Thunderbolts #129

Okay, so let me get this straight: President Obama has been informed by Leonard Samson that he has footage of Norman Osborn putting on his Green Goblin costume and acting all insane as depicted in "Caged Angels," so Obama has invited Osborn on board Air Force One to get his response to these allegations and that's when the plane is hijacked, Samson has a gamma freakout, and the Green Goblin attacks?

Gee, that doesn't seem too coincidental at all, does it? Too easy? Too basic? Too stupid? All of the above? Why, yes, sir, I'd have to say "all of the above!"

The idea here may seem good, but when you stop to think about it, it's just awful. Just when Osborn was going to be exposed as the Green Goblin, the Goblin himself shows up trying to kill the president, allowing Osborn to beat him up and save the day? It's so ludicrous and dumb that I can't believe anyone is supposed to buy it, least of all the president-who-is-Obama-but-must-never-be-shown-directly. Granted, he always remains wary of Osborn, but the manner in which this situation is handled is so neat and tidy that it cannot be taken seriously.

Now, maybe that's the point. Maybe there's a subtext here, suggesting that the president doesn't buy any of it but doesn't want to alert Osborn. Maybe we're supposed to see it as a clear-as-day showcase of Osborn's insanity. But, I somehow doubt it and, really, it's just insulting to the intelligence of the reader. This is the sort of absurd plot that you would expect to see turn up in a blog post mocking a lame-yet-hilarious Silver Age comic.

Roberto de la Torre provides most of the art and his slightly askew style works for the feel of unbalance this comic is going for. He handles the "Obama problem" ably enough, and chooses odd, unusual angles for his panels. His depiction of the inside of Air Force One, though, seems inconsistent and it's hard to tell what the interior setting is supposed to look like. Things aren't helped by Carlos Magno's filling in for the middle of the issue where the color-over-pencils look shifts to color-over-inks and doesn't fit together with de la Torre's work at all. Magno's art is much more mediocre and generic, leaving no strong impression.

As well, the new black ops Thunderbolts squad leaves no strong impression on their first mission. They show up, they do some things, but none of them have any real personality. Hopefully, this will be rectified in the next few issues, but, for an introduction, there isn't much here.

Instead of helping Norman Osborn move past his checkered past, all this issue does is point out, quite blatantly, how insane he is and that no one in the story seems to notice is conspicuous and baffling. It's hard to remember how great this book was just one year ago.

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