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Take 10: Thunderbolts

The Secret Cabal delivers justice like lightning with their top 10 Thunderbolts of all-time

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Every week, a secret cabal of Marvel staffers gathers to discuss the best of the best when it comes to the House of Ideas. It's a brand new direction for Marvel's resident shades of grey squadron this week, as writer Andy Diggle and artist Roberto De La Torre take hold of everybody's favorite villains-turned-heroes(?) with THUNDERBOLTS #126. Ever since the T-Bolts first removed their masks to reveal the Masters of Evil underneath over a decade ago, the team of bad guys sometimes looking to reform or sometimes looking to raise hell originally set into motion by Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley has been a rollercoaster ride to read about. The names and faces have changed over the years, but the shocks have never stopped. To coincide with Diggle and De La Torre's arrival, the Secret Cabal has prepared their list of the 10 men and women they feel have shaken up the Thunderbolts the most over the past decade. For each character you get the quick rundown as well as a special spotlight comic courtesy of Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited. As always, these picks reflect the personal choices of the Secret Cabal, not the official opinion of Marvel or Marvel.com, and can be considered subjective at best. Enjoy!

10. VENOM First Appearance: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN v1 #19 (1964) T-Bolts Tenure: THUNDERBOLTS #110 (2007)-present Learn More About Him…here Why He Makes the List: "Mac Gargan, the most villainous host of the Venom symbiote, joined the Thunderbolts during Civil War and rose to fame hunting unregistered heroes. If the idea of Venom as a hero makes you queasy, you can relax. The 'hero' perception comes from very clever PR and nanobots threaten to electrocute Venom if he attempts to eat civilians. Gargan doesn't always see eye-to-eye with the symbiote, and the two struggle for control over their shared existence. If they ever settle that question, or if those nanobots fail, well, things should get interesting." –Secret Cabal member LiterateNitz18 Spotlight Comic: THUNDERBOLTS #116—Thunderbolts Mountain is on lockdown and Venom is getting hungry!

9. RADIOACTIVE MAN First Appearance: JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #93 (1963) T-Bolts Tenure: NEW THUNDERBOLTS #3 (2005)-present Learn More About Him…here Why He Makes the List: "Old school Marvel villains don't come much more straightforward than Dr. Liu Chen. But despite his past as a Communist champion who went toe-to-toe with Thor, he took a turn to the good side in recent years and, like his teammate Songbird, actually does the 'reformed villain fighting the good fight' routine admirably and honestly. That's what helps make his role on the team so cool. Working with a troupe of outright psychos and killers, you get the feeling Radioactive Man could get stabbed in the back at any moment, but would still kick some ass and do the heroic thing. That's the kinda Thunderbolt I can get behind." –Secret Cabal member Agent_M Spotlight Comic: NEW THUNDERBOLTS #9—On a rescue mission to Atlantis, Radioactive Man faces a difficult decision and an angry Namor!

8. ATLAS First Appearance: AVENGERS v1 #21 (1965) T-Bolts Tenure: THUNDERBOLTS #1 (1997)-THUNDERBOLTS #109 (2007) Learn More About Him…here Why He Makes the List: "Career criminal and consistent underachiever Erik Josten seemed like the Thunderbolt least likely among the original team to put on a white hat and fight for justice, but the former Goliath proved to have the heart of a hero beneath his massive frame. Few T-Bolts have sacrificed more for the team over the years, as Atlas has risked his life, ruined his love life, and over-exerted himself to the point of becoming comatose in the name of the group's mission of redemption, but his good deeds have no gone unnoticed or unrecognized." –Secret Cabal member Annihilator882 Spotlight Comic: NEW THUNDERBOLTS #3—While the Thunderbolts try to save the United Nations, Atlas clashes with Captain Marvel!

7. MACH-IV First Appearance: STRANGE TALES #123 (1964) T-Bolts Tenure: THUNDERBOLTS #1 (1997)-THUNDERBOLTS #23 (1999) Learn More About Him…here Why He Makes the List: "Abe Jenkins, the Thunderbolts' resident tortured soul, believed in the team and what it stood for so much that he turned himself in for killing a man, just to prove the former villains were serious about going legit. The former Beetle is one of the team's great success stories, even if he has had a few bumps along the road. Then when he took over the Thunderbolts himself, he even opened the group up to any baddies looking to reform and move on over to the right side of the law. If there's any dude on this list who best embodies the team's spirit, it's Mach-IV." –Secret Cabal member SparkleMotion515 Spotlight Comic: NEW THUNDERBOLTS #1—From the ashes of the old team, Mach-IV resurrects the Thunderbolts!

6. BULLSEYE First Appearance: DAREDEVIL #131 (1976) T-Bolts Tenure: THUNDERBOLTS #110 (2007)-present Learn More About Him…here Why He Makes the List: "You'd think Norman Osborn would be the most vile member of any team he's on, but he's one-upped by fellow Thunderbolt Bullseye. Fortunately, it's Bullseye's insane, sadistic malevolence that makes him such a kickass addition to the T-Bolts. His first inclination is to kill everyone immediately, but he can't because of safety protocols. And, oh yes, he's gone off the reservation a few times, but the tension of his continued existence on the team, and possible massacre of everyone including Osborn, makes for some spectacular comics." –Agent_M Spotlight Comic: THUNDERBOLTS #111—When the rest of the Thunderbolts go down, it's time to call in their secret weapon: Bullseye!

5. NORMAN OSBORN First Appearance: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN v1 #14 (1964) T-Bolts Tenure: THUNDERBOLTS #110 (2007)-present Learn More About Him…here Why He Makes the List: "What an evil, evil man…and how could you not root for him? Taking over the Thunderbolts makes perfect sense for Norman, as his entire life has been one of dual identities and deceit, something inherent in the T-Bolts since the beginning. From how he played his teammates like puppets, to his later actions during Secret Invasion with Captain Marvel, there's no doubt that Norman is a master manipulator. And for someone tasked with stopping some huge domestic threats, the scariest thought of all is that he just may be the kind of man we need to keep us safe. Is he insane? Yes. Is he evil? Yes. But is he doing a lot of good while leading the Thunderbolts? Yes. We'll just have to see if the ends justify his means." –Secret Cabal member OneManDynasty Spotlight Comic: THUNDERBOLTS #110—Norman Osborn ushers in a new era for the Thunderbolts!

4. MOONSTONE First Appearance: CAPTAIN AMERICA #192 (1975) T-Bolts Tenure: THUNDERBOLTS #1 (1997)-AVENGERS/THUNDERBOLTS #6 (2004); THUNDERBOLTS #110 (2007)-present Learn More About Her…here Why She Makes the List: "Forget Zemo, Hawkeye and Osborn—Moonstone is the real brains behind the T-Bolts. She's managed to get inside the heads of every leader the team's had, manipulating them to her own ends and effectively making herself the true driving force behind the group in all its incarnations. The concept behind Moonstone is just brilliant—a hyper-intelligent psychiatrist turned super villain with the ability to incinerate you with her pinky? If this woman could ever get her act together for a long enough time, she could easily take over the entire Marvel Universe." –SparkleMotion515 Spotlight Comic: NEW THUNDERBOLTS #18—In the Thunderbolts' darkest hour, Moonstone returns!

3. HAWKEYE First Appearance: TALES OF SUSPENSE #57 (1964) T-Bolts Tenure: THUNDERBOLTS #21 (1998)-THUNDERBOLTS #75 (2003) Learn More About Him…here Why He Makes the List: "In many ways, Hawkeye was the original Thunderbolt—before bad guys getting reformed became the 'in thing,' Clint Barton took a chance and blazed the trail, turning over a new leaf and abandoning his war against Iron Man to become a force for good as one of the Avengers. When Hawkeye became the new leader of the Thunderbolts after their emancipation from Baron Zemo, it seemed like a match made in heaven for a bunch who seemed more likely bound for hell. During his tenure running the T-Bolts, Hawkeye showed he still had plenty of dirty tricks up his quiver, but he also taught his teammates a lot of lessons about being a hero." –Annihilator882 Spotlight Comic: AVENGERS/THUNDERBOLTS #1—Hawkeye's loyalties are tested when the Avengers and Thunderbolts collide!

2. SONGBIRD First Appearance: MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #54 (1979) T-Bolts Tenure: THUNDERBOLTS #1 (1997)-present Learn More About Her…here Why She Makes the List: "She's been fascinating as a member of the Thunderbolts for the past 11 years, becoming one of the most compelling female leads at Marvel, but it wasn't until Norman Osborn came onboard that we saw just how awesome Songbird could be in the face of true evil. While others might have backed down from Norman, Songbird took it to the man, engaging in combat and negotiating a deal to use the T-Bolts for some measure of good. Songbird's journey to true hero and her complicated relationships with her teammates over the years have been highlights, but once Norman Osborn arrived, she became just plain awesome." –OneManDynasty Spotlight Comic: THUNDERBOLTS: BREAKING POINT #1—Songbird faces Moonstone's machinations and the return of an important figure from her past!

1. BARON HELMUT ZEMO First Appearance: CAPTAIN AMERICA #168 (1973) T-Bolts Tenure: THUNDERBOLTS #1 (1997)-THUNDERBOLTS #12 (1998); THUNDERBOLTS #75 (2003)-AVENGERS/THUNDERBOLTS #6 (2004); THUNDERBOLTS #100 (2006)-THUNDERBOLTS #109 (2007) Learn More About Him…here Why He Makes the List: "The Thunderbolts became as Baron Helmut Zemo's story, and though both he and the team have taken turns every which way over the years, all things T-Bolts always seem to eventually come back around to Zemo. The not-so-good Baron founded the Thunderbolts as just another scheme to rule the world, but his creation quickly took on a life of his own as his supposed 'Masters of Evil' proved to be anything but, turning on him and becoming true heroes. But something funny happened along the way of Zemo's road to revenge: he started to become something of a hero himself. There is no way to paint a character as complex as Zemo with the simple strokes of good and evil; his arrogance and pettiness is forever at war with his nobility and deep-seeded hopes for something better creating a stark shade of grey—and in the end, isn't that what the Thunderbolts are all about?" –Annihilator882 Spotlight Comic: THUNDERBOLTS PRESENTS: ZEMO – BORN BETTER #1—Zemo finds himself hurtling through the past and hopes to find answers about his true destiny! Check out the official Marvel Shop for your favorite Marvel Heroes!

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