return to General Thaddeus Ross’ team for an extended tour of duty as the new writers of “Thunderbolts” #27, just in time to kick off “The Punisher vs. Thunderbolts” story. As the title of the story implies, General Ross’ team finds itself at odds with Frank Castle, but the majority of this issue focuses on the anatomy of the team.
Acker and Blacker take inventory of the team, their personalities and their powers in this issue, giving readers a tight introduction to this mismatched team of moral misfits. As they do with their tales on “Thrilling Adventure Hour,” the writing duo bring along some of the humor inherent in the human condition and spin a yarn that forges its own path. The finale to “Thunderbolts” #27 happens organically and spins out of the adventure as the team finds their quarry and a disagreement to match. Acker and Blacker make this team of essentially unlikeable characters believable and engaging. (True, Red Leader and Red Hulk may never truly be likeable, but the writing team still does an admirable job.)
With Carlos Cuevas inking him, Carlo Barberi’s work is strong and lively, filled with detail and pulsing with characters moving through the panels and pages. Cuevas adds grit to Barberi’s work, which fits for a comic book filled with violence. The characters largely sport dour expressions throughout “Thunderbolts” #27, limiting Barberi’s ability to show off his range. The action and motion throughout the comic compensate nicely. Israel Silva’s color work threatens to drain printers of magenta and yellow ink, soaking up every bit to craft the crimson worn by the members of Thunderbolts. That tone is also used for the blood that flows in this comic book. More than once members of the team blend into the blood and vice versa. The colorist does manage to squeeze in blues and purples throughout the issue to break things up. The visuals in this issue are showcased nicely in the opening scene, including a wonderful drawing of Sunfire that makes a strong case for more of that character from Barberi’s pencil. Joe Sabino’s lettering is strong and concise, well placed throughout the story and nicely defined for characters and captions.
“Thunderbolts” #27 gives readers a new shot at an old concept filtered through new writers and makes a strong case for those readers to stick around. Nothing is solved, but plenty is started in this issue. Now would be a great time to check this comic book out if you haven’t in while. The Thunderbolts work nicely with Acker and Blacker, who waste no time finding a groove to rock out.