THUNDER Agents #1 Review

THUNDER Agents #1 Review The perfect jumping on point, if you like slamming your head against the wall.

What They Say:
One of the most critically acclaimed series of the past year returns with a new #1 issue that serves as a great jumping-on point for new readers!
What kind of people willingly become Super Heroes, knowing that their powers will eventually kill them? That’s the question this new 6-part miniseries will explore as the team must face off against the Warlord and his Subterraneans! Nick Spencer (Morning Glories, Ultimate X-Men) teams with rising star Wes Craig for a twisted= tale of super heroics, espionage, and action!

The Review:
While I can’t remember the specifics anymore, I had in my possession during the 80′s a smattering of THUNDER Agents books. The details are beyond hazy, but the memory of distinctive covers and colors remain, so I was definitely curious when DC Comics decided to bring the book back as a six issue miniseries after running for almost a year prior to the relaunch. When you highlight a book as a perfect jumping on point, it’s definitely something to get excited about for a title that definitely has a lot of history in order to figure out where things stand in the here and now. Unfortunately, in reading this opening issue, I haven’t a bloody clue about what’s going on, who anyone is and what their connections to each other is. There are books that tease out things in an opening issue and leave mysteries, but there are also those that just drop you in the middle of things in a first issue and hopes that you’ll catch up. It reminded me heavily of the relaunch issue of the Legion of Super-Heroes.

While DC Comics has been incorporating various lines into their mainstream universe with Milestone and Wildstorm, this one seems to be kept separate since it’s a leased property, or at least that’s the view that I get as there is some conflicting information out there. The team is part of the United Nations as a program that creates heroes to deal with threats that the big name heroes of the world never hear about. I think we have a few teams like that now at different governmental levels, which is getting frustrating. The difference with these agents though is that the powers that they’re given are the types that will eventually kill them. They do have a new member that just joined who is using metallic wings in order to fly and what she does keeps her from being part of the dying brigade. She has some baggage though in that she’s come from China and they definitely didn’t want to give up an ace pilot to this program.

Woven throughout the book in small amounts is an action segment to the story that involves several of the agents observing events in Subterranea where a couple of sides of the creatures that live down under there are puffing their chests and going through rituals that looks like it’ll lead to war but actually won’t. It does go big as it progresses, but with no context, it doesn’t exactly captivate. Where the book tries to fill in some of the blanks is when it deals with Toby, aka Menthor, and a powerless agent/handler named Colleen. The two have some longstanding issues between each other that are kind of played off jokingly but cut deep. For Toby, he’s also trying to figure out what the truth is of the helmet that he wears and its origins, as it seemingly changes what he does for the greater good. It’s an interesting exchange and one that adds a little back story to events but not enough context to really allow it to make any sense.

Release Notes:
This comiXology edition of THUNDER Agents comes with the main cover as released with the print edition and no other extras.

In Summary:
I went into this book expecting a jumping on point as it was billed as such, but the series feels like it has the weight of many years behind it. There is an appeal to that since it means there’s a lot of material to work with for storylines, but it’s a very inaccessible book in a big way, unlike most others that I’ve read that try to go this route since it’s not as firmly entrenched in the familiar. I liken it to how I felt about the Legion book upon the relaunch as it was in a similar situation, running for several issues prior to the relaunch which just carried on as normal with a quick nod towards the bigger picture. What I came away with here is that if you weren’t reading the book that ran through August before the relaunch, not much here is going to make sense. It has a certain potential with it as I liked the Suberranea area and some of what we get between Toby and Colleen, but the majority of it just felt like a jumbled and inaccessible mess.

Grade: D

Readers Rating: [ratings]

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THUNDER Agents #1 Review