Thunderbolts. Marvel’s bad guys take charge

WarrenEllis, Regardless of his problems, he has been one of the most important and influential writers in the world of comics in recent years. His stories go beyond cartoons and are a reflection of the problems of today’s society. Already in his stage in Hellblazer and later in Authority he showed himself as a creator committed and concerned about the authoritarian drift of democratic governments.

so when in 2007 he took over the Thunderbolts collection, a team made up of villains at the service of the government, it did not cost him much relate the comic to the real situation in the US, then immersed in two conflicts, Iraq and Afghanistan, in which non-regular troops (contractors) were taking an increasingly important role.

The Thunderbolts came to be Marvel’s Blackwater, well-paid mercenaries who handled the dirty laundry and who had to be whitewashed through image operations. His way of operating was not legally or morally correct, but it was tremendously effective.

A decade before…

in the middle of the 90 superhero collections were in doldrums, with Avengers and Fantastic Four gone, so Marvel decided that Onslaught will kill most of the superhero community. in order to be able to reset the collections and give them a new look. They didn’t actually die, because in the comic hardly anyone dies forever, but instead went to a pocket dimension. Thus was born the Heroes Reborn universe of Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld, an attempt at revival that ultimately did not work either. But this oneThe absence of superheroes was also used by Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley to create a team made up of former villains. that they would end up reforming, the idea was original or almost (DC had created Suicide Squad 1959), although it continued to move within the canons established by the superhero comic.


Changes of winds

The collection, which started in 1997, became a success and only the events of Civil War (2006) forced a paradigm shift. During the fratricidal war of superheroes, Baron Zemo’s boys aligned themselves with the official side, improving their status and becoming a very valuable resource for Tony Stark.

At this point (2007) and after the death of Baron Zemo, Warren Ellis takes over the collection (110#) and places Norman Osborn in charge of the new team (The green Goblin). The turn is more than evident, The story gets darker almost black. The British screenwriter incorporates two other new characters with a marked psychopath character into the original team: Venom and Bullseye. The latter stars in the first five pages, in one of the greatest starts in the history of comics. There are 31 vignettes in which everything that is going to be the stage of Ellis and Deodato is condensed, never has a Bullseye, who is handcuffed, been as scary as here.


there you stay

From here on, 12 issues to enjoy in which Ellis introduces, presents, and dissects the protagonists of his story, which he seasons with some surprises and leaves the reader wanting more. But Warren, who does not like “living in other people’s houses, but painting them” follows his rule of abandoning sooner rather than later all those projects that are not his, this was from Busiek and Bagley, and he gets off the Thunderbolts after finishing Norman Osborn’s arc. These would go ahead and have a front row entrance in the next great Marvel event, Secret Invasion, to later become the germ of The Dark Avengers at the hands of Bendis.

This is a comic that functions as an essay on the use and abuse of power, the political instrumentalization of the media, and a reflection on whether the end justifies the means.


An exceptional artist

the brazilian Mike Deodato Jr. is one of Marvel’s biggest talents, He had collaborated with Ellis in his Thor stage, to later work with various icons of the publisher: Hulk, Doctor Strange and Spiderman. After his success in Thunderbolts he became a regular in the Avengers collections: Dark Avengers, Secret Avengers, New Avengers and Savage Avengers.

His style has evolved a lot, at first, as he himself confesses, he tried to imitate Jim Lee and Marc Silvestri, but he also admits influences from Jim Steranko, Eduardo Risso and Sean Murphy. He has been exploring different paths that go from a classic drawing to photorealism, although tends to mix styles and experiment depending on the work and the trends of the moment, hence the legend that the name was actually a pseudonym that brought together different cartoonists from a studio.


In Thunderbolts, one of his best works, he shows mastery of the medium in all its aspects: anatomy, close-ups, composition of vignettes… He seems comfortable in situations where there are many characters and, as he himself confesses, he enjoys it more “when these are villains. It’s more fun to do Bullseye than Captain America.” In these twelve numbers it is shown more somber than usual with excellent use of shadows. In the structures, it combines classic layouts with 9 and 6 vignettes with others that completely break the order of the story. Deodato, who is also a great cover artist, exhibits himself in full-page illustrations, leaving true works of art. Another of his strong points is the recreation of the combats and here he has many occasions to demonstrate it.



Thunderbolts It’s one of the large marvel Villains Comics, Ellis manages to give a political context to the story while places Bullseye in the pantheon of psychopathss alongside the Joker and Hannibal Lecter. It’s a pity that he left the collection after these twelve numbers.

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Thunderbolts.  Marvel's bad guys take charge


Script: Warren Ellis

He drew: Mike Deodato Jr.

Date: 7-7-2022

Pages: 304 color

Size: 17×26

Format: Hard cover

Contains: Civil War: Choosing Sides and Thunderbolts 110-121

Price: 24 euros

Editorial: panini

Thunderbolts. Marvel’s bad guys take charge