Home > Marvel Comics > Avengers/Thunderbolts #4

Avengers/Thunderbolts #4

June 5, 2004

Quick Rating: Great
Title: Betrayal

The Avengers try to put a stop to the Thunderbolts’ plan… but should they?

Writers: Kurt Busiek & Fabian Nicieza
Pencils: Tom Grummett
Inks: Gary Erskine
Colors: Brian Reber
Letters: Albert Deschesne
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Cover Art: Barry Kitson
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Kurt Busiek and Fabian Niceza tackle a pretty worn-out theme with this issue of Avengers/Thunderbolts, but they come at it from a fresh angle that makes this issue soar. Baron Zemo has had the Fixer construct a device that will steal “transnormal” energy from all over the world, effectively destroying nuclear weapons, gamma radiation and other power sources. The Avengers burst in on them to try to stop them… but the question arises, should they?

The theme of superheroes using their power to try to take over or “guide” the world is pretty well-worn territory. It was done in Watchmen, it was done in Squadron Supreme, and it’s been done in lots of other places. For the first time, though, that theme is being tackled in a storyline that really is presenting both sides equally – you can understand why the Thunderbolts would go along with the plot. Even if Zemo’s motives are suspect, his ends seem to be benevolent. On the other hand, you’ve got Captain America arguing that it is not their place to force their will on the people of the world. Neither side of the debate is given the short shrift, and Hawkeye becomes the readers’ viewpoint character, torn between the two teams.

The temptation is often to show characters like Cap as naïve in a situation like this, but Captain America is not a naïve man and he doesn’t come across that way. When Zemo’s scheme starts to send the powers of certain Avengers haywire, it is clear that he hasn’t totally thought this through. On the other hand, Zemo does something in this issue that makes you think his motives may actually be altruistic.

Tom Grummett, again filling in for Barry Kitson (if an artist does a full third of a miniseries, is he really a guest penciller?), does his usual strong job. His characters are typically strong, and I particularly like his work on the armored Cobalt Man and Captain America, and even a one-panel cameo by the Fantastic Four makes me think he’d be great for a run on that title.

It has been more or less confirmed that Marvel is batting around a new Thunderbolts series. If this miniseries is any indication of the quality and theme of the stories, it will be one of their best titles.

Rating: 9/10

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