With the rest of the Marvel Universe dealing with the effects of Fear Itself it's important to focus in on the destruction of the Raft, the supervillain prison. This issue gives us a look into the individual stories, and what's going on inside that catastrophe.
This was a great issue because it showcases a number of different situations as a result of the hammers raining destruction on Earth. While a lot of other tie-ins deal with the result of the Raft exploding, it's great to see the inside scoop, so to speak.
This issue keeps up with the trend of the Thunderbolts being at odds with the "regular" prisoners of the Raft, and shows a genuine altruism to what they're trying to do. One of the worries I've always had with this series is that the villains aren't making a genuine effort to get better; this issue definitely proves that some want to be heroes much more than others, even if they have their flirtings with the dark side.
This issue also did a great job of reminding us why Crossbones is a force to be reckoned with. His hints at kindness towards the prisoner who saved him are repaid (sort of) by the end of the issue, reminding us that some villains will always be rotten to the core.
I love John Walker in his administrative role, and respect that he can still kick ass. The prisoners seem to respect that too, and I'm glad to see some of them choosing to work together while the Raft employees and medics contain the catastrophe. It would be easy for the writers to say that every criminal would just up and leave the place: seeing some stay and show some kindness reinforces that not all prisoners are the same.
Juggernaut is conspicuous by his absence; there doesn't seem to be any stories that deal with him, even though he's on the cover and is the main source of mayhem.
This book is a solid title, and gives us some insight into one of the major events of Fear Itself; even if the Raft is repaired, there's still a lot of villains out there on the loose. After all, there needs to be threats for the superhero population to contain, and these events mirror the start of New Avengers with another Raft "breakout."
However, this book is great, but not necessary; if you don't normally read Thunderbolts, I don't think you'll get a lot out of it. However, for us regular readers, you'll enjoy the showcasing of the characters we've come to love and the environments we've only seen a glimpse of beforehand.