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New Thunderbolts #14: Review

Dec 2005
Fabian Nicieza, Tom Grummett

Story Name:

Made perfect

Review & Comments

4 stars

New Thunderbolts #14 Review by (November 27, 2014)
The Marvel Continuity Project puts these 2 issues just after Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #2, suggesting that it was Pym's visit to the Baxter Building then when he planted the bugs there. The Official Index doesn't track his appearances well enough to confirm it. But this sequence conflicts strongly with the MCP's order for Spider-Man apps. The OI *does* confirm *that* order, and the MCP lists for some other major characters that fit in with it. So we don't really know if the BB visit Pym refers to is documented elsewhere or not. Baron Helmut Zemo led the Thunderbolts until they disbanded at the end of the Avengers/Thunderbolts limited series. We saw in #12 that he was behind Purple Man in #10-12, with hints that he had his hand in preceding issues too. Now he's involved with the CSA. We'll discover that he's also behind Fixer's team. We will also learn that the Moonstones have given him fractured visions of the future. Fixer's team is being built up to combat the world-menace that Photon will turn out to be, culminating in the return to the old book title and numbering with Thunderbolts #100. But I think the threat to the world Zemo has told the CSA about may be a different 1, judging by his reference to the Guardian Protocols which will later be mentioned in connection with the fight against the Grandmaster ending in #108. The CSA will be involved in the build-up to that universe-threatening battle. The Grandmaster will make his 1st move next issue, if he hasn't already with Dr Spectrum in the last 2 issues. (And coincidentally that battle will result in the current team disbanding and being rebuilt again. And Zemo leaving the scene again.) On the other hand the GP is spoken of here as being enacted by the CSA, but in #106 it is a pact between alien races forming a much older Guardians of the Galaxy.

The title "Made perfect" is from another Biblical quotation "My strength is made perfect in weakness". I'm not sure about this 1's relevance either. Carol Danvers' memo also mentions suspicions about SHIELD. This probably refers to the supposedly-rogue SHIELD operation discovered in the Savage Land in New Avengers #5-6. Radioactive Man last fought Iron Man in IM(1998)#37-40, although his appearances in the 2010 IM: Legacy mini-series will be placed after that. But both of these are before the Extremis armour. Photon suggests that he could predict when he would be required to kidnap Captain America. But probably he either used cosmic awareness or his ability to see the future. Genis-Vell is very familiar with the Microverse. When he shared existence with Rick Jones he spent half his time there. Henry Pym mentions that the miniaturised bugs have been developed by Nugent Technologies. This is the company (Avengers (1998) #19-20) belonging to his former assistant Alice Nugent (IM#194). She will become the new Dr Spectrum in #15.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

New Thunderbolts #14 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
We open with a Commission on Superhuman Activities memo from Director Carol Danvers to the Vice-President before the meeting he will attend. It reminds us of the basic plot of this 2-issue story:- That the CSA has sent the Thunderbolts to attack the New Avengers, as a message to the group that is acting without Government sanction. She expresses her strong reservations.

The action this issue is spread across a night (last issue's covered this night and the preceding day).

We return to the late evening battle between Thunderbolts and New Avengers:- Photon vs Sentry, Radioactive Man vs Iron Man, Songbird vs Captain America, Speed Demon vs Spider-Man, Atlas has already thrown Luke Cage out to sea.

Cap wants to know why the Thunderbolts have attacked them. Melissa Gold can't tell him, and doesn't really believe the answer herself.

Sentry works out that Photon is the son of Captain Mar-Vell. He suggests the father wouldn't want the 2 of them to endanger the Earth with the clash of their mighty powers. So Genis-Vell takes them elsewhere.

Spidey uses giant Atlas as a base for web-swinging. But the other team are ready for that, and Atlas shrinks back to human-size. Leaving SM at the mercy of Speed Demon's fists.

Radioactive Man has no new personal tactic against Iron Man, whose armour has improved since last they fought. But part of Songbird's plan is to win by teamwork, so Dr Chen steps aside to allow giant-again Atlas to stamp on his foe.

Cap realises that the enemy is prepared for them, including somehow getting access to the Red Ronin robot last issue. He tries to tell his troops to foil the 'Bolts by switching opponents. But Melissa had anticipated this too. Photon pops back at just the right moment and takes Steve Rogers away.

Armour-damaged Iron Man's next ploy is to try bribery. Speed Demon had bet this would happen. Radioactive Man says this is the kind of thing that means the Avengers need to be taught a lesson.

Meanwhile we see Spider-Woman fighting Joystick, who sneaked into Avengers Tower last issue. The minutes tick over into the next morning as in CSA HQ Carol Danvers, Henry Gyrich and Hank Pym watch the battle through miniaturised (by Pym-particles) surveillance devices that Joystick is scattering from her truncheon weapons. The longer the fight continues, the more coverage of the Tower they will have. Jessica Drew is beating (literally) Janice Yanizeski, but Joystick won't give up.

For a bit of light relief we turn to a strip club where Norbert Ebersol (Fixer) takes Abner Jenkins (Mach-IV) to meet fellow ex-Thunderbolt Donnie Gill (Blizzard). Fixer offers to upgrade Blizzard's supersuit, because he needs a team to save the world.

Photon has taken Cap and Sentry to the Microverse. Now as the 2 powerhouses clash, Steve has to keep dodging the debris. But his luck can't hold out forever. When Photon sees Cap trapped under rubble he sends him elsewhere, saying that the Thunderbolts don't want any of the Avengers to die.

The Web Slinger and the Golden Avenger are still fighting 4 Thunderbolts. Iron Man sends a repulsor blast Chen's way. But unfortunately Captain America reappears in the way. Speed Demon and Radioactive Man then tag team Spidey, and RM counteracts the power granted SM by his irradiated blood.

As Shellhead punches Atlas in his huge jaw, he and weakened Cap try to reason with Songbird. They figure the team must be being manipulated in some way. Melissa's reactions lead IM to guess (correctly) that the Government is blackmailing them.

Just then Photon and Sentry return, catching the 3 Avengers in their explosive reentry. But Genis just sends Sentry back to the Microverse. He expects Bob Reynolds to find his way out, but he'll emerge a long way away.

The Thunderbolts figure they've embarrassed the Avengers enough now. Luke Cage just now swims ashore but the team refuse to fight him. Melissa gives him the message - they can take down the Avengers whenever they are told to. Photon 'ports them out.

Back in Avengers Tower Joystick has kept on fighting the lost battle, to spread more Pym-bugs. But then she ends the encounter by leaping from a balcony, shouting "I win". To be saved by Songbird's solid sound.

Jessica Drew then makes the call to Luke Cage that began last issue where they compare notes on what just happened, monitored by the 3 CSA'ers. We also see the Thing on a screen, and Pym suggests that he planted bugs in the Baxter Building when he last visited there. And that Dallas Riordan put some in Thunderbolts HQ last issue.

Then we're introduced to another player behind the plot - Baron Zemo. The CSA gang are somehow convinced that they need to help Zemo save the world.

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Tom Grummett
Gary Erskine
James Brown
Tom Grummett (Cover Penciler)
Gary Erskine (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Albert Deschesne.
Editor: Tom Brevoort.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Baron Zemo
Baron Zemo

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Luke Cage
Luke Cage

(Power Man)
Ms. Marvel
Ms. Marvel

(Carol Danvers)

(Peter Parker)


(Ben Grimm)

Plus: Atlas, Blizzard, Fixer, Hank Pym (Skrull), Joystick, Mach-IV, Photon (Genis-Vell), Radioactive Man, Red Ronin, Songbird, Speed Demon.

> New Thunderbolts: Book info and issue index

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