Just when I thought I might be dropping this book because of the incessant time-travel storyline, Jeff Parker throws me a curveball and gives me one of the better character pieces I've read recently. I've never really felt for Luke Cage; besides his occasional appearance in Iron Fist I rarely get the feeling that he's changed in the time since being reintroduced to the mainstream Marvel Universe.
This issue changed that.
The whole "Mister Fear" scenario has been dozens of times with Scarecrow and Batman, but for some reason I got the intended effect instead of bushing it off as such. We got a good look into Cage's psyche, and with a killer ending to boot. Definitely enjoyed this issue's planning; it kind of all fell into place with ease.
I especially liked the Ghost segment, in which he shows Cage the supposed consequences to his actions. A lot of callbacks to the recent volume of the book make this a winner.
My only real complaint is that this sequence was broken up by a lot of bureaucratic conversations between the remaining team members in this time period, and it all seemed expendable besides the kicker at the end. It dragged the book down from being absolutely amazing; instead, it's mostly amazing.
I don't want this criticism to affect the perception of this book. In my previous reviews, I've spoke of my hopes that Parker will take a break from the current time-jumping arc, and he delivered with this issue.
Like the FEAR ITSELF issues, this is what Thunderbolts is all about: a great character study of people who aren't quite perfect.