Now in its fourth issue, the Thunderbolt relaunch is going on strong. After a business trip to Japan that did not go how Peter Cannon planned, he meets a reporter who knows a lot more than she lets on, and it makes him uncomfortable. An assassin ambushes the two and shoots Thunderbolt, and he loses his cool and reveals his superpowers. At the same time, other characters discuss their future roles in the universe.
The story works because it’s mostly world building. For a lot of us, Thunderbolt’s rich history is an unknown. He and his world are slowly revealed to readers, and each issue highlights a new part of it. It’s worth reading just to see the next piece of the tapestry reveal itself.
But a problem needs addressing. Thunderbolt has a more famous counterpart in Watchmen’s Ozymandias. A knowledgeable writer knows that a comparable storyline right now is After Watchmen: Ozymandias, but this Dynamite storyline gives us Thunderbolt instead of the better-known Watchmen character. Alex Ross and Steve Darnall knew this but didn’t make make Thunderbolt’s tale stand out, which is a shame because it harms the reader experience for a character who should be unique.
There are some hiccups with the artwork. In this issue’s only fight scene, the pacing is very frenetic and hard to follow. The rest of the artwork is fine, but it’s mostly panoramic shots of airplane interiors, boardrooms, and airports. There is a nice series of panels that shows a claustrophobic conspiracy theorist constantly looking at footage on his computer. That stuff worked, but the fight did not.
The other problem with the issue is a lack of importance. Sure stuff gets done and the storylines advance in a meaningful way, but the issue feels like it’s a placeholder between stories.
Final thought: Positive.
Even though this issue could be skipped, it still provides enough information that will pay off down the line. If you can get over the “After Watchmen” feel of the story, the character and the universe are great to read about.
Images from Dynamite.com.