Dark Avengers: Last Strike

Jeff Parker brings the journey of the time-lost Thunderbolts to an end!

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Dark Avengers #181 preview art by Neil Edwards

By Tim Stevens

One can only run so long and so far until they must face down their fates.

For Thunderbolts members Centurius, Moonstone, Boomerang, Troll, Man-Thing, Mister Hyde, and Ghost, November 21 marks the conclusion of their run, as in DARK AVENGERS #183, Jeff Parker marks the end of an era for the team of cons turned government operatives turned unwilling time travelers.

“I'll certainly miss Hyde and Satana, and Man-Thing,” the writer confesses. “Troll took a while to develop and get to the point I wanted, so that's another tough loss. The surprising ones were Boomer and Centurius, I didn't expect them to be as much fun to write as they are.”

Nonetheless, Parker knows the time has come for this bold ending.

“It bookends the coming together at the beginning of the ‘Cage’ arc perfectly,” he asserts. “You can argue how much progress each character made—Man-Thing made quite a lot—but they've all been impacted by their time in the Thunderbolts. It clearly means something for each of them.”

Before the team can take a curtain call, however, they do have one last hanging thread to confront: ex-teammate Cain Marko, the formerly unstoppable Juggernaut. Despite the pall the events of Fear Itself cast over his relationship to the Thunderbolts, Marko does find support in his time of need.

Dark Avengers #181 preview art by Neil Edwards

“Cain Marko's biggest goal is always to be free,” explains Parker. “That's what John Walker offers him temporarily, if he'll help. And Walker isn't even sure why. He's going on the word of Ghost, of all people, but he's come to have a strange respect for Ghost.”

Even as the Thunderbolts depart, DARK AVENGERS continues forward with the aura of Ghost and the rest still being felt.

“This is where [the Dark Avengers] truly take form, and grow naturally out of the book that came before,” Parker contends. “Just when it looks like they've hit the end of the road, they really begin in earnest. They were initially brought together by Osborn, but they've been put on their path by the Thunderbolts. It's the legacy of that team.”

It cannot be surprising then that the final actions of the Thunderbolts alters the path of the Dark Avengers and sets the book up for its future.

“As you'll see, what happens right at the end [of #183] kicks it all off,” teases Parker. “It grows organically right out of the story thanks to one of those Thunderbolts I mentioned missing!”

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