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Thunderbolts #104: Review

Sep 2006
?, Tom Grummett

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Story Name:

Taking civil liberties, part 2

Review & Comments

4 stars

Thunderbolts #104 Review by (August 10, 2014)
Most of the villains captured at the beginning of this issue date back to the 80's, but Porcupine only recently took over the dead villain's super-id in Daughters of the Dragon (2006) #3. We learned Grandmaster was behind the re-formation of the Squadron Sinister in #97, and he was planning for a future clash with Zemo over something called the Wellspring of Power. Zemo's future visions in #101 included Grandmaster and the Squadron. In #102 we found that Zemo also knew about the power source. Whiplash and Blacklash were both names of the same Iron Man villain, who debuted a Whiplash in Tales of Suspense #97 and as Blacklash in IM#146, and died in IM(1998)#8. While he was Blacklash a woman took the name Whiplash starting in Marvel Comics Presents #49. The 2 here have nothing to do with either of these, nor with the Russian Whiplash who will succeed them in the Iron Man vs Whiplash mini-series. The presence of Dr Octopus confirms that the Thunderbolts are detaining not just the villains *they* capture, as Ock was caught by Spider-Man in Sensational SM #28. They're supposed to be holding them until the 'special' prison is ready. The extra villains seen near the end are Batroc, Boomerang, Pretty Persuasions, Smiling Tiger from last issue plus Aqueduct, Killer Shrike, Slyde, Tatterdemalion, Vermin, Whirlwind and maybe a Lava Man and some others I can't identify.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Thunderbolts #104 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The Thunderbolts are out there capturing unregistered supervillains. Atlas, Smuggler and Songbird take down Mongoose. The 3 Beetles have been inducted and are working with Mach-IV to bring in Eel and Porcupine. And Quicksand, the other villain caught last issue, is with Blizzard, Fixer and Joystick against the U-Foes (despite the fact that 1 of them, X-Ray, was shown already captured last issue).

Their progress is monitored by Dallas Riordan and Henry Peter Gyrich of the Commission on Superhuman Activity, who are now presenting Operation: Justice Like Lightning to the Joint Chiefs and the Intelligence Community. The live satellite feed of the battles shows how the ex-villains are taking care not to harm the public. The new inductees have been fitted with Subdermal Phase-Shift Locators which will teleport them to jail if they misbehave.

The idea is that the Thunderbolts will be expanded into a permanent army of ex-villains. For those who won't submit to this regime, a new prison is being built. Dallas shows the audience Thunderbolt Radioactive Man working with Mr Fantastic and Yellowjacket to create it. Their work is being recorded in case anything goes wrong - someone else can learn from their mistakes.

We now see Zemo visiting that workplace. They are making use of his Static Spatial Fold technology (that I guess is part of what makes the Thunderbolts' Folding Castle base work). Henry Pym is more gung-ho about the project than Reed Richards (but then he is an unrevealed Skrull replacement), but he's suspicious of Zemo's motives. Baron Z counters by pointing out that Pym isn't beyond reproach - he blackmailed the Thunderbolts into attacking the Avengers for CSA purposes (#94-95 - he was a Skrull then too).

Zemo returns to the Folding Castle (through a portal he generates using the Moonstones) where Mongoose has been told about O:JLL (and also about the 50 State Initiative). The captive villain agrees to join, and Zemo sends him with Atlas and Smuggler to Swordsman for training.

Zemo reviews his grand plan with his confidante Songbird. They intend to build a supervillain army to fight Grandmaster and the Squadron Sinister in the near future. He also promises Melissa they will have a special ally when the time comes.

The other 2 teams return with their catches, who also agree to join the army.

We now look in on the last Thunderbolt Swordsman, whose job it is to train all these new recruits in the New Mexico desert. He's currently dealing with King Cobra, Ox and Unicorn. Watching are Ox-s fellow-Enforcer Snake Marston and Cobra's fellow Serpent Society members Bushmaster and Rattler. Then Andreas Strucker is challenged by 2 new users of the names Blacklash (male) and Whiplash (female), who it seems were S&M buddies from his dissolute days.

The reunion is interrupted by the arrival by space-fold of Zemo and some of the team (including for some reason Radioactive Man). And our view expands to encompass loads more villains at the training centre. Including Dr Octopus who is very sceptical about the long-term benefits of the deal. But Zemo leaves again to deal with that very question.

His destination is a meeting with Captain America and other Resistors Falcon and Hercules. He says that when they're captured by the government's forces, he will be able to free them. And he hints at a way of becoming heroes again in the eyes of the public.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

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


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Baron Zemo
Baron Zemo

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Doctor Octopus
Doctor Octopus

(Otto Octavius)

(Sam Wilson)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)

Plus: Atlas, Beetles, Blizzard, Cobra (Klaus Voorhees), Dallas Riordan, Eel (Edward Lavell), Fixer, Hank Pym (Skrull), Joystick, Mach-IV, Mongoose, Ox, Porcupine (Alexander Gentry), Quicksand, Radioactive Man, Smuggler, Songbird, Squadron Sinister, Swordsman (Andreas von Strucker), U-Foes, Unicorn.

> Thunderbolts: Book info and issue index

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