Thunderbolts #6

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Thunderbolts #6 pretty much serves as a book end for the first story arc, tying up the first five issues and setting up what comes next. It turns out that the real reason there was so much interest in Kata Jaya was that the American government had been secretly running a gamma base there for quite some time. Knowing that, everything else finally starts to make sense.

The Leader had uploaded his brain all over the internet and now knows nothing of his past. His brother, Mad Man knew that and teamed up with the Kata Jayan government. If they could create a living network of computers–in this case, people plugged into a computer network–only then could they begin to relearn what the Leader had once known. And in this case, it was gamma powered weaponry.

That ghost like figure from the last issue was Mercy who reminds Red Hulk that he can’t just kill the Leader. Mad Man also tries one last time to stop the Thunderbolts, but meets a gruesome demise when they plug him into the human server network and he literally dies of information overload. His head explodes.

Everyone comes to the realization that even though Mad Man has been taken out, whatever he was working on is no longer on the island. There’s a lot of mistrust amongst the team, especially since Red Hulk has been so secretive about the nature of the mission and the fact that they have to pretty much babysit a brain-dead Leader. Punisher and Elektra seem to be happy with their friends with benefits, which makes Deadpool insanely jealous. Doesn’t he know that he’s disgusting.

One of the things I’ve noticed through these last six issues is how much Venom is the moral compass of this book, something the Eddie Brock version of the character could never be. Flash Thompson has made a fine addition to that character’s host-ship.

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Thunderbolts #5

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The crimson-clad murder squad is back and just like this image suggests, love is in the air! The Thunderbolts are still on the island of Kata Jaya. There’s a lot of stuff happening in this issue that is set up to conclude this first story arc.

Red Hulk has hulked out back to his human/General Ross form and is carrying around the Leader, who he was able to revive. We’re not sure if it’s the two of them hallucinating, but it appears that they are talking to the former Hulk villain Mercy, who is floating around and talking to them like she’s an angel. Apparently the Leader knows nothing of his

Remember how they thought that they took out Mad Man in the previous issue? Turns out they really didn’t and Venom has to finish him off. Eventually Venom does, and finds a room filled with people plugged into a computer mainframe like something out of the Matrix.

As this is going on, Deadpool surprisingly has become the most noble of the characters, telling the Kata Jayan rebels that they just can’t kill Mad Man. He has to be tried for his crimes, as it makes them as awful as he was. walking away he finds Punisher and Elektra–who spent a good part of the issue fighting/maiming/killing people–making out.

Thunderbolts #4

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One of the big criticisms with Thunderbolts is that everyone is written out of character. While I kind of agree with that, I seem to be part of the minority of people who do indeed like this book.

Everyone other than Red Hulk is still not sure of exactly what is going on, and he seems more interested in reviving the Leader, who received what looked like mortal shot to the head in the last issue. There is a lot of flashbacks in this about the history of Kata Jaya. It turns out it’s dictator, General Awa, has been propped up by the United States government for a long time, unbeknownst to everyone at this point.

In the meantime, Punisher and Deadpool go out on their own to find the gamma powered Mad Man. Punisher finds a ridiculous way to take out the much more powerful Mad Man by strapping a landmine to his chest. Yup, you read that right.

On the other side of the island, Venom is storming General Awa’s fortress to rescue Elektra. Unfortunately by the time he rescues her, Awa gets executed by the rebels and that’s not part of the plan. Oh well.

Thunderbolts #1

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Thunderbolts is the book I’ve been waiting to read for quite some time.

As soon as I saw the teaser image, Thunderbolts completely got my attention. Any book that features some of the more modern characters that I’ve been into (Red Hulk and Flash Thompson-Venom) and puts them aside longtime favorites Punisher and Elektra pretty much guarantees a purchase. Not

The first issue of the series sets up the direction of the team. General Ross is putting together a group of some of the more “extreme” heroes of the Marvel universe to take matters into their own hands, mainly focusing on Ross recruiting an imprisoned Punisher to join him. And really, he doesn’t have much choice because he’s tied up in a warehouse with hundreds of angry mobsters getting ready to bust the door down. As this story is unfolding, they cut to scenes of Ross recruiting the rest of the team around the world.

It’s pretty much what you would expect from a first issue. I don’t know if Daniel Way usually writes in this decompressed style, but I do hope the action picks up in the future. I don wonder how this book would read if it was written by Garth Ennis, especially since the first arc is drawn by his regular collaborator Steve Dillon.

So final verdict: Thunderbolts has a lot of potential to be awesome. It’s got a really interesting characters, most of which have never been in a book with a team dynamic. And I think for those scenes, Way is going to do a great job writing. I can’t wait for him to  pick up the action in future issues; I want to see some crazy Dillon fight scenes!

Thomas Jane Made A Punisher Fan Film

Thomas Jane’s 2004 The Punisher is probably the most criminally underrated super hero films.Borrowing a lot of its tone and plot from the Garth Ennis Punisher stories, it was dark, gritty and a lot of fun. Unfortunately, the next Punisher film was a complete reboot without Jane playing the role of the gun-toting vigilante.

This summer, Jane teamed up with movie producer Adi Shankar for the short “Dirty Laundry.” Debuting at Comic-Con, this was an amazingly well done fan film that shows a particularly violent day in the life of Frank Castle. It’s a gory love letter to the character.

It really makes me want to see another Punisher movie with Jane done like this. Although that doesn’t really seem like a possibility at this time, at least we’ve all learned how we can use a bottle of Jack Daniels as a weapon.

New Thunderbolts with Red Hulk, Punisher, Deadpool and Elektra! Count Me In!

Marvel has just made an announcement that I can’t wait for:  the new Thunderbolts series. Traditionally, the team has been about a team of villains or other nefarious types having to put aside their own scheming for the greater good–whether they’ve decided to do this on their own or have been forced. This new version takes the concept in a different decision.

In an interview over on Newsarama with new writer Daniel Way, the team basically operates under the direction of Red Hulk (who before he became gamma powered was the long time military leader/Hulk hunter General “Thunderbolt” Ross of the US Army) to work off the grid. Way put it this way in that interview:

This team of Thunderbolts exists to cut out that infection, wherever it is found. They do not recognize boundaries or borders, be they moral, political or geographical. They can and will strike anyone, at any time, without warning. They are the consequence of evil deeds, pure and simple.

So this team basically operates on their own. I’ve been a super fan of Red Hulk as a character, as well as the current incarnation of Venom. The only character I’m not too hot on is Deadpool due to him being kind of overexposed the last five years or so. But that is counteracted by having Punisher and Elektra on board, and both of them have kind of being pushed to the back of Marvel’s hierarchy in this period.

And to top it all off long time Garth Ennis Preacher/Punisher penciller Steve Dillon handling the art on this book, this is going to be nothing but awesome. I guess this will be added to my pull list.

Web of Spider-Man Annual #6

Let’s talk about Web of Spider-Man Annual #6. I remember getting this back in 1990 at a Caldor promotional event where they had some sort of special appearance with a guy in a Spider-Man costume and this issues was the “gift” for showing up. The cover may show a battle between Spidey and Psycho-Man but the best part of this annual was the back up story!

That story features a day at the mall with Mary Jane and Aunt May which gets interrupted by a gang of terrorists taking them hostage.

It’s up to the Punisher to save them, and with a little help from Aunt May he does just that. I’ll give you a small hint: there’s a fake heart attack involved.

There’s even a bit of fun trivia: this story is written by Gerry Conway and pencilled by Ross Andru. This is the same creative team that did Amazing Spider-Man #129–the first appearance of the Punisher!

The book has two other back-ups; one with Mary Jane on a trial jury and another about a baby getting the Captain Universe powers, but really everything in this book pales in comparison to the Aunt May/Punisher adventure. That alone makes this worth purchasing.

Politics of Super Heroes

Today, like millions of others across the United States, I’m heading out to my local polling station for Election Day. What if super heroes could Let’s look at the political leanings of our favorite super heroes. Information about the labels used in this article are courtesy of the Pew Institute’s political typology study.

We’ll start our examination with Superman, the first super hero. Ultimately, he’s guided by what he feels is right and wrong, so I think he would be extremely moderate when it comes to the ballot. He always wants to do the right thing, so I can see him reading and making charts comparing the candidates. The main factor in his decision is if it is the right thing to do.

Batman is firmly on the conservative side of the political spectrum. His advanced interrogation techniques, warrant-less investigations and physicality would drive the ACLU nuts! Not to mention the fact that he likes spying on people for no reason (the whole Brother Eye story) and secretly collecting databases on his friends’ weaknesses (in case he ever has to, well, kill them), Batman is a firm believer in national security over personal rights. When he takes the mask off, Bruce Wayne is a billionaire industrialist, so obviously he would be pro-business. Not to mention that he inherited everything through investments, so I would imagine he’s happy with the way the capital gains taxes are as is.

Captain America is the ultimate populist hero, so like Superman, he would be a moderate independent. He would never publicly endorse a candidate. Cap feels that feels that he is the self-appointed guardian of the American dream, so he would vote against anyone who threatened that. At times he might skew a little liberal economically; he’s a product of the New Deal you know! Captain America is also a strong advocate in civil liberties, as his defense of them was a big part of the Civil War event. For more insight into his political beliefs, look no further than Captain America #250, where he mulls running for president.

If you’re looking for a super progressive/liberal type super hero, look no further than Mr. Fantastic. One of the–if not the–world’s foremost scientists, he would absolutely go nuts listening to someone argue why creationism must be included in education. In the current Future Foundation book, he’s empowered a global task force of the world’s greatest minds to fix problems before they get out of hand. He’s an advocate of being a world citizen and thinking globally.

His Fantastic Four teammate the Thing is a bit more conservative than him. Thing takes pride in being a self-made man. What would annoy a 500 pound rock monster of a man? High taxes and ridiculous government spending. You try explaining to him why his tax dollars are needed to build a bridge to nowhere!

So what would everyone’s favorite Green Lantern political type be? Obviously Hal Jordan is too busy with his super hero business and personal life to vote. I would bet money that he probably isn’t even registered to vote. Well, he was registered to vote at one point, but that was probably so he could hit on some girl who worked in the city election office. At least that’s what post Green Lantern: Reborn wants us to think.

Meanwhile, Hal’s BFF Green Arrow is a well-known super liberal super hero. He is a strong advocate for pretty much all of the traditional liberal causes (just remember the Hard Traveling Heroes stories if you don’t believe me).  If he were a real person, he would probably pal around with other progressive billionaires like George Soros and Warren Buffet.

Hawkman is Green Arrow’s longtime political counterpoint in the Justice League. This winged super hero has been portrayed as being a super conservative over the years. He proudly supports the death penalty, is socially conservative and believes that people themselves are accountable for their personal success. No soup for you unless you work for it!

I think that it is universally accepted that Professor X is a card-carrying liberal. He’s a civil rights icon and a strong advocate against discrimination. He would be the first in line to stand up for Affirmative Action.

But Charles Xavier can never run for office, and it’s not because he’s a mutant. It’s because of his immigration scandal. You know the one I’m talking about; look to the right.He brought Colossus, Storm and Nightcrawler into the country 36 years ago with student visas–and they’re still here! Plus, bringing a known criminal illegally into the country in Wolverine?

Lex Luthor seems to skew towards being a staunch conservative. I’m not saying that staunch conservatives are super villains; just look at the facts. Aside from wanting to get rid of Superman and occasional thoughts of world domination, Luthor has been one hell of a business man. The DCU is dominated by LexCorp and its various subsidiaries, and as its owner/CEO, Lex would totally support any candidate who championed less government regulation over the business and finance sectors.

So what kind of political views would the Punisher have? Anarchistic tendencies aside, its anyone’s guess. He would agree to a certain extent with libertarians that the government is too large and ineffective, and that people should have more control over their lives. That works for him; he thinks the legal system is corrupt and spends his days hunting down criminals. Plus they don’t believe in gun control, and the right to carry a concealed Uzi or M-16 is something that is near and dear to his heart. But as soon as they start saying that things like drugs and prostitution shouldn’t considered crimes anymore, you lose him.

Spider-Man’s whole “with great power comes great responsibility” mantra leads me to believe that he would be pretty mad about the country’s current financial boondoggle. Spidey would agree with the Occupy Wall Street crowd’s view that many big businesses have been abusing their financial power. He would probably skew liberal on many social issues, especially education. As a product of New York’s public schools, and later a teacher there, he sees the importance of having a well run public school system.

Iron Man’s family has made its fortune as a military contractor and through inheritance and investment. Fiscally and defense, he is very conservative. But in some ways, he’s also very liberal. The employees at Stark Enterprises are treated extremely well. He’s a big supporter of global welfare and the environment, even if it’s against his business interests. Plus, championing the Super Hero Registration Act to create a new government agency to administer super heroes nationwide only gives the federal government more power. I don’t think you can pigeonhole Tony Stark to a certain ideology.

Batman vs. Punisher Film Trailer

I know this movie won’t be made anytime soon, but this trailer is awesome. As geeky as it sounds, I would love to see this movie. Batman and Punisher are really two sides of the same coin; the difference is in how far they take things.

This fanmade clip is a variation of the plot of The Dark Knight, with the Punisher praying on the crime lords of Gotham and having to hire the Joker to deal with their problem. Obviously, this is going to get dangerous, bringing Batman into the fold. At the very least, this would be an awesome video game.

So what other non-DC characters do you think should pay the Dark Knight when they take a vacation in beautiful Gotham City?