Thunderbolts - issue 008.
Written by Daniel Way.
Art by Phil Noto.
Colours by Guru FX.
Published by Marvel Comics.
This issue starts with the Red Hulk confronting a terrorist called Mullah Assad. It turns out that Assad is an undercover American operative who has gone rogue. (On page one - whether on purpose or not - he looks like Tony Blair with a beard!) Red Hulk gets some information from him before he reveals Deadpool, Punisher and Elektra who shoot him and his men. It occurs to me at this exact moment that this book should just take the plunge and be called 'Secret Avengers'. It's written like a cross between 'Queen and Country' and the main 'Avengers' books. Get rid off all that Hawkeye mind wipe crap and just put Red Hulk in charge of a covert Avengers team. That would make for a great book.
Not that this isn't very enjoyable. Way and Noto have transitioned smoothly from Way and Dillon with barely a pause. Noto is a real talent in the sequentials and everything flows from panel to panel. His take on the Red Hulk looks great and the later Venom reveal was a superb shock moment for him.
Back to the story. we get a short two page interlude where a later revealed player is speaking at Cambridge university and then signing a book from a fan. My only tiny gripe with this book is the colouring in this sequence. The student is dressed all in green. She looks like a bronze age Marvel girl without the mask.
We then get the team on the aforementioned 'Recon' and we get a great little back and forth between the group. I am not sure about this Punisher/Elektra/Deadpool love triangle and can only think that there will be more to it at some future point. (Maybe a riff on the Cyclops/Jean/Wolverine triangle?) They are covering a meeting between some Islamic terrorists and a Russian? It all kicks off and Venom reveals himself (he was dressed as a lady!)
We get a really dramatic Noto double page spread with Punisher in the foreground. (Remind me to get a commission off this guy soon.) Then we get an explosion that leads into next month's exciting installment.
I have read this book in all it's incarnations and especially over the last three or four years it has been a little bit of a hidden pleasure. It has featured quite a few times in the 'Panel of the day' section I post on this blog. This incarnation of the group was a combination that I have to admit to being a little sceptical of but I have to admit to enjoying greatly all the twists and turns so far.
Buy it. Before it goes or they fuck around with it again.
This comic was supplied (like the good dealers they are) by Derek and Luke of Chaos City Comics, St Albans, Herts, UK.