dtm1980's Thunderbolts #27 - The Punisher vs. The Thunderbolts Part One review

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    Wackier, much better written and illustrated; nice work cancelling Thunderbolts, Marvel. You SUCK!!!

    I've followed Thunderbolts from issue #1 two years ago and I always kept my mouth shut whenever someone criticised it. Maybe I shouldn't have, but it seemed that Marvel knew it was going from strength to strength. Sure it hasn't been consistent and it's had more artists than Captain America's had costume changes, not many of them very good, but it always had potential and was very enjoyable, like Marvel's own A-Team!

    With Bens Acker & Blacker, Punisher vs. Thunderbolts begins the way T-Bolt missions always should have, with major ass-kicking and a seemingly straightforward plot, along with Deadpool humour to lighten the tone. Some hated that Punisher had the addition of ninja swords to his battlesuit in this issue. He didn't get to use them yet, but I've been waiting for that aesthetic ever since Rick Remender's 'In The Blood' original cover art. He's hanging with Deadpool and Elektra, after all, he should have more blades at his disposal.

    This issue sees the covert T-Bolts coming to the rescue of The Avengers, without them even knowing about it (yet). That's also the kind of thing the T-Bolts needed since day one. Instead, they've been cleaning up the Red Hulk's past mistakes while he continues to just cause more mess. In this issue, Punisher finally has enough of that and it sets the plot in momentum for his massive fallout with the team, seeing exactly why it hasn't been as efficient as it could have been. Rather than the constant in-fighting, this draws a line in the sand, but in a funny and explosive way. Punisher has always been one of the strongest and most surprising characters here and Ben & Ben up the ante.

    The artwork is so much better, and has been improving massively since Jefte Palo's awful job on Infinity. In this issue, I've started to see the Thunderbolts as a team that would make a great adult animated movie. I do not understand why Marvel has given these writers a chance while immediately cancelling it beyond the upcoming finale of Punisher vs. Thunderbolts.

    The negatives about this issue are that 1.) for an elite team of killers, they don't seem to understand the concept of strategy. Red Hulk is a highly decorated retired General with much experience in fighting superheroes and villains, Punisher is a master war tactitioner, Elektra, Deadpool and Ghost Rider are total wildcards in their own individual right, and yet they're always clumsily bunched together like sitting ducks. The art is great in style, not so much in planning.

    There are also the dumb observations of Rulk, who - for a military legend - isn't too bright. Dr Faustus has committed a crime you don't see often in comics, Punisher wants him dead and you'll really agree with him. Rulk points out that if they were to kill criminals based on their body count, Punisher would be at the top of the list.

    While having already employed supervillains Leader and Mercy to make his job easier, Rulk has had a lot of learning to do, and yet he doesn't quite understand that some of the people he employs against their will are the reasons that his way of problem solving just creates more problems. Punisher knows this, it's clear for all to see, but despite Acker & Blacker also knowing this, they don't try too hard to make it a bit more intelligent for their majorly adult audience.

    The next issue fleshes things out a bit more, however, and I'm looking forward to some crazy curve-balls. This HAD the potential to become more popular than Daniel Way and Charles Soule had hoped. Shame!

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