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Avengers/Thunderbolts #6: Review

Sep 2004
Kurt Busiek, Tom Grummett

Story Name:

Six: Blood will tell

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers/Thunderbolts #6 Review by (August 14, 2021)
Not only is there joint scripting by Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza and joint lettering by Richard Starkings and Albert Deschesne but this time we also have joint colouring by Brian Reber and Chris Sotomayor.

What's next for our characters?

Starting with the Thunderbolts:-
Abe Jenkins does form a new team but not until the Avengers have Disassembled, so like the 1st go round during Heroes Reborn they're filling a gap left by that team. He upgrades his armour from Mach-3 to Mach-4 for New Thunderbolts #1.
De-powered Erik Josten joins as part of the support team but then discovers he's got his old ionic powers back in NTB#1.
Songbird also joins in NTB#1. But before that she's in a mass hero-fest in Wonder Man (2007) #5, and in an extended flashback in TB#101 where she appears to be conspiring (and in a relationship) with Helmut Zemo.
Vantage will pop up as Dallas Riordan in her Homeland Security job in NTB#8 where we'll learn that Atlas taking his ionic powers back means she's been left paralysed again. In #13 she'll have moved with Carol Danvers (Warbird) to the Commission On Superhuman Activities where she'll organise sending the T-Bolts to investigate the New Avengers. She'll keep appearing in that role in various issues of the series.
Fixer will be called in by Deadpool to save Cable's life in C&DP #11-12 before NTB#15 where he joins a spin-off TBolts led by Mach-4.
Baron Zemo is in a mass scene in Captain America Theatre Of War: America The Beautiful before sharing the conspiratorial TB#101 fbs with Songbird. Because of this he's considered behind the scenes NTB#1 and later issues until he actually reappears in NTB#18 as the real boss of Mach-4's spin-off team.
It's old-home week in NTB#18 as Moonstone cameos still in a coma.
Jolt will be seen on Counter-Earth in Exiles #81-82, but eventually she'll return to Earth to join another version of the team in TB(2016)#10.
Blackheath won't return to the 'Bolts but he will return as the villainous Plantman, possibly next in a minor way in 2006's Underworld #4-5.

Now the Avengers:-
Captain America will pop out for a cameo in X-Treme X-Men #46 before the epilogue section of this issue.
Then he, Hawkeye, Iron Man and Scarlet Witch will be in various issues of X-Statix #21-25 in a classic team member vs team member hunt for pieces of Doop's brain.
The 1st 3 will then also be in the above-mentioned CATOW:ATB.
Hawkeye will then have #1-6 of his 2003 series in a mostly non-costume story with lots of flashbacks to his carny days, and an ancient mosaic of Jesus in Laos.
Meanwhile after X-Statix #21-25 and CATOW:ATB Iron Man will cameo in The Pulse #3.
After all these issues Cap and Hawkeye will show up with Wasp for the start of Lionheart Of Avalon in Av #77
IM and the Witch will join them in #78 alongside Yellowjacket.
But Vision won't be around until the start of Once An Invader in #82.

Warbird will use her Homeland Security credential to get Nightcrawler and Wolverine out of trouble in Uncanny X-Men #445, and will drop in on her old team in Av #82.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers/Thunderbolts #6 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Captain America does the thoughtover for this final issue and so it's he who brings us up to date. Baron Zemo's Thunderbolts planned to use their Project: Liberator to drain all transnormal energy from the world to make it a safer place. (This would include neutralising all atomic weapons and eg draining the gamma energy from Hulk.) The Avengers had to stop them. (The T-Bolts did a test run which stored some of that energy in the Liberator device. Not trusting Zemo completely Moonstone had arranged a failsafe to take the energy for herself. The Avengers' attack triggered the failsafe.) Now Moonstone has all that power (as well as her 2 Moonstone gems). Karla Sofen's sanity is questionable. (Liberator has already been run in reverse to take back its energy but) taking away her Moonstone power as well risks leaving her catatonic (or dead). Her ex-lover Hawkeye has notched an arrow, and Cap hopes he's made the right choice.
[The bits in brackets are me inserting stuff that Steve Rogers leaves out.]

But from Cap's point of view Clint Barton chooses wrong as he blasts the Liberator, stopping it from draining the Moonstones. And they're left with an angry Moonstone.

More stuff happened last issue. Helmut Zemo's face is scarred again after he took a Moonstone blast meant for Cap. Karla tore apart Blackheath's plant body. Now he's reintegrated but claims that the Green is abandoning him because of the damage Moonstone's power did to the world. However he can still generate a substance to ease Helmut's pain.

Vision does his phasing an arm through the chest trick on Moonstone, but Hawkeye hits him with a bioelectric scrambler arrow. He comments that he's got an arrow specifically designed for everyone on both teams. Karla says she's tired of trying to live up to his expectations, and now she just wants to be left alone. She prepares to gravitational shunt away but Scarlet Witch tries to stop her with a Chaos Magic hex. But the result is a hole in space which threatens to suck them all in. Fixer reports that such holes are appearing all over the world.

Songbird tries to plug the hole with solid sound. Atlas, Wasp and Yellowjacket go big to throw debris at it. The hole splits(?) into multiple bubbles and Scarlet Witch can't get Moonstone out of the middle of it all, so Jolt sends her electric self to try to do the job. But Karla no longer trusts anyone, not even her friend, and bats her away. A hole starts to take Blackheath and Zemo away to Moscow but Songbird pulls them back with a sound tentacle. A Chinese building suddenly pops up through another hole. Clint tries to persuade Karla *she* can stop all this.

Fixer and Iron Man come up with a pseudoscientific explanation for what's happening. Wanda Maximoff's hex caught Moonstone mid-shunt and now she's everywhere at once. Fixer says he's stopped her before, but that was before she got the 2nd power gem. But he's devised a multi-phase spectrum scrambler which should give them 3 seconds to deal with her permanently. Norbert Ebersol hands it to Tony Stark and then jumps through a hole - anywhere on Earth is safer than *here*. As the Statue Of Liberty's torch suddenly appears and nearly crushes some of them, Cap tells IM and Hawk to get it done. Tony tosses the scrambler towards Moonstone and Clint shoots his anti-Moonstone arrow which disrupts her gravity field long enough for the scrambler to get through.

There's an explosion of black blobs and light and Karla Sofen falls towards the ground. Vision dives through her and comes away with the Moonstone gems. But their energy is too much for him and he drops them. And Zemo dives for them and uses them teleport away. And Clint Barton cradles catatonic Karla.

We end with some epilogues weeks later.

Ex-Blackheath Sam Smithers surrenders himself to Vantage and Warbird at Seagate maximum security penitentiary, from which he had escaped with Hawkeye (TBolts#56). Warbird offers Dallas Riordan a job with Homeland Security.

In Avengers Mansion Songbird turns down an offer of Avengers membership (at least for now). Atlas gets Yellowjacket to remove the Pym Particles that give him his current growing power. Jolt is going back to Counter-Earth. She, Songbird and Hawkeye say goodbye over Karla's hospital bed. Hawk, Cap and Wasp hear that Abner Jenkins' help in this series has got him a parole from Parsons minimum security prison, and now Mach-3 hopes to set up a new Thunderbolts. Steve says he thinks ex-TBolt leader Clint's legacy is in good hands.

We have a flashback to Zeilniz in 1489 where the heroic 1st Baron Zemo, Harbin, has let power go murderously to his head.

And in modern day Zeilniz Helmut Zemo dons his hood again. He's given up trying to persuade people to let him save the world. From now on he'll go back to forcing them to accept him as saviour.

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)

(Edwin Jarvis)

(Karla Sofen)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Atlas, Blackheath (Sam Smithers), Fixer, Jolt, Mach-3 (Abner Jenkins), Songbird, Vantage (Dallas Riordan), Warbird (Carol Danvers).

> Avengers/Thunderbolts: Book info and issue index

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