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Thunderbolts #126 Review

Thunderbolts #126 review by Hugo Bravo

Written by Andy Diggle
Art by Roberto De La Torre

Warren Ellis began his critically acclaimed Thunderbolts run on issue #110, as Marvel's Civil War was coming to an end. Now that Secret Invasion wraps up in December, the Thunderbolts once again are regrouping, whether members want to or not. Writer Andy Diggle, who recently rewrote Green Arrow's origin story, is now in charge of some drastic changes to Marvel's team of government- sanctioned supervillains. A new line-up is always a good time to start a new team book, and the two-parter “Burning Down The House” gives good reason to believe Diggle and artist Roberto De La Torre will continue to keep Thunderbolts one of the most consistently well-written team books on the market today.

Under the guidance of Norman Osborne, the Thunderbolts have been crucial in the ongoing battle against the Skrulls. Knowing of team member's Swordsman rage and how useful it would be in battle, Osborne makes Bullseye murder Swordsman's cloned sister, Andrea, and blames it on the Skrulls. Osborn is invited to Washington D.C. to be commended for his team's valiant effort against the shapeshifter army. But after receiving his accolades, he nonchalantly reminds the U.S. Senate that thanks to his in-depth screening and top of the line technology, his Thunderbolts are the only major team of superhumans that were not secretly infiltrated by the alien race. He blames the Skrull's rise to power on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s, and specifically Tony Stark's, lackluster leadership, as well as on human traitors within Washington. With the slickness that you can only expect from Spider-Man's greatest foe, Norman Osborn resigns as director and disbands the Thunderbolts, right before stepping out of the Senate to a cheering crowd of supporters. Meanwhile, the team itself is going through some private changes. Moonstone is still angry from being on the receiving end of Penance's accidental wrath, and lets him know it when she makes herself the new leader of the Thunderbolts. Radioactive Man gets his visa mysteriously revoked and has to return to his home country of China, but not before letting Songbird know how he feels about her. Only Swordsman suspects that Osborn may have something up his green and purple sleeve.

The most appealing character in the book, as he has been for a long time, is Norman Osborn. With his new position in the Marvel Universe, he is poised to become an even bigger threat than he could ever be while donning his ridiculous costume, and it will be interesting to see where his fame will take him. Remember that he was also able to intercept classified Skrull information over in Deadpool's book, so here's hoping the book touches upon that little fact. Clearly, Osborn's fascination with the Skrulls is not quite over.

De La Torre's work on this issue stays consistent with few rough spots. At times I would've preferred his faces to be a bit more detailed, or his character's eyes to be a bit straighter, but his dark pencils work well for the book's most tense scenes, especially the Senate showdown and the therapy session between Moonstone and Penance.

The issue is light on action, so don't expect to see the T-Bolts throwing down against the Skrulls or unregistered superheroes. Instead, we get a good introduction to where each member of the team stands for now, and leaves us anxious to see where Diggle will take the Thunderbolts in a post-Secret Invasion world.

Rating: 8

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