ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘King in Black: Thunderbolts,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

King in Black: Thunderbolts #1 is written by Matthew Rosenberg, illustrated and colored by Juan Ferreya, and lettered by VC’s Joe Sabino. It is published by Marvel Comics. After the events of King in Black #2, Mayor Wilson Fisk-aka the Kingpin-gathers together a new team of Thunderbolts and gives them a mission to find the one person who can halt Knull’s rampage. If they succeed-or more importantly, survive-fame and fortune will be theirs.

The Thunderbolts are a team I’ve been a fan of since their inception; the idea of villains pretending to be heroes was a great hook for the original series and has permeated the various incarnations of the team ever since. Rosenberg and Ferreya continue this trend, with Fisk coercing the new Thunderbolts into serving him with the promise of wealth-and the threat of execution, as one unfortunate recruit learns. Even though he’s the mayor of New York, Fisk hasn’t lost his ruthless edge.

Rosenberg’s script shines when it comes to character dynamics and interplay, and he picked a rather unorthodox yet intriguing team of Thunderbolts. Captain Marvel’s newest villain Star is the only heavy hitter of the group, and serves as an immense contrast to low-level villains like Batroc the Leaper and Mr. Fear. Rounding out the team are Rhino and the Taskmaster, with the latter butting heads with Mister Fear over everything from costume choices to lifting jewelry from an abandoned store. Perhaps the standout is Batroc, who has a laissez faire attitude even in the face of the oncoming apocalypse.

Bringing the script to life is Ferreya with art and colors. Ferreya’s characters are extremely expressive, with Mr. Fear always sprouting a creepy grin and Fisk’s face etched in a permanent scowl. Ferreya also knows how to utilize scale to his advantage, especially when it comes to Fisk, Rhino and the symbiote dragons that the Thunderbolts encounter. And when the dragons show up, the horror factor gets turned up to 11. Characters are bit in half, beheaded, or “Knullified” into Lovecraftian monstrosities. Put simply-this book isn’t for the faint of heart.

What also adds to the horror element is the coloring. Ferreya sticks to the same reds and blacks that are Knull’s signature colors, painting an eerie picture of New York. Symbiotic goop covers the buildings, and the blood red skies serve as an omen of darkness. This color scheme also leads to one of the most striking images in the issue; the aforementioned beheading that Taskmaster takes part in. Taskmaster and his victims are shrouded in black, standing against the crimson sky as they battle. Flashes of white lightning pierce the page, lending an epic heft to the final image.

King in Black: Thunderbolts #1 revives one of Marvel’s classic teams to help save the world, bolstered by whip-smart banter and striking art. With the introduction of another figure from the Thunderbolts’ past, it remains to be seen if the team can turn the tide against Knull or if they’re in over their head with the hero game.

King in Black: Thunderbolts #1 is available wherever comics are sold and through Comixology using our affiliate link.

King in Black: Thunderbolts #1
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TL;DR

King in Black: Thunderbolts #1 revives one of Marvel’s classic teams to help save the world, bolstered by whip-smart banter and striking art. With the introduction of another figure from the Thunderbolts’ past, it remains to be seen if the team can turn the tide against Knull or if they’re in over their head with the hero game.