Thunderbolts: Same Old Song

Writer Andy Diggle talks about the return of Songbird and the other shakeups that keep upping the paranoia level in the pages of THUNDERBOLTS!

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THUNDERBOLTS #135 pencil art by Miguel Sepulveda
By Tim Stevens

Revisiting one's past can be a delicate matter. Often seeing someone you once knew can leave you heartbroken.

Or, for Songbird, who has recently returned to the pages of THUNDERBOLTS, it may just get her killed.

For writer Andy Diggle, Songbird never strayed far from his thoughts. He simply had to wait for the right story beat to occur before bringing her back.

"I've never been a great believer in just hitting the reset button on a long-running series and throwing away everything that's gone before," he explains. "Songbird has been the soul of the Thunderbolts since the first issue, and I want to keep her in the book-even if that means she's become the Thunderbolts' new target."

Of course, Songbird has proven resourceful enough in the past that she might just bring the Thunderbolts to their knees. If it goes that way, Norman Osborn and the T-Bolts may have no one but themselves to blame.

"She's been biding her time, figuring out what her next move should be but the HAMMER attack on the homeless shelter where she'd been hiding out was the last straw for her," Diggle points out. "Like the saying goes,

THUNDERBOLTS #135 pencil art by Miguel Sepulveda
all it takes for evil to prevail is for a few good men-and women!-to do nothing. It made her realize she's been doing nothing for too long. Now it's time to act."

Even if Songbird doesn't bring the whole operation down around the Thunderbolts' ears, they still might not be long for this world. Cracks have begun to rapidly appear in the team's unity.

First, the members have been displaying escalating signs of paranoia towards Osborn and each other. Ant-Man became a poster boy for this phenomenon in #133 when he opened up to teammate Paladin about his concern for his life, shedding his typical horned-up joker persona.

"He's still the same self-serving, lecherous little sleazebag he's always been," Diggle reassures fans of Eric O'Grady. "It's not a question of changing his personality; it's more about the mood he happens to be in at the time. In that scene we caught him at a very low ebb. He's found himself in a situation where his usual wise-cracking doesn't help him, and he's starting to genuinely fear for his life."

Second, unbeknownst to most, except the Ghost, Black Widow has gone double agent, informing Nick Fury about the T-Bolts' activities in a relationship with layers yet to be fully revealed.

THUNDERBOLTS #135 pencil art by Miguel Sepulveda
"I think it's safe to say that Nick Fury doesn't trust anyone these days," the writer points out. "But as we've seen in SECRET WARRIORS, that doesn't mean he's given up [on bringing down Norman Osborn]. Quite the opposite. So he's recruiting whoever he thinks he can use to fight his own guerrilla war against the Dark Reign, even if it's a rogue Russian agent like Yelena Belova. But what's her angle, you ask? You'll find out in THUNDERBOLTS 135 [on sale August 26]!"

Finally, the matter of the team's two newest recruit seems to indicate a severe turn in the general perspective of the Thunderbolts.

"This is a hit-squad and these new guys are stone-cold killers, pure and simple," Diggle says. "Mr. X is the replacement for Bullseye, and is probably the superior fighter. He also has a psychic precognitive ability which makes him a useful guy to have on your side. And Scourge is-well, you'll just have to wait and see. You've seen him before, with a different name. Just not necessarily in this book."

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      Comments

      8 comments
      BlackSamurai
      BlackSamurai

      That is a pretty good fit... but him answering to Osbourne and toting giant guns doesn't really seem him... unless I'm misremembering his former portrayals. Oh well.

      BlackSamurai
      BlackSamurai

      ...and was confirmed about Black Widow when it began to look like she was double dealing. And I found that to be genius; the reveal, that is, and they have baited the mystery again by making Scourge a secret too. Seems that the new trend is to have a secret ID from readers somewhere and without Ronin (Clint or Maya) or Mutant Zero (Bloody Mary), I guess they had to sneak in a new one.I will honestly say the roster and missions were boring me a bit right up 'til last issue flipped it on us, and I agree that Black Widow's amped this up just as much as the clash with Songbird is. Now is left to see who on the team is Osbourne's insider and who will be Nick/Widow's convert, but I'm concerned this team's gonna be testosterone overloaded after this arc if some more recruiting doesn't go down. Joystick anyone?For sure Black Widow knows she has to get out of the range of Mister X's power or she's toast though. Let's see how she'll do that one... and no cheap she-fought-without-even-knowing-herself-what-how-she-would-strike folly please... I like my fiction/fantasy plausible, OK?

      AHBARNUM
      AHBARNUM

      [quote@theshock621 [quote@AHBARNUM This looks really good, haven't really been watching Thunderbolts definitely want to now. The cover and art looks amazing too.[/quote] NOW is a great time to get in on it! After last issue and the revelation at the end, I'm amped about what is going to happen. Yeah, the covers have been outstanding too.[/quote] I really think I will, I'm gonna look for some TPB's to read also. Do you have any recommendations for books to get?

      theshock621
      theshock621

      [quote@AHBARNUM This looks really good, haven't really been watching Thunderbolts definitely want to now. The cover and art looks amazing too.[/quote] NOW is a great time to get in on it! After last issue and the revelation at the end, I'm amped about what is going to happen. Yeah, the covers have been outstanding too.

      AHBARNUM
      AHBARNUM

      This looks really good, haven't really been watching Thunderbolts definitely want to now. The cover and art looks amazing too.

      theshock621
      theshock621

      I didn't think Thunderbolts could get any better after Osborn's squad graduated and became "Avengers"...but this book keeps getting better and better! I am itching to find out who Scourge really is too.....I have a feeling that its **** ****!