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Venom, lethal protector The enigmatic Moonstone Bullseye, the man who never misses Songbird, mistress of sound Chen Lu, the Radioactive Man Swordsman, master of the blade The mystery man called Penance And Norman Osborn, the Green Goblin They're America's newest celebrities, ready to take to the skies at a moment's notice in pursuit of those secret, unregistered superhuman Venom, lethal protector The enigmatic Moonstone Bullseye, the man who never misses Songbird, mistress of sound Chen Lu, the Radioactive Man Swordsman, master of the blade The mystery man called Penance And Norman Osborn, the Green Goblin They're America's newest celebrities, ready to take to the skies at a moment's notice in pursuit of those secret, unregistered superhumans hiding among us They're the All-New, All-Deadly Thunderbolts - making the world a safer place for ordinary people one would-be costumed hero at a time In the wake of Civil War, Warren Ellis and Mike Deodato present a dark and disturbing take on Marvel's Most Wanted, where the line between hero and villain is difficult to find - if it exists at all Collects Thunderbolts #110-115, and Thunderbolts Special.


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Venom, lethal protector The enigmatic Moonstone Bullseye, the man who never misses Songbird, mistress of sound Chen Lu, the Radioactive Man Swordsman, master of the blade The mystery man called Penance And Norman Osborn, the Green Goblin They're America's newest celebrities, ready to take to the skies at a moment's notice in pursuit of those secret, unregistered superhuman Venom, lethal protector The enigmatic Moonstone Bullseye, the man who never misses Songbird, mistress of sound Chen Lu, the Radioactive Man Swordsman, master of the blade The mystery man called Penance And Norman Osborn, the Green Goblin They're America's newest celebrities, ready to take to the skies at a moment's notice in pursuit of those secret, unregistered superhumans hiding among us They're the All-New, All-Deadly Thunderbolts - making the world a safer place for ordinary people one would-be costumed hero at a time In the wake of Civil War, Warren Ellis and Mike Deodato present a dark and disturbing take on Marvel's Most Wanted, where the line between hero and villain is difficult to find - if it exists at all Collects Thunderbolts #110-115, and Thunderbolts Special.

30 review for Thunderbolts: Faith in Monsters

  1. 5 out of 5

    guanaeps

    This run was one of the first things I started reading when I took the dive into buying comics monthly. It amazed me at how no-holds barred it was; Violent, unforgiving, full of consequence, I was as they say, at the edge of my seat with excitement. Many years later, the reread holds up well. Mike Deodato with Rain Beredo create some wonderful finished artwork. Ellis writes an extremely dysfunctional team led by a Norman Osborn who's barely holding both the team, and his mask of sanity, together. This run was one of the first things I started reading when I took the dive into buying comics monthly. It amazed me at how no-holds barred it was; Violent, unforgiving, full of consequence, I was as they say, at the edge of my seat with excitement. Many years later, the reread holds up well. Mike Deodato with Rain Beredo create some wonderful finished artwork. Ellis writes an extremely dysfunctional team led by a Norman Osborn who's barely holding both the team, and his mask of sanity, together. Things go from bad to worse, and the ensuing train wreck is especially entertaining to watch. All in all, this is some supremely exciting storytelling, and one of the better things to come out in the civil war aftermath. oh and a mention for Marko Djurdjevic, who did all the stunning covers for this run. Awe inspiring stuff. The universe is not done with you yet, Jack Harrison...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    This is a spin-off of Marvel's "Civil War" event from a few years ago. In the wake of the Superhero Registration Act where superheroes had to reveal their identities and sign up to the government's program where their powers and statuses are monitored to stop them from being vigilantes, a group of super-villains are chosen to hunt down the renegade superheroes who refused to sign up - this group's name is the Thunderbolts. I wasn't much of a fan of the Civil War "event" and especially the idea th This is a spin-off of Marvel's "Civil War" event from a few years ago. In the wake of the Superhero Registration Act where superheroes had to reveal their identities and sign up to the government's program where their powers and statuses are monitored to stop them from being vigilantes, a group of super-villains are chosen to hunt down the renegade superheroes who refused to sign up - this group's name is the Thunderbolts. I wasn't much of a fan of the Civil War "event" and especially the idea that superheroes had to sign up to the government, it just felt a big too regulated and dull to be much fun but it also felt a bit strange - why would they sign up when they're superheroes? It doesn't make sense. And nor does a super-villain team of hunters, not when you see the line-up. Venom? Bullseye? Since when could these two be regulated to be obedient soldiers? But these were the only two I recognised from the team, the other members are moronic super-villains called Songbird, Radioactive Man (I wish it were the Simpsons character), Swordsman (guess what weapon he's got) and Penance (what an awful name) who's powers derive from being in physical pain himself. These D-list characters spend the book rounding up D-list superheroes I've never heard of - Jack Flag, American Eagle, Steel Spider (a guy with Doc Ock type machinery but who claims to be like Spiderman minus the powers) - who the hells heard of these guys? The entire book turns into a formulaic, one-note story about the Thunderbolts taking down a superhero, one after tedious another. Warren Ellis is a decent writer but even he can't save this poorly conceived storyline. None of the characters are likeable but we're supposed to be on the side of these super-villain gestapo officers? None of the superheroes are likeable either though really, where's Cap, where's Spiderman, where's Hulk or Thor or anyone recognisable? Norman Osborn for some reason resembles Tommy Lee Jones... what the hell is going on?! I didn't like Civil War or it's spin-offs and "Thunderbolts" is one of the least interesting and poorly put together spin-offs of the bunch. To be honest it felt like a parody of superhero comics it was so bad. Despite being a big fan of Ellis' this is definitely not one of his better efforts and shows the limits of the superhero genre in merging it with the "real" world.

  3. 4 out of 5

    47Time

    The Superhuman Registration Act has created a split in the superhuman community. Some embrace it, others are afraid of the repercussions, and a few see it as an opportunity. It creates the setting for some interesting personal stories and introspections. The Thunderbolts working under Norman Osborn are Penance, Venom, Songbird, Radioactive Man, Swordsman and, unknown to the public, Bullseye. They were injected with nanobots capable of electrocuting them if they disobey orders. Dr. Sofen is chosen The Superhuman Registration Act has created a split in the superhuman community. Some embrace it, others are afraid of the repercussions, and a few see it as an opportunity. It creates the setting for some interesting personal stories and introspections. The Thunderbolts working under Norman Osborn are Penance, Venom, Songbird, Radioactive Man, Swordsman and, unknown to the public, Bullseye. They were injected with nanobots capable of electrocuting them if they disobey orders. Dr. Sofen is chosen as team leader. Each member is damaged in some way and the team is anything but cohesive, but Osborn intends to take advantage of the Superhuman Registration Act to kick some heroes around while battling his own obsession with Spider-Man. (view spoiler)[The Thunderbolts' first mission is against Jack Flag, a superhero who refuses to submit to the Superhero Registration Act. They apprehend him, but only after resorting to an obscene amount of violence that leaves Jack with a severed spine. Their next target is the Steel Spider. While they are pursuing him two other heroes, Sepulchre and American Eagle, step in to help Steel Spider as they too oppose the Registration Act. The battle is a violent gorefest that you don't usually find in mainstream comics. Venom rips Silver Spider's arm off, effectively taking him out of the fight, Sepulchre runs away with a company that offered her a job and American Eagle gets away after beating up Bullseye right as he is being electrocuted by his nanobots for trying to escape. Bullseye wakes up in hospital with brain damage. (hide spoiler)]

  4. 4 out of 5

    Damon

    The Thunderbolts are a fun superhero team. They are bad guys sanctioned to enforce law and order. A bit like Freedom Force. The funniest chap has got to be the guy in charge, who used to be the Green Goblin.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dávid Novotný

    Dark, violent but too short:)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Gavin

    I really enjoyed this. Normie running Thunderbolts for Stark. Team is eating itself. Who plays who, watch them get embarrassed by D-listers all book. It's fun, Warren Ellis entertains with realistic dialogue. Or so I thought at least. I really enjoyed this. Normie running Thunderbolts for Stark. Team is eating itself. Who plays who, watch them get embarrassed by D-listers all book. It's fun, Warren Ellis entertains with realistic dialogue. Or so I thought at least.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Shannon Appelcline

    I'm sorry to see the old Thunderbolts go, but this is wonderfully written, well characterized, brutally plotted, and beautifully drawn. I'm sorry to see the old Thunderbolts go, but this is wonderfully written, well characterized, brutally plotted, and beautifully drawn.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Irene

    FiM is the establishment of another Thunderbolts team, lead now by Osborn, and is the starting point for the later Dark Avengers series, where the villainous half of the team stays on. Ellis plays the long game with his series, setting up storylines that benefit from being read together and seen as a unit. It does make the pace drop at times, and the long introductions we get do indeed familiarize us with the cast, they also end up eating space from advancing the plot. There are scenes and momen FiM is the establishment of another Thunderbolts team, lead now by Osborn, and is the starting point for the later Dark Avengers series, where the villainous half of the team stays on. Ellis plays the long game with his series, setting up storylines that benefit from being read together and seen as a unit. It does make the pace drop at times, and the long introductions we get do indeed familiarize us with the cast, they also end up eating space from advancing the plot. There are scenes and moments I really enjoy, but others that just drag and fall flat. The book ends up being a mix of slice of life meets action punch-up with fun conversations, implications, and internal dynamics -- one that the later writers of the series have tried to copy but not quite gotten right. Deodato's art mostly blends in and doesn't detract, however it often fails to add anything substantial either. All in all, a solid book with fun dialogue and good action, but hampered by a lot of set-up, which does however pay off in the following volumes. I'm a sucker for villainous teams, so this is right up my alley.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Karpuk

    I fully admit I find villains more interesting. If 1% of the population gained superpowers tomorrow I can almost guarantee the ratio of heroes to villains would be highly skewed. Heroics have a pretty slim number of motivators, while behaving badly has a plethora. (Of course these stories rarely account for people who might get superpowers, and decide to continue living their lives normally.) I didn't even know the Thunderbolts existed until the new change ups. It mostly came unto my radar becaus I fully admit I find villains more interesting. If 1% of the population gained superpowers tomorrow I can almost guarantee the ratio of heroes to villains would be highly skewed. Heroics have a pretty slim number of motivators, while behaving badly has a plethora. (Of course these stories rarely account for people who might get superpowers, and decide to continue living their lives normally.) I didn't even know the Thunderbolts existed until the new change ups. It mostly came unto my radar because of my interest in Warren Ellis. When comics feel they need to make something edgier, they seem to call Ellis almost as a default. Ellis has a natural habit of giving things little intelligent flair, a more thoughtful exploration of the ramifications of these fantastical worlds. The hook for the Thunderbolts is that these characters are primarily villains working to bring in unregistered superhumans. While I thought it would have the anti-hero set up, where villains-make-good and show us that they're multi-faceted, it ends up being more like a Weapon X type scenario, where they are all forced into crime-fighting under extreme duress, primarily through nanomachines that can straight up murder them if they misbehave. It's a lot of hijinks, failure, and double-dealing, and Ellis ends up creating something that almost resembles a crime-novel within the world of capes.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Travis

    Another good idea done badly, as the government decides to use a group of 'reformed' villains as a dirty jobs task force. Unfortunately, Warren spends too much time making sure everyone spouts 'clever' dialogue and making the characters as unpleasant or bland as possible that you don't care. then there's the tiny little problem I have with the united states government putting Norman Osborn, a known murderer and sociopath in charge of a government agency without any evidence that he answers to anyo Another good idea done badly, as the government decides to use a group of 'reformed' villains as a dirty jobs task force. Unfortunately, Warren spends too much time making sure everyone spouts 'clever' dialogue and making the characters as unpleasant or bland as possible that you don't care. then there's the tiny little problem I have with the united states government putting Norman Osborn, a known murderer and sociopath in charge of a government agency without any evidence that he answers to anyone. I know this was set during the Bush years, but that's pushing it. Basically, with this series, Warren and marvel is trying to get you to root for the fascists. To give Warren credit, he does write Bullseye as a creepy badass. You'd be better off to skip this series and buy some back issues of DC's 'Suicide Squad' comic. Same idea, much better writing and characterization.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Megu

    I was surprised that I liked this comics so much. I was prepared to be bored to death, as I haven't heard about this team before.It turned out to be quite a pleasant read. I was surprised that I liked this comics so much. I was prepared to be bored to death, as I haven't heard about this team before.It turned out to be quite a pleasant read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jedhua

    Other Useful Reviews: Jon Arnold's review Book Info: This collection contains Thunderbolts issues #110-115. ABSOLUTE RATING: {3/5 stars} (Rounded [...]) STANDARDIZED RATING: <3/5 stars> As per the request of S.H.I.E.L.D. director Tony Stark, Norman Osborn has been named the newly-appointed head of the Thunderbolts strike force. Like his team of involuntarily reformed supercriminals, Osborn too is an ex-villain (i.e. the arch-nemesis of Spider-Man) working before the public eye to redeem his not Other Useful Reviews: Jon Arnold's review Book Info: This collection contains Thunderbolts issues #110-115. ABSOLUTE RATING: {3/5 stars} (Rounded [...]) STANDARDIZED RATING: <3/5 stars> As per the request of S.H.I.E.L.D. director Tony Stark, Norman Osborn has been named the newly-appointed head of the Thunderbolts strike force. Like his team of involuntarily reformed supercriminals, Osborn too is an ex-villain (i.e. the arch-nemesis of Spider-Man) working before the public eye to redeem his notorious image. Following the recent departure of field team leader Baron Zemo, Osborn assigns Moonstone to this position, and includes Venom, Penance, and Bullseye as new additions to work alongside veteran members Songbird and Radioactive Man. But with Osborn's medication progressively failing to inhibit his psychotic breaks, it seems questionable how long the team's warring egos can work together to maintain the public's favor, and Thunderbolts Mountain slowly begins to look more and more like a pressure cooker just waiting to explode... I'm hoping that my intro paragraph was enough to indicate how poorly implemented an idea the Thunderbolts are on so many levels. As director of S.H.I.E.L.D., most (if not all) the major structuring of this team must have been either conducted or authorized by Tony Stark – a man we know to be a brilliant futurist and control freak who has a deep appreciation for the delicate political climate surrounding the Civil War. It's an unpopular sentiment, I know, but I think there's a good enough rationale behind Tony's use of the Thunderbolts during the Civil War, which, as he put it in The Confession , helped to "win [it] quickly," and prevent a lot of needless collateral damage. Ellis obviously understands that there would be a lot of readers still very skeptical about this decision, so he devotes much of the first issue to really drive in the fact that these criminals are on a tight leash, and can be easily incapacitated if they were to step out of line. So to some degree, Tony seems to have thought this thing out, and by now we should expect nothing less from him. The problem here comes when you consider the appointment of Norman Osborn as team supervisor, as well as how much freedom he's given to select his own subordinates and conduct operations with extremely minimal oversight. Conceivably, years of medication and therapy could have done a good enough job of suppressing his more noticeable symptoms, but it should have appeared highly dubious that he'd genuinely changed his colors, or that his narcissism and cold ambition wouldn't ultimately derail the whole endeavor. That alone is a huge risk, so it's impossible to understand how such a man would then be given the space to slip-up as many times as he does in this book, or for word of Osborn's startling regression not to reach the ears of Tony Stark ASAP. Though it's ridiculous to think Tony could be so negligent, it's nearly just as crazy to see Osborn (who is presumably motivated to preserve this political position) so naively assume himself equipped to control all the unpredictable variables he so carelessly put in place. [You know what? I actually agree with Norman here; these are very desirable qualities in a subordinate placed in a position of this nature – so long as the boss is able to manipulate the manipulator. So let's check below and see if he's up to the task...] [How embarrassing... Poor Normie. He had no idea who Moonstone really was, so none of this possibly could be his fault. (Moron...)] Moonstone clearly seems to be the biggest threat to Osborn's command, but she's not the only problem on his hands. At least four times in the book, Osborn makes it known how much he dislikes the idea of heroes being on his team, and much prefers heartless brutes. So his endorsement of Songbird – who, in his own words, cannot be trusted due to her unexpected, "terrible attacks of morality" – is totally perplexing, even in spite of her extended Thunderbolts history and toyetic appeal. And on top of that, he signs up guilt-ridden physical/emotional masochist Penance and gracious, Songbird-loyalist Radioactive Man – both of whom demonstrate "good guy" qualities Osborn ought to despise. Logical inconsistencies aside, however, this makeup provides some extremely promising avenues for intrateam conflict in future arcs, and pretty much every central character here has a complex, and strongly-defined persona. Most intriguing is the leadership rivalry between Moonstone and Songbird, since they're both willing and able to stir up some serious trouble in order to get their way. Honestly, I don't recall ever running into a well-written team-based book that succeeded without establishing chemistry between team members. What we have here are independent parties/factions with their own personal goals, and the comic doesn't allow enough time to explore the pursuit of these goals, or to develop something even resembling team rapport. For one thing, Ellis spends too much time engaging in uninspired political commentary about registration, and blandly playing up the commercial aspect of superhero existence. Sounds like something Mark Millar (i.e. author of Civil War ) would be proud of – since that sounds more like his kind of thing – and it almost reads like he himself wrote it! (FYI. Millar sucks.) The second problem is that the story spends way too much time (over 25 pages) separately focusing on peripheral characters which aren't half as interesting as the main cast. Yeah, their stories are intertwined and do end up directly affecting the Thunderbolts, but the setup wasn't particularly clever, and their personal struggles are less than compelling. Nearly two months ago now, I read Ultimate Six , and I recall seeing pretty much the same opening scene there as I saw here; the heavy use of shadow, minimal lighting effects, and close-up face shots during a prisoner interview appeared to try and create a similarly ominous atmosphere early in each book. Ultimate Six's Trevor Hairsine and Deodato Jr. are evidently both artists who debuted in the mid-'90s, but somehow Deodato looks like an amateur when compared against Hairsine. Last time I had to suffer through his work was for my previous read – Civil War: Punisher War Journal – and it was even worse. Between the two of them, I'm sure Deodato Jr. is the bigger name in the world of comic pencillers, but I can't imagine why; they're both stylistically-similar illustrators, and Hairsine proved himself talented enough to become one of Marvel's "Young Guns". Deodato Jr., on the other hand, is almost a complete waste of time. There must have been something here that really impressed me the first time I read it (since I gave it 4.5 stars), but I can barely identify what it was. The quality of writing is far enough below Ellis' usual standard that it leads me to believe he wasn't all that committed to the project, and/or was occupied with something far more pressing at the time. It's really very lazy stuff for him, and I'm not inspired to go through the next volume for a second time. Perhaps the biggest disappointment here for me was Osborn's portrayal; I remember him as a lot more cunning and frightening, and would have previously cited this among his strongest ever portrayals in comic books. In reality, however, he was just arrogant, thoughtless, and sorely unprepared to exploit the power that had been granted to him. How the hell he got to be IGN's 13th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time is beyond me...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Carlson

    Pretty good, in a “I can’t wait for this to pass” sorta way. I mean that as a compliment, believe it or not. I do not however like how they treated the basic idea of the T-bolts in this series. They take a crap on the idea that anyone can actually redeem themselves and change which is a tone the Thunderbolts lost for a while thanks to Osborn.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rohail

    At the first 2 issues I was thinking "What is this?!" but by the end it was so sinister and I was so terrified for the actual heroes I couldn't stop reading. Warren Ellis has created something so dark and different here and Mike Deodato Jr's art is absolutely exceptional in executing it! Just his art alone bumps my score up to 5 stars. At the first 2 issues I was thinking "What is this?!" but by the end it was so sinister and I was so terrified for the actual heroes I couldn't stop reading. Warren Ellis has created something so dark and different here and Mike Deodato Jr's art is absolutely exceptional in executing it! Just his art alone bumps my score up to 5 stars.

  15. 4 out of 5

    B

    This isn't too much of a Thunderbolts book. It's kind of a proto-Dark Avengers. It's a great comic story. The newish heroes really shine even though Venom gets all the covers. I think (view spoiler)[ Songbird seems to have caused the death of those two handlers. (hide spoiler)] but never really seemed affected by it. This isn't too much of a Thunderbolts book. It's kind of a proto-Dark Avengers. It's a great comic story. The newish heroes really shine even though Venom gets all the covers. I think (view spoiler)[ Songbird seems to have caused the death of those two handlers. (hide spoiler)] but never really seemed affected by it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Debra Buckland

    I really enjoyed this. I didn’t know about these characters so I was reading it with ultra fresh eyes. Brilliant concept and fabulous art.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Petr

    Cool to see the antiheroes and how the world was willing to let them "protect" them. Cool to see the antiheroes and how the world was willing to let them "protect" them.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Chris W

    Passable. Nothing special

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jon Arnold

    Thunderbolts was always one of the more interesting concepts for a superhero team – the bad guys turned good (or apparently good). The high point of the original run was probably the ending of the first issue, which gave away the high concept at the heart of the series, the Masters of Evil being wolves who’d dress up in sheep’s clothing. They probably realised life would be easier if they stopped advertising their motivations with that lurid name. In the moral grey area created by the Civil War s Thunderbolts was always one of the more interesting concepts for a superhero team – the bad guys turned good (or apparently good). The high point of the original run was probably the ending of the first issue, which gave away the high concept at the heart of the series, the Masters of Evil being wolves who’d dress up in sheep’s clothing. They probably realised life would be easier if they stopped advertising their motivations with that lurid name. In the moral grey area created by the Civil War storyline, Thunderbolts had room to become a more interesting title. It could hire characters of varying levels of psychosis and, as illustrated by the toy advert which often cutely punctuates the narrative, paint them in heroic colours. Given the team’s being run by Norman Osborn it’s fairly obvious no good will come of this. Faith In Monsters represents Warren Ellis’ first story arc on the title and to a large degree it’s what you’d expect from Ellis; compressed storytelling, ultraviolence, big dollops of postmodernism and a mindset mistrustful of authority. It’s noticeable that several of the heroes Ellis has the team go up against are unambiguously heroic in their past, just on the wrong side of the then current superhero registration question. The use and abuse of power’s a central theme here, particularly with regards to the actions of Venom and Bullseye. Ellis’ moral universe is a tad simplistic in other aspects though, never really getting to grips with the questions of how justified the use of psychopaths to enforce law and order is. But in fairness that doesn’t seem an area he’s interested in. This being the relaunch of a title rather than a limited series, it’s not quite a satisfying story in its own right, with character conflicts being set up and left dangling for future resolutions leaving the story feeling incomplete. And the other great flaw is while it’s fine to dip into the exploits of villains for limited times, spending extended lengths of time in the world of unpleasant characters starts to pall. Songbird’s probably the only remotely sympathetic character on the team , and indeed provides the book with its more intriguing moments of character conflict. Otherwise this is a book very much showing its roots in the Dark Age/Image era. As that’s an era I’m none too keen on, believing it learned all the wrong lessons from Watchmen, it’s a major flaw for me. Ellis just isn’t good enough with character to make me overcome my antipathy toward the team from their years of villainy, and the book lacked the more ingenious ideas that are often his saving grace. If you like your books dark as the belly of a black dog in a subterranean cavern at night though, it’s ideal. As for this edition - the carelessness that's occasionally been apparent over the series reappears here, with Deodato's two page profile consisting of one page repeated. Shame, as that occasional lack of care mars an otherwise attractively presented series.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    So I finally gave this a try after all the high praise. One of the things that always held me back is, at the end of the day it is a book about villains. Masquerading as heroes sure, but still villains. Some are perhaps on the road to redemption. Some are more villainous than others, but still villains. Now that does not keep Ellis from being able to make each of these characters compelling. He does a great job of spreading the development across the team. Something often lacking in team books. E So I finally gave this a try after all the high praise. One of the things that always held me back is, at the end of the day it is a book about villains. Masquerading as heroes sure, but still villains. Some are perhaps on the road to redemption. Some are more villainous than others, but still villains. Now that does not keep Ellis from being able to make each of these characters compelling. He does a great job of spreading the development across the team. Something often lacking in team books. Ellis is able to put some sort of interesting hook on near every character. I'd say he fails (or maybe doesn't try) in a couple regards, but they are still not throw-aways. And specifically the Norman Osborn work is exceptional. I highly doubt he has ever been written better, and I can see why he was put on the map for Dark Reign after Ellis' run. I suppose it is possible they were already planning it, but I don't know their timeline on creating the ideas. Anyways, Norman Osborn, psychotics have never been so interesting. Ellis also puts in a lot of stabs at the media and our screwed up forms of hero worship today (not that it is a new problem, this is just its present form). He uses the talking TV panels very similar to Dark Knight Returns. I would argue he uses them better, but I wasn't a terribly big fan of the talking TV boxes in Dark Knight, so... It feels to fit the story much better herein. Ellis makes sure to get some stabs in at America while he's at it, of course. Ellis'... umm... less savory tastes are subdued by the Marvel code, but it still drips through in a few ways. I am definitely afraid of ever reading Ellis in an uncensored form. As for the art... it is mostly good. There was a few choices that really bothered me. One had to do with an inking/coloring choice. The lighter shading was colored rather than inked, but the difference between the inked shading and the colored shading was so dramatic the colored shading looked really washed out. This mostly (perhaps always) showed up on only the faces, and it really annoyed me. The other was that Deodato was very obviously using photo references for the faces. This coupled with the weird shading really pulled me out of the comic. It didn't fit. Not to mention that it appeared that all of his photo references for Norman Osborn were Tommy Lee Jones. That was distracting as well. He also draws ridiculously curvaceous women which is annoying to say the least. Overall, it is better than most of the pop comic art out there, though. I am just airing my grievances.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Arno Callens

    I'm relatively new to the Thunderbolts, so I'm only familiar with the tail end of Baron Zemo's tenure as leader of the team. At the time I found the series to be terribly confusing, missing too much backstory to either follow the plot or care much about the characters. Who did stick with me was Zemo himself, so while I could do with a reboot of this team, I wasn't sure it would appeal to me without him. Safe to say, Zemo isn't missed. Norman Osborn is more than up to the task of filling his insan I'm relatively new to the Thunderbolts, so I'm only familiar with the tail end of Baron Zemo's tenure as leader of the team. At the time I found the series to be terribly confusing, missing too much backstory to either follow the plot or care much about the characters. Who did stick with me was Zemo himself, so while I could do with a reboot of this team, I wasn't sure it would appeal to me without him. Safe to say, Zemo isn't missed. Norman Osborn is more than up to the task of filling his insane shoes. What the (former?) Green Goblin lacks in existential grandstanding he more than makes up for with barely repressed lunacy. Him referring to the Thunderbolts's target Steel Spider as Spider-Man, and then getting called out on that by his team, is a comedic highlight of this arc. The team itself feels much more familiar too. Part of that is the mix of old members with new, be it well-known faces from the Marvel universe (Venom, Bullseye), or a breakout character from the Civil War (Penance). The latter doesn't get a lot to do here, but I'm assuming that will come further down the line. Another big selling point is how well the characters are fleshed out, especially considering the limited space. Unlike the previous incarnation of the team, you have an at all times clear sense of why every single one of the Thunderbolts is here, and where they're hoping to go. Familiar of course does not mean likeable, and with a few exceptions these are all terrible people, and there's an even more terrible person at the top. Ellis blurs the lines between heroes and villains, not only in the climactic and spectacular showdown with the Steel Spider in Phoenix, but also during frequent insights into the media's response to the new team. Swordsman crashing through a television set displaying a commercial for Thunderbolts toys is not only a pricelessly hilarious scene to behold, it also sums up the whole theme Ellis is trying to get across. The reality show to choose the next Thunderbolt is a bit too much of that same thing, but it's easily forgiven. Dark, disturbing, and deeply violent; Faith in Monsters reestablishes the Thunderbolts not only for a world post-Civil War, not only for a newbie like me, but most of all from a new perspective. Villains turned heroes fight heroes turned villains. Maybe that's why Penance didn't get a whole lot to do. After all, as Osborn says himself: "I don't need a hero on this team." Don't worry, sir, there aren't any.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kurt

    This is a new direction for the Thunderbolts, and it's nothing short of amazing. The Thunderbolts started out as villains pretending to be heroes and finding that they were slowly becoming what they pretended to be. It was a potentially fascinating study of involuntary redemption, and although it was generally too comic-booky (long dialogue exchanges during fight scenes, Silver Age grandstanding from Zemo, etc.), the premise was strong. In this volume, Ellis and Deodato explore something else. T This is a new direction for the Thunderbolts, and it's nothing short of amazing. The Thunderbolts started out as villains pretending to be heroes and finding that they were slowly becoming what they pretended to be. It was a potentially fascinating study of involuntary redemption, and although it was generally too comic-booky (long dialogue exchanges during fight scenes, Silver Age grandstanding from Zemo, etc.), the premise was strong. In this volume, Ellis and Deodato explore something else. This time, the villains use their own identities and engage in what is officially a public service sanctioned by the post-Civil War U.S. government. Their mission is to round up superheroes who have refused to register, and this book presents a few of their efforts toward that end. The kicker, though, is that in Ellis' capable hands, these characters have no desire for redemption. They each work with their own ulterior motives, creating some deliciously soapy subplots (at one point, Moonstone refers to "wheels within wheels," which is a perfect way to characterize the interactions among team members), and the violence is over the top. I believe the intention is to make a political statement about the activities the general public was tolerating (or even approving) in a post-9/11 world, but this works just as well as a story on its own. It has a limb-chomping monster roaming the streets with a self-mutilating emo teen, a sociopathic psychiatrist, a semi-virtuous veteran heroine willing to cross ethical boundaries to get what she wants, and more. I love these characters, the way Ellis pairs them up in surprising and satisfying ways, and the gorgeous Deodato artwork. I must warn potential readers: this is a dark book, with violence and unredeemed nastiness, and the three extra stories at the end are not really worth reading, but for fans of the characters or of a superbly-crafted comic book story, this volume is an exhilarating ride.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Holden Attradies

    I really like the idea of the Thunderbolts, and I REALLY like Songbirds character. I guess I just find their story hard to follow because I've been reading things not really in order but by what I can get my hands on which I think has been taking away from my enjoyment a bit... Any ways. The artwork in this volume was pretty nice. I particularly enjoyed the coloring. I also really enjoyed all the T.V. spots that were spread in between the story. IT really shows how the public perception of the su I really like the idea of the Thunderbolts, and I REALLY like Songbirds character. I guess I just find their story hard to follow because I've been reading things not really in order but by what I can get my hands on which I think has been taking away from my enjoyment a bit... Any ways. The artwork in this volume was pretty nice. I particularly enjoyed the coloring. I also really enjoyed all the T.V. spots that were spread in between the story. IT really shows how the public perception of the super hero community, especially around the civil war issue, is pretty far removed from the reality we the readers get to see. The stories in here were nice, good background for the civil war event. But as far as the Thunderbolts themselves go I felt it was all kind of filler as you got to see current new order of things with the T-bolts and how it's pretty much falling apart from the get go. Osborn really does seem unstable, and Melisa really does seem like she should be in charge and Moonstone really does seem like a manipulative a-hole. I had a little beef with the covers though. They kept showing Osborn as the Green Goblin and I felt this was all pretty uncalled for as the Goblin doesn't make a single appearance. Even if Osborn is going to revert to the Goblin in the near future they seem to have been prepping it p a little to early.

  24. 5 out of 5

    One Flew

    Warren Ellis gives a master class on superhero writing. Usually all cross over events are utter garbage and given the basic premise of Thunderbolts it should be too. The first few issues of the book are the strongest, with Warren doing an amazing job on the setup. Basically it's just another book about some superheros beating up other superheros, but what gives it substance is the solid characterisation. Also, Warren really pushes through the realities of what the whole Civil War storyline has l Warren Ellis gives a master class on superhero writing. Usually all cross over events are utter garbage and given the basic premise of Thunderbolts it should be too. The first few issues of the book are the strongest, with Warren doing an amazing job on the setup. Basically it's just another book about some superheros beating up other superheros, but what gives it substance is the solid characterisation. Also, Warren really pushes through the realities of what the whole Civil War storyline has led too. Realisiticaly the superhero regestration act makes sense, who the fuck wants vigilantees policing their cities? But after years of tolerating vigilante justice it would be insanely difficult to fix it. I love the idea of a bunch of villians being coerced into effectively becoming bounty hunters. Bullseye and Norman Osborn are the stand out characters of the story. Bullseye with his sadistic beliefs and Osborn with his barely contained insanity. There is some pretty damn funny moments too, espically the Steel Spider... Man, scene with Norman Osborn. For some reason I just got hooked on this book, not sure if the concept will hold up over a long run but I loved this volume.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Phillip Berrie

    I did not like the story where the Thunderbolts were finally eliminated in the 'Seige' storyline, so I wasn't looking forward to this story with any great expectations. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised by both the story and the artwork. As a result of the superhuman registration act, some force is required to bring in unregistered super humans, especially those misguided ones who continue their illegal vigilante activities. Enter Norman Osborne's Thunderbolts. Criminals turned law enforcem I did not like the story where the Thunderbolts were finally eliminated in the 'Seige' storyline, so I wasn't looking forward to this story with any great expectations. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised by both the story and the artwork. As a result of the superhuman registration act, some force is required to bring in unregistered super humans, especially those misguided ones who continue their illegal vigilante activities. Enter Norman Osborne's Thunderbolts. Criminals turned law enforcement with the opportunity to gain a pardon and a huge pay packet. The Thunderbolts run the full gamut of criminality from psychopaths like Bullseye to repentant villains like Songbird. Many of them have their own agenda as well, but fortunately their head man, Norman Osborne is always one step ahead of them... Or is he? Add to this interesting mix some of the best action sequences I've seen in a long time and some very cute representations of anti-hero propaganda and you have the recipe for a really good yarn. A solid four stars from me.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Silas

    I followed the Thunderbolts when they first came out, and really enjoyed that series and its conflicting motivations of ex-villains either trying to be heroes or trying to convince the world that they were. This is definitely a big change from that original group (my reading fell off for some time), but it has a lot of the same themes and ideas developed in a new way. This takes place around the time of the Civil War, and focuses on a group of barely controlled criminals, former Thunderbolts, an I followed the Thunderbolts when they first came out, and really enjoyed that series and its conflicting motivations of ex-villains either trying to be heroes or trying to convince the world that they were. This is definitely a big change from that original group (my reading fell off for some time), but it has a lot of the same themes and ideas developed in a new way. This takes place around the time of the Civil War, and focuses on a group of barely controlled criminals, former Thunderbolts, and a few penance-seekers (including Penance, as it turns out) seeking out unregistered superhumans (mostly heroes, as it turns out), and taking them down. Since this team leans a bit more heavily on the villainous, the intentions are a bit more out in the open than older Thunderbolts comics, and it's rather bit more brutal and dark, but it is pretty well done, and includes at least a few characters from the old series to keep it continuous.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Fizzgig76

    Reprints Thunderbolts #110-115, Thunderbolts: Desperate Measures, Civil War: Choosing Sides, and The Initiative. Osborn gathers criminals to begin enforcing the Superhuman Registration Act but finds that even he's having difficulties manipulating them. It is hard to make American Eagle cool. Ellis manages to do it in the issues that he uses him. The Thunderbolts assignments are to collect rogue heroes, but since most of the real characters are accounted for in other series, people like Jack Flag Reprints Thunderbolts #110-115, Thunderbolts: Desperate Measures, Civil War: Choosing Sides, and The Initiative. Osborn gathers criminals to begin enforcing the Superhuman Registration Act but finds that even he's having difficulties manipulating them. It is hard to make American Eagle cool. Ellis manages to do it in the issues that he uses him. The Thunderbolts assignments are to collect rogue heroes, but since most of the real characters are accounted for in other series, people like Jack Flag, American Eagle, and Steel Spider are all that is left. The Thunderbolts balance of power is on the edge, and it feels that way. The individual issues (Desperate Measures, Choosing Sides, and The Initiative) are fair, but the main storyline is what is a good read for fans of the series and Marvel Comics.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jared

    I really wanted to like this book, but with the general premise of it, it was really hard to get into--it was mostly just amoral super-villains interacting around other amoral super-villains. The high points of the book was when we got to see the actual "super-heroes," and I really have to commend Ellis for making me care about characters like American Eagle and the Steel Spider. I also thought the moments when they show the "Thunderbolt" toy commercials--complete with screaming terrorist Captai I really wanted to like this book, but with the general premise of it, it was really hard to get into--it was mostly just amoral super-villains interacting around other amoral super-villains. The high points of the book was when we got to see the actual "super-heroes," and I really have to commend Ellis for making me care about characters like American Eagle and the Steel Spider. I also thought the moments when they show the "Thunderbolt" toy commercials--complete with screaming terrorist Captain America--were just so messed up it was hysterical. The art was alright--Deodato has a very distinct style that one expects weird stuff from, but there were some really wonky stuff in it. Really not his best work. Overall I was really kinda bored with it. I do want to get the second volume of this, because I hear that's where we see Ellis really shine.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tiago Castro

    Interesting book, this one. When superheroes fail and their popularity is in an all time low, who do we turn to? Well, not the villains, but that's exactly what happens here, villains supported by the government whose job is to capture non-registred heroes. Besides, we get to see how the post- Civil War Marvel Universe is doing and it still gives us the idea of ideological divergence that caracterized the event. The world building is phenomenal, a world where Captain America is described as a terror Interesting book, this one. When superheroes fail and their popularity is in an all time low, who do we turn to? Well, not the villains, but that's exactly what happens here, villains supported by the government whose job is to capture non-registred heroes. Besides, we get to see how the post- Civil War Marvel Universe is doing and it still gives us the idea of ideological divergence that caracterized the event. The world building is phenomenal, a world where Captain America is described as a terrorist and Bullseye or Norman Osborn are the new heroes (except they are still villains with their agendas, but nobody needs to know that). I didn't know most of the characters because they're mostly not well known heroes and villains, but I feel Ellis wrote them incredibly well.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Brad

    Not Warren Ellis' finest work, but he does a great job getting inside the heads of Bullseye and Norman Osborne. There are too many (and too many second-rate) villains in this book for Ellis to make it sing. On the other hand, I enjoyed him using third-string Marvel heroes in Phoenix, like the Steel Spider, American Eagle and Shadowoman (I have no idea what the proper capitalization is for her.) Mike Deodato's art is still a bit too shadowed, and his use of Tommy Lee Jones' face for Norman Osborne Not Warren Ellis' finest work, but he does a great job getting inside the heads of Bullseye and Norman Osborne. There are too many (and too many second-rate) villains in this book for Ellis to make it sing. On the other hand, I enjoyed him using third-string Marvel heroes in Phoenix, like the Steel Spider, American Eagle and Shadowoman (I have no idea what the proper capitalization is for her.) Mike Deodato's art is still a bit too shadowed, and his use of Tommy Lee Jones' face for Norman Osborne gets tiresome.

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