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Avengers/Thunderbolts #4: Review

Jul 2004
Kurt Busiek, Tom Grummett

Story Name:

Four: Betrayal

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers/Thunderbolts #4 Review by (August 6, 2021)
Scripting continues to be by Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza, and lettering by the Richard Starkings/Albert Deschesne combo.

Lloyd Bloch was Moonstone, a criminal in Captain America #169-175 empowered by a rock found on the Moon. Karla Sofen was an unethical psychiatrist working with Dr Faustus in CA#192. In Hulk #228-232 (with a side-trip to CA#230) she persuaded Bloch to give her the Moonstone rock and started a new career as the new Moonstone. Later she joined the villainous Thunderbolts, and her conversion to a heroine has always been dubious. While they were on the Counter-Earth that used to be the Heroes Reborn Earth she picked up that reality's Moonstone and is now even more powerful. Note that the Moonstones are embedded in her body.

While she only had the 1 of the Kree Moonstones Karla began to be plagued with dreams of an ancient Kree warrior. She went to the Moon where the Kree Supreme Intelligence was imprisoned and learned that the Moonstone was created to power that female warrior in a prehistoric (to us) Guardians Of The Galaxy. (Then she went to Titan to have the Stone removed, but learned that doing that might kill her.)


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers/Thunderbolts #4 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
It's Hawkeye's turn for the thoughtover this issue, so he gives us the sitrep. Last issue the Thunderbolts activated their Liberator Project using old Magneto Protocol satellites reprogrammed to detect transnormal energies and siphon them off, storing the the energy in the Liberator device. They say this will make the world a safer place. The Avengers are flying a quinjet to stop them. Even the Fantastic Four's advanced machines are being drained. Skilled humans Clint Barton and Captain America weren't affected but synthezoid Vision's workings and the Pym Particles in Wasp and Yellowjacket were. It tried to syphon Scarlet Witch's Chaos Magic but she fought it off and is now healing the others.

The quinjet is about to crash onto Stormfront-1, the TBolts North Sea HQ, but Songbird slows it in a sonic net and Atlas goes giant to catch it. (The Liberator system is programmed not to affect the 'Bolts.) Cap, Hawk and Vizh exit the craft, and Cap orders the above 2 and Vantage to lead them to Baron Zemo.

Inside Zemo, Blackheath, Fixer, Moonstone and Cobalt Man (who we know is Iron Man in different armour) have turned the test run off and are about to broadcast what they're doing to the world. But Cap's thrown shield stops them and he declares that he's arresting Zemo. The 2 start verbally and physically sparring. Clint asks (his ex-lover) Moonstone to separate them but she tells *him* to do it. The other 3 Avengers turn up and it looks like things are going to escalate. So Songbird parts the pair with a solid sound wall.

Helmut Zemo still maintains that the people of the world would support his removal of nuclear missiles and Hulks if Captain America would let him ask them. But Vision relays news that panicked rulers of the world have mobilised their armies and conflict is imminent. To prove his motives are pure Zemo offers to give the energy that Liberator gathered in the test run to the Avengers. However Vizh reports that there is *no* energy in Liberator. Cobalt Man says Cap's shield messed things up, and Fixer can't fix it.

Hawkeye wonders where the energy has gone. Fixer says he'll try to trace it, but Wasp zaps him to stop him touching the machine. Cobalt Man urges the Avengers to let Norbert Ebersol work, and CA asks CM if he trusts him (remember Steve Rogers knows it's Tony Stark in the armour). Hawkeye (ex-team leader of the T-Bolts) adds his vote of support. But Cap just can't trust a Zemo, and by extension the 'Bolts.

Helmut loses it and attacks Cap. Giant Atlas punches giant Yellowjacket. Vision flies up to Moonstone. Hawkeye tells him to back off but also threatens Karla Sofen with arrows. She contemptuously makes the synthezoid super-heavy and then deflects Clint's arrows. Songbird keeps Atlas and YJ (and Wasp) apart. Karla manages to disrupt Wanda Maximoff's Chaos Magic until Clint body-tackles her in midair. Zemo ends the fight by laying down his sword and surrendering to Cap. But there's something wrong with Moonstone.

Fixer attaches something to Cobalt Man's armour and they both wind up 'inside' the system's computer program. CM's avatar appears as Tony Stark until he changes it to the armour before Fixer notices. They track down some code Norbert doesn't recognise but CM says is the Protocol X bypass and it's written in Kree.

The pair return to reality and Cobalt Man accuses Moonstone of stealing the energy (the 2 Moonstones which empower her are of Kree origin and at 1 time she had memories of a previous Kree owner). It turns out he's right and I think her current problem is trying to keep the energy under control. But now she lashes out with it and claims that she only installed the bypass in case Zemo tried to take it. But Cap's shield caused it to activate and give her the energy. However nobody seems to believe her and they all turn against her (but I think Blackheath sneaks away).

Her 1st act is to unmask Cobalt Man, because she found proof last issue that he wasn't the original wearer. But she's as surprised as the rest of the Thunderbolts to find that it's Tony Stark in there. And of course it reopens the rift between the 2 teams. And then Karla Sofen decides to give everyone back the energy she got from Liberator, seemingly destroying the base in the process.

Tom Grummett
Gary Erskine
Brian Reber
Barry Kitson (Cover Penciler)
? (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Richard Starkings.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: Joe Quesada.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Baron Zemo
Baron Zemo

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Karla Sofen)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Atlas, Blackheath (Sam Smithers), Fixer, Songbird, Vantage (Dallas Riordan).

> Avengers/Thunderbolts: Book info and issue index

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