Friday, February 11, 2011

Comic Book Review: T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #4

Written By: Nick Spencer
Penciller: Cafu
Inker: Bit
Colorist: Santiago Arcas
Cover Artist: Ethan Van Sciver, Scott Hanna, & Hi-Fi
Letterer: Swands
Editor: Wil Moss

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents is only four issues into its run and already it’s blowing me away.  There’s a certain amount of that silver age mentality that flushes though this series which is probably why I like it so much, but there’s more to it than just that.  The mystery around Spider and why these missions are important has plagued my brain ever since T.H.U.N.D.E.R. began.  Each issue has focused on the individual members of the team and their story but nothing new has been revealed to help explain why.  This, I’m sure, frustrates many readers nation-wide, but not me.  I’ve been completely engrossed with this run’s premise and the uncertainty of everything it’s brought to the table…and #4 keeps the mystery pumping with even bigger and broader questions with no answer in sight.  Hence the life of Sociologists.

Driven by the events of the past, Spider has attempted alterations in their designs and programing to help keep their prospect agents alive for as long as possible.  I think this throws out the whole “dead in twelve months” concept allowing Spencer a lot more time to get this series on its feet and find new ways of keeping these characters around for a while.  (You know it’s going to happen.) A “rough n’ tough” blondy by the name of Eric is approached by Toby and Coleen about becoming the new Dynamo, which follows a series of flashbacks and character development scenes to help establish what kind of person Eric is and how he might be used in the series.  More or less, this is what #4 is about. Sound boring you say?  Well, methinks you jumpeth the guneth.

Nick Spencer doesn’t provide a lot of new material in this issue.  In fact, I would say there’s a lot of recapping going on about what these powers do to the agents over a period of time.  Spencer goes into a little more detail about the advancements made in their technology and whatnot, but it’s nothing we haven’t already figured out.  The quality of this issue, however, doesn’t lie with the already established plot, but rather the dialog that happens between characters.

I think it’s clear that Toby has been a mystery for most readers.  What’s his purpose besides being a pansy little salesman? I’ve wondered this since issue #1, and now finally something is revealed that makes me wonder what the future holds for T.H.U.N.D.E.R. in the 21st century. The interaction he has with Eric and Coleen spit out some much needed clues about his intentions and what he can provide in the story.  The ending took me by complete surprise, which makes me wonder if Toby is a bad guy or a good guy and if these missions have been true, life threatening missions, or mere training exercises to prepare them for the real thing.  Either way, Toby has definitely been put into a much bigger spotlight within the series which could prove interesting.

As most of you know, artist toggling is not a favorable aspect for me when it comes to comics.  However, the way it was handled here I can accept…even if I don’t really like it.  To help establish a trip down memory lane, different artists were called upon to recreate the world of comics from when I was still a baby.  George Perez does a fantastic job with presenting the older style (of which he is quite familiar with) and brings it into this issue successfully.  The transition into the more modern artistic realm of #4, executed quit well by Cafu (the artists formerly known as who?) and presents a great display of visuals as can be expected.

My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
I actually don’t know what the general consensus is among fellow bloggers and readers about this series thus far.  I do know that I am a HUGE fan and recommend this run to everyone.  We’re only four issues in so it’s not too late to start from #1 and work your way up to now.  If you aren’t a huge fan of dialog heavy comics, you might have trouble muscling it down, but I would recommend giving it a chance.

9 out of 10 Stars

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