Marvel NOW! is right around the corner and the Thunderbolts have made the cut. But the likes of Luke Cage and Boomerang are no longer taking center stage. Instead, we're now met by a rather familiar looking team.
Readers of Jeph Loeb's 2008 run on HULK have certainly seen the majority of this team before. When Domino had to be taken out for knowing too much, Rulk formed a team to eliminate the mutant -- and this team was called Code Red. It consisted of all the above characters except for Venom (he was probably sick that day) and, instead of the symbiotic hero, the roster included the likes of Crimson Dynamo and Thundra.
What makes this team particularly interesting is most of the selected individuals are often regarded as loners and tend to work much better when flying solo. That said, Venom aside, they do all have experience together thanks to Code Red. And even without the brief formation of Code Red, many of these characters have bumped into each other in the past. However, the encounters were usually anything but peaceful.
Punisher and Deadpool have faced-off more than a few times (with Castle even blowing up Wade's head at one point), and Elektra has humiliated Frank by disarming him before the anti-hero could even react. Rulk and Flash Thompson also faced-off briefly before joining forces in 'Circle of Four.' Bloody past aside, this is a team of lone wolves and it's going to be incredibly interesting to see how the chemistry between them will develop -- especially with the oh-so obnoxious Deadpool thrown into the mix.
Writer Daniel Way and artist Steve Dillon will tackle the team book's latest run, and thankfully, both have a fair amount of experience with some of the cast involved. Way did a great job making Frank Castle ooze a tough guy attitude in Punisher vs Bullseye, and while I wasn't the biggest fan of his Deadpool run (a little too goofy for my taste), a wacky Deadpool might compliment this team well and fill the comedic quota. Since he's not taking up all of the panel time, a smaller dose of this version of the Merc with a Mouth will probably be much easier to digest as well. It'll also be interesting to see how Way makes Wade's serious teammates respond to his obnoxious methods -- specifically with the absurdly powerful and tactically minded Rulk in charge.
Marvel NOW! has a lot of appealing titles coming our way, but I can honestly say Daniel Way and Steve Dillon have my full attention with this one. I'm a sucker for anti-heroes, and this one is filled to the brim with them. But enough about me, how do you feel about this title?
Gregg Katzman is a freelance writer for Comic Vine and IGN Entertainment. Follow him on Twitter to chat more about comics.