Thunderbolts NOW!: Explosive

Thunderbolts NOW!: Explosive

Thunderbolts #7 cover by Julian Totino Tedesco

By Tim Stevens

Sometimes disparate groups of people can come together and surprise you with their camaraderie and teamwork as they overcome the odds and seize the day.

Other times you end up like the cast of THUNDERBOLTS, who find themselves under siege from outside forces and dissension in the ranks starting with issue #7 out in March thanks to the creative team of writer Daniel Way and artist Phil Noto.

“Going into the second arc, the Thunderbolts are on the brink of self-annihilation, a development that would make a large percentage of the Marvel Universe very, very happy,” Way reveals. “You saw the cover for #7, right? That’s about the only working relationship within the team going into the second arc, and even that one isn’t free of mortal danger.”

However, just because the team does not work well together does not mean they do not “work” well with their writer, who has been pleasantly startled at how quickly the characters have felt comfortable to him.

“Once you start writing these characters, they just…materialize, fully formed,” he enthuses. “That’s amazing, and it’s a credit to their various creators. I’m a bit surprised at how, by their very design, these characters still retain their ‘lone wolf’ personas, even while operating as part of a group.

“And one other thing: I never would’ve guessed that Deadpool would become the ‘heart’ of the group.”

For Noto, the team has been a delight to draw although perhaps more of a challenge to fully realize.

“I've drawn Deadpool quite a bit, but I've always been a big fan of the Punisher and Venom, so that's a thrill,” he shares. “Red Hulk is great because of his size and contrast to the other characters. And I've always dreamed of drawing Elektra in a real comic book so I'm in heaven!

The Punisher

“Frank Castle's been the trickiest for me to draw. I don't want to just ape another artist's Punisher, so I've tried to create my original version of him. Usually a specific actor will come to mind and that gives me a good foundation but I couldn't cast Frank in my head. I ended up with some original head sketches though that are working well.”

While Noto managed to find an approach to Frank that works, the Thunderbolts will struggle in the book’s second arc. Vulnerable from their internal squabbling, they quickly find themselves beset by an enemy who represents a particularly painful threat to at least one member of the team.

“It’s an established character, though one that hasn’t been seen in a few years,” Way teases. “As far as how this character is related to the Thunderbolts? To one of them, the answer is: ‘by blood.’”

Unfortunately, the external threats to the squad do not stop there.

“The level of blowback leveled at the Thunderbolts will soon match the level of blowback occurring within the Thunderbolts,” Way divulges. “After the events of issue #7 the CIA, in particular, will be more than concerned with their actions.

“Oh, and the Avengers.”

Thunderbolts #4 cover by Julian Totino Tedesco

Way and Noto promise fans the book will ratchet up the intensity to be more than equal to the strife the team now must face.

“I'm trying to add a bit more realism to this book in terms of the ‘world’ they inhabit,” Noto explains. “I feel the tone of the story is a cool action/military adventure that just happens to have some super hero characters in it. There's definitely a globe-hopping Indiana Jones/ Bond vibe to the variety of the locations.”

“Physically [this storyline takes the team] from one end of the Asian continent to the other as well as a few quick jaunts into Eastern Europe and North Africa,” Way notes.

“Emotionally, [they go] to the bleeding edge.”

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