By Tim Stevens
This August, Marvel’s most dangerous and dysfunctional team returns to U.S. soil with a new commanding officer.
Beginning in THUNDERBOLTS #14, the T-Bolts take Manhattan with an eye towards bringing an end to organized crime in the five boroughs. Heading their initiative will be new writer Charles Soule.
Straight out of the gate, Soule arrives with strong endorsements, that of editor Jordan D. White.
“I’ve been a fan of Charles’ work for some time now and have been hoping to find a project we’d be able to work on together,” he asserts. “As such, when I knew that [writer Daniel Way] was leaving [the book], Charles was one of the first people who came to mind. That interest alone was enough to get me to sign him on for the two ‘fill-in’ issues after Dan bowed out. After that, a combination of those scripts being terrific and a great pitch for where he would take the series were he at the helm locked him in as the man for the job.”
For Soule, the characters represented a tremendous draw to taking on the book.
“The lineup at the moment is fantastic,” the writer enthuses. “Punisher and Elektra are two of my favorite characters of all time, with Deadpool right behind them. The rest of the team is pretty great as well; Red Hulk, Venom, Mercy and Red Leader all have great backstories that can generate all the right kind of sparks.”
He stresses, though, that his interest in THUNDERBOLTS stretches back through the team’s history, not just beginning and ending with the current members.
|Thunderbolts #14 cover by Julian Totino Tedesco|
“I've always liked the T-Bolts, in their many incarnations, because they aren't your straight up the middle heroes,” Soule continues. “They'll do the right thing, but they might do the right thing in ways that are just a bit wrong. I think those grey areas are where great stories can be found, and THUNDERBOLTS gives me a chance to tell as many stories like that as I can think up.”
The foremost of these stories sees the Thunderbolts working on American soul for the first time since the Red Hulk organized his squad of mercenaries. Soule warns fans though that no one should interpret this as a bold new direction that will take the book away from its black-op roots.
“Let me say that while they are going to take action against some NYC-based criminal enterprises in the next arc, there's a good reason for it, that's not all that's going on, and THUNDERBOLTS isn't going to become a book about the team attacking various gangland enterprises,” he promises.
“The main thrust of what the team is about is not going to change; it’s still these five incredibly bad-ass and driven characters coming together to accomplish through their cooperation the kinds of things they could not on their own,” White further reassures. “But every writer is different and has a different voice. Charles has a slightly different slant on the whys and wherefores of the team cooperating, which I think will become clear pretty immediately in his first arc.”
Tension and versatility stand primary as the whys and wherefores of what drives both the team and the book.
“Part of the underlying fun of the book is seeing how—and why—these damaged people are going to try to work together,” Soule explains. “We know it's not going to work forever, and something's going to set one or more of these folks off. It's a bit like watching an auto race for the car crashes.”
A big boon to the title’s flexibility comes from that unpredictable nature of the team and its members.
“THUNDERBOLTS is a title and a team that can be put in almost any situation,” Soule says. “This next arc has some elements of classic crime-war stories, but the arc after that will be totally different, as will the arc after that. The one constant will be that our little team of screwed up bad asses will be right at the center of it all.
“Basically, this isn't a group you'd expect sit around the campfire and sing Kumbaya. On the other hand, the T-Bolts aren't here to sing. They're here to make things go boom, and that they can handle. And how.”
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