Thunderbolts #162

In what is becoming a quite pleasant trend at Marvel these past few months, "Thunderbolts" is using the events of "Fear Itself" to advance its own storylines a great deal. When we'd last seen our group of reluctant prisoners, a horde of monsters was about to attack Chicago, even as the B-Team began to ready their own escape.

So of course, this issue, things get worse.

The monsters pouring out of the warhead are the MacGuffin, though our leads are too caught in the center to realize it. They're so distracted with trying to save Chicago that they're missing the real danger just behind them, and as the story builds, we begin to realize that for some of the Thunderbolts, it's too late. It's a good story structure from Jeff Parker, although it does lack a tiny bit of its normal punch because it's much more of a transitional issue than one where everything comes to a climax.

Still, as distractions go, between the monsters horde attacking and Man-Thing's bizarre metamorphosis, it's entertaining. We get the best Giant-Sized Man-Thing joke I've seen (and no, it's not the obvious one), Fixer pouring Mr. Hyde's serum down his throat in a horrible yet amusing moment, and Satana is stealing every scene she's in.

The art is a tiny bit uneven with two artists splitting the duties, but Valentine de Landro and Matthew Southworth each do a nice job in their own right. De Landro's smooth figures are consistent, and I like how Southworth (whose "Stumptown" with Greg Rucka I miss a great deal and hope to see return soon) has a slightly more stringy, thin-lined take on the characters. The two might not be a perfect match with one another, but they're both good enough that you can't really complain.

"Thunderbolts" this month gets the ball fully rolling on the B-Team's revolt, but as said before, it's much more of a transition issue than we normally have on the book. Still, where it's going looks quite promising, and I don't think any "Thunderbolts" fan will have room to complain. I'm certainly up for the next issue.

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