Contains Mild Spoilers
BEST QUOTE: "We're now in the greatest danger yet of altering history for ourselves -- if those two meet themselves it will almost certainly set that off." ~ Centurius [Dr. Noah Black]
"OFFICIAL" MARVEL SOLICIT
• It had to happen – Thunderbolts V. Thunderbolts!
• Years ago, in the wake of the world’s battle with Onslaught, the Thunderbolts were formed to protect a planet devoid of heroes – but they were villains in disguise!
• Now, the ‘Bolts of the Modern Day come crashing into their earliest days – and will make a decision that may destroy the Marvel U – or save it!
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: the Underbolts (fugitives through time) have landed in Central Park, a few years prior to their "great escape"; during the early days of the original, founding Thunderbolts. In order to avoid irrevocably damaging the time-stream, it is imperative that Moonstone [Dr. Karla Sofen] and Fixer [P. Norbert Ebersol] do not meet their former selves. But can the wayward team keep a low-profile while symataniously being hunted by their old selves? Seeking refuge in the caverns under the city (where a few years from now, under Luke Cage's leadership, they will face the army of undead Hand ninjas during the events of Shadowland); the team plan their stragey for their final leap home. But when the Underbolts inevitably come to blows with their "founding fathers"... while everyone is distracted in battle...
...Moonstone takes the opportunity to have some alone time with her former self... "Look into your future, Dr Sofen..."
THOUGHTS: BEST. STORY. EVER!!!! I have to say, I did adore every single page, every single moment. The concept itself isn't exactly new or unique, per se (the newer team meeting their original counter-parts; Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Trials and Tribblelations springs to mind); but what makes this story sizzle is the genuine element of danger. In all other time-travel stories "preserving the time-line"/"not altering the past" (blah, blah, blah) is the major plot element (as it was in DS9); and you know they will accomplish that. But in this instance you have to wonder: will that be the case? It's a team of villains (okay... quasi-heroic, not really evil, opportunistic scoundrel villains); and if that BEAUTIFUL cliffhanger surrounding the oh-so-manipulative Dr. Karla Sofen is anything to go by: Things. Are. Going. To. CHANGE!!!!
The great advantage Jeff Parker has, as a writer of Thunderbolts (e.g. a B-list comic, full of B-list characters; and I say that with love) is he can instigate massive changes, or truly rock the Thunderbolts time-line without fearing other writers throwing a spanner in the works. One of these characters could actually effect their own history; in a significant way. Someone could die, and change the whole course of the Thunderbolts. You just don't know. Jeff Parker keeps you guessing. Karla says "I don't remember seeing our tower in Central Park" (implying this isn't their time-line) AND YET Boomerang steals his own weapons and spare outfit from his storage lockers "fulfilling" the time-line of him arriving their and it being empty. Which basically means: I don't know how this will end, I really really don't. And that's SO EXCITING. If you read Avengers you know, ultimately, they will win (*yawn*). The same is not true here. Who will win? The Masters of Evil posing as heroes? Or the escaped convicts, damaging the time-line? It's all up in the air, and everything's to play for. Which makes this such a gripping read. Nothing is certain in this comic. Which is why it's the best Marvel comic around (there, I said, so sue me, it's the God's honest truth!!!)
Lastly, the interview at the back, where Jeff Parker asks questions of "the B team" (Busiek, Brevoort and Bagley) was so lovely. I could be wrong, but it seems to me Jeff Parker has really come to love this comic, and I'm so happy. His excitement for everything Thunderbolts is a joy; as is his epic stories. So having him honour 15 Years of Thunderbolts with these interviews (two more coming, in the next two issues) just makes him the classiest guy.
N.B. as a complete side-note, kudos to Jeff Parker teaching the old-fan new tricks. When I saw Fixer call himself "Techno" I thought "noooooooooo! That is his robot self" until I researched and Parker is 100% correct. See, even die-hard fans like me can get continuity wrong (SUBTEXT: we should give writers some slack now and then)