StrongProtector's Thunderbolts #156 - Proving Ground review

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They'll Be the Junior Varsity Super Team

With Satana joining the A-team of Thunderbolts, Warden John Walker and Songbird move forward with the selecting of the B-team, The Underbolts!

The Good 

A cavalcade of villains we haven’t seen or heard from in quite some time look to be thrust into the limelight depending on what the exact role will be for this B-team of Bolts. With folks like Shocker, Mr. Hyde, and Troll looking to top the list, this B-team could definitely make for some interesting scenarios and leave Songbird with more than she can handle as team leader. Not to mention this could be an interesting set-up for a future standoff between the current team and this B-Team in the Raft.

As for the A-team, the new supernatural situation mission they find themselves on is definitely something we haven’t seen before and it should be very entertaining finding out how they’ll work their way out of this mess and just how much use their newest team member can be.

The Bad

After adding Satana to the team, you would have liked to see a little more of her interactions with the team aside from her barely failed attempt at seducing them all. Instead, the A-team of Bolts is immediately thrust into a new mission without her having a chance to really work her magic on the group or to the reader.

Along with this, the bouncing back and forth between this new supernatural zombie threat in Germany and the recruitment process back at the Raft was jarring and difficult to follow. I think it would have flowed much better had the A-team stuck around and helped take part in the screening process so we could see a lot more villains who have been gathering dust. Instead, it seems like an obvious build-up to have the B-team come save the A-team if this becomes too much to handle, even with Satana in tow.

The Verdict

I loved seeing some of the villains that took part in the screening process for the B-Team of Thunderbolts. Even if they don’t make it on to the team, it was great to see Shocker, Mr. Hyde, Super-Skrull, and many others even if Marvel will throw them back into a cage again after this issue.

This light-hearted cameo-fest was poorly balanced though by the A-team of Bolts being thrown back into a new, occult themed mission that seemed like an excuse just to see what Satana could do. I would have preferred a slower introduction of her character to the team and having these two stories going on at the same time made it harder to follow this cavalcade of stars we were seeing in these 20 pages.

Despite this, Thunderbolts #156 was an enjoyable read, especially if you’ve been following the series up to this point, and makes you want to pick up the next issue just to see what will happen between the A-team and B-team, even though you know it can’t realistically last having two teams of Bolts. 


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