New Thunderbolts, issues 14-15.

Written by Fabian Nicieza, with art by Tom Grummett and Gary Erskine (issue 14) and, Rick Leonardi and Cam Smith (issue 15).

For me, at least, 2006 was a weird time in comics. Throughout the years, there has always been an ebb and flow in terms of my interest and investment with the funny books, and these issues were happening as I was on a peak. The Bendis era was running full steam as he had disassembled and reformed the Avengers and Civil War was looming.

Personally, my life at the time was a hot mess. Nothing was going right for me, so I guess that’s maybe one reason I was reading more superhero books. There is a comfort there for me, when I need it, going back to my childhood.

 

But the Thunderbolts are such a fringe title for me. I’ve known *about* them for ages. I know they are the old Masters of Evil team repackaged by Baron Zemo as an all-new hero team following Onslaught and the “death” of the Avengers and Fantastic Four.

 

An aside here, the Onslaught era was a time in comics where I was reading anything. It started just before Age of Apocalypse and I would stay away until Heroes Reborn brought me back in. I don’t know why it worked, but at the time I felt there was something in the return of Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld to Marvel that I couldn’t miss out on. I guess it’s because the roots they lay in my teenage love of the X-Men grew deep.

 

So yeah. Thunderbolts. They’re weird, and they were always around, but never all that important to the Marvel Universe. They were easy to skip, and when they did show up, it always was in an inoffensive, unobtrusive and fan-service-y way.

 

So these two issues ended up in a grab bag that I scored for a buck, packaged with a few other odds and ends. Of note on these 12-year-old issues is their $4.25 CAD cover price. Hatchee-matchee, eight-and-a-half bucks for these books is crazy to me, over a decade ago and today alike, and they both have eleven pages of ads in them.

Another aside. These ads are crazy. Not the fun crazy of the silver age comics ads, nor the warm nostalgia of the 80’s ads. These are loud, angry and forgettable ads. There is one for the Eye Toy: Play2. (its a camera for your PS2 that puts your image and motion into some games). Then an ad for soup (hunh?), one for Slammers Ultimate Milk. Wait, this ultimate milk thing is just about to kill me. It’s sugary dessert milk flavoured like candybars. 3 Musketeers, Milky Way… and Starburst. Chewy fruit candy milk. I never wanted to try something I know is awful so much as I want this. Do they still make this? How did this escape me in 2006? The tagline reads “A Rush of Great MILKY WAY® 3 MUSKETEERS® or STARBURST® Taste in Every Gulp of Milk” (It was written that way, with the odd capitalization and lack of punctuation, and I think that makes it more delicious sounding.)

 

So yeah, the Thunderbolts fight the Avengers and win, because of teamwork. The next issue they fight the Squadron Sinister and lose, because of a breakdown of teamwork. Grummett and Leonardi kill on the artwork. Really, these books look amazing.

 

But it doesn’t matter because I’ve learned of Slammers Ultimate Milk and can think of nothing else.

 

Scott is a writer and founder at 9to5. He’s a host on The 9to5 Entertainment System and does a lot of the graphic design around these parts.

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