Thunderbolts #169
Thunderbolts #169
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Jeff Parker
Penciler: Kev Walker

The Thunderbolts journey to Medieval times! Not the campy theme restaurant, actual medieval times. In a ploy to escape from their captives the team utilized Science and Magic to teleport their HQ. But because nothing ever goes right when magic is involved their Headquarters travels further back in time with every teleport. And despite having two super scientists and the actual daughter of Satan on the team, they can't figure out how to fix it. Their latest stop takes them to Britain, 537 A.D., where a skirmish between team member Boomerang, and the Ancestor of an established Marvel hero brings the team into direct conflict with King Arthur and his knights.

Parker is writing a book that is pure, unadulterated fun. Having this group of villains face off against some of the most old school super heroes around is pure fan service that speaks to that inner child in each of us whose outlandish imaginations dared to ask who would win in fights of robots vs. dinosaurs, logic be damned.

And aside from the "seriously I mean it, anything can happen next" factor he brings to this book, my favorite contribution of Parker's is the care and respect he treats his cast of mostly C-List villains. While most groups of villains in a similar situation would have devolved into bickering, double crossing, and secret allegiances, the Thunderbolts stick together. While individual team members make mistakes, and they take verbal shots at each other often, they maintain team cohesion and even support each other.

I've said it numerous, numerous times. Kev Walker deserves his pick of whatever Avengers or X-Men book he wants once his and Parker's run on Thunderbolts ends (which I hope is still years away). This book is an artist's wet dream for all the opportunities it affords to draw such a wide and diverse array of subjects. His figure work is cartoonish but dark and distinct in a way that makes each page a delight to behold. In addition to the Knights and mythical creatures he fills the pages with, he also is afforded the opportunity to create medieval redesigns of the Tbolts' costumes yielding some really interesting and funny ensembles.

The issue ends on a rather dark cliffhanger both in terms of our "heroes" predicament and what is revealed about the apparent heroes of the age. And while the team has been reluctant to interfere in the timeline previously, even ensuring that the Jack the Ripper murders occurs, it's hard to imagine they might not sympathize with the plight of the characters they meet at issues end, seeing in them a reflection of themselves.

Grade: A-

-"Nyah! Unfight!"

-"I thought you said you and Gunna didn't run into any locals last night on the hunt!" "Well, I was too tired to tell you the truth"¦"

-"You are powerful beyond any I have met"¦but all fall to Excalibur!"

-"If I could still phase through things like Ghost, no problem. But Fixer took that power away from me when he was pretending not to be a criminal." "Karla, this is not the time and place."
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