Thunderbolts #1 Review: There Is No High Road Part 1


The Thunderbolts are back and they brought along a cosmic cube to help their cause. Bucky Barnes tries to lead these misfits to victory in a new series

Thunderbolts #1
Written by Jim Zub
Artwork by Jon Malin
Colored by Matt Yackey
Published by Marvel Comics

In the wake of Avengers: Standoff at Pleasant Hill, a new team of Thunderbolts is formed, the anti-heroes who at times commit the questionable actions for the betterment of society as a whole.

Writer Jim Zub (Wayward, Samurai Jack, Legends of the Dar Knight) brings this new group of anti-heroes together to continue the mission of keeping the world safe. Bucky Barnes took over Nick Fury’s job of protecting the world from outer-galactic enemies and now he has enlisted the help of Atlas, Moonstone, the Fixer, Mach-X, along with the entity Kobik who has the power of a cosmic cube in the form of a four-year-old girl.

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Illustrator Jon Malin (New Warriors, Nitrogen, Venture) brings the characters to vibrant life in the first issue. Not only does he draw the personalities of the characters to the tee but the reader could feel the emotions coming off the book from page to page.

The issue starts off with the Thunderbolts at a classified S.H.I.E.L.D. base; the team is there to delete the files concerning Pleasant Hill and on the Thunderbolts themselves since technically they are fugitives from the law. Barnes has taken it upon himself to hold the largest spy agency in the world accountable for their actions. He will no longer allow them to be the bad guys with a badge; he wants to not only bring down S.H.I.E.L.D. but to humble them as well. The team easily handles the opposition, and they are in and out of the base within 13 minutes.

The way the issue jumps right into the action is fantastic. Often in the first issue of a series, there is a long drawn out introduction to get the reader familiar with the characters. But Zub decides to skip the pleasantries and get right to the action. The pace of the issue does not slow down there; the team goes back to their secret base to debrief, and the team already starts to bicker at the sad physical state of the hideout. Kobik, being the happy toddler that she is decides to make things right by transforming the base into a first class state of the art living facility.

Although Kobik is technically an object, Zub brings her to life in ways readers did not see during the Avengers Standoff event. Kobik was always emotional, but Zub gives her the personality that a typical four-year-old would usually have when it comes to life. The last part of the issue is the team going to another S.H.I.E.L.D. secret base to retrieve valuable information. Initially, Barnes left Kobik at the hideout to stand guard but being a small child, she got scared and instantly made herself a part of the mission. When Moonstone and Barnes start arguing about who should be the lead the Thunderbolts, Kobik does something so shocking that it leaves the reader speechless by the end of the issue.

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The Bottom Line: Thunderbolts #1 was a great opening issue. Readers get to see a glimpse of all the characters, how they act and more importantly how they work with each other. Zub is bringing his all it seems to this series, and if it continues at this rate, the issues will get better from here on out.