The original Thunderbolts #1 still remains one of my favorite moments in comics. We were introduced to a group of new heroes when the Avengers and Fantastic Four disappeared. To our shock, it turned out to be Baron Zemo and the Masters of Evil parading as heroes. Eventually, most of them grew to enjoy the glory of doing good deeds.
Out of the ashes of the recent Avengers Standoff crossover, the Thunderbolts are back. Unfortunately for those that might not have read the crossover, why they're back with Winter Soldier leading them may not be entirely clear at first. As a first issue for a new series, we are introduced to the characters. There is mention of the Pleasant Hill prison the former villains resided in. We're just immediately thrown into the action as they're attacking a S.H.I.E.L.D. instillation. Isn't S.H.I.E.L.D. the good guys? Things are so clear these days.
Bucky is shifting his focus slightly. After inheriting the job of "the man on the wall" from the original Nick Fury, he's decided he needs to take matters into his own hands. This is after his recent series where he was out in space dealing with intergalactic threats. Because Kobik, the cosmic cube that has taken the form of a four-year-old child needs to be protected, it makes sense he may want to keep her/it close by.
There is a slightly odd mix in the tone of the series. Some of the members of the Thunderbolts seem eager to kick back and drink some beer while they're also dealing with stealing the government's dark secrets and keeping a reality-changing entity appeased. I did question why Bucky would align himself with the Thunderbolts, but it's likely he needs some of their skills and he's not close to them. This makes them expendable. With Moonstone on the team, you can guarantee there will be plenty of insubordination. Her presence is to ensure there is drama for readers to read and enjoy. It wouldn't be the Thunderbolts without her (or the others), but hopefully Bucky knows what he's getting into.
Jim Zub has a lot to set up and deal with. Midway through this first issue, you do start to feel the pieces falling into place. Jon Malin's art and Matt Yackey's colors do give it a throwback vibe. It took a little getting used to at first but it does capture the feel of the team. Winter Soldier is a great character with an interesting agenda and the idea of the Thunderbolts has always been intriguing. You can see the potential here, and I'll definitely be back for the next issue.