The Thunderbolts put the lid on a prison riot that breaks out just as the Avengers Academy is brought to the Raft to get "scared straight."
I just love how mean this title is. Parker and Walker do an excellent job of delivering the goods of superheroic action while still keeping it understated enough to take seriously. Specifically, Juggernaut and Luke Cage use their brains to put the hurt on Purple Man and some random supervillains and the results are far more effective than a splash-page slugfest would be. At the same time, the crisscrossing spreads of Cage, Songbird and USAgent taking out the rioting inmates were awesomely vicious. This is a book with a true sense of pacing and rythmn. Oh, and I love the characterization of Ghost - - this creep with anarcho-socialisti leanings he doesn't quite reconcile with his own actions.
I know this is the nature of the beast but, considering that New Avengers came out this same week, I couldn't help thinking about how Luke Cage manages to pull double-duty like this, especially since he's leading the Thunderbolts. Is this his day job while he hangs out with the Avengers on the weekends?
The Verdict - 4.5/5
Now this is what I'm talking about. This is what Thunderbolts should be, and it's one of the best books Marvel's putting out right now. It's also an example to follow when it comes to inter-title crossovers. I didn't have to read the tie-in Avengers Academy issues, my enjoyment of this wasn't diminshed by not having read them, but I'm still intrigued to go check those issues out now - - because the whole notion of the Academy coming to get "scared straight" is really clever.