Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Mike Deodato Jr
Warren Ellis has recovered the Midas touch.
Anything he touches these days, turns to gold. Thunderbolts being the prime example of a continuity-boggled, why-is-it-still-here titl, where Ellis came in, stripped it away to the bare bones and built around it a hard-edged psychological thriller about a team of killers on a leash, locked away in a dank prison headquarters and sent out by a certified loon to kill and maim for an adoring public. Publicity spins, neuroses and psychoses, and of course cannibalism. LOVE!
Deodato is at last in his element, on a book where he can shine and stretch his talent above and beyond the sterile cramped style he first became famous for.
Interesting note, how current continuity is suddenly creeping in the book with this issue. First the Order makes the Breaking News during the news feed opening scene/recap, and then the dangling Captain Marvel thread from Civil War is quietly put to rest. Now this could have easily been the editor telling Ellis to put in a small mention that Captain Marvel is no longer the warden of the Negative Zone. Ellis of course picks up that bit of info and instead of info-dumping it in a random caption, he weaves it into the conversation between Norman and Moonstone, and even manages to utilize it to squeeze in a sick joke and further shade Osborn's demented persona.
Plot spoilers/teasers: This issue starts the new 'Caged Angels' storyline dealing with the reaction of the criminal community to the Thunderbolts new cushy position. Why should only this handful of murderous savages benefit from Stark's new project? Why can't all the other killers get arrested and get set up with nice digs, a license to kill and their personal multiple-articulation action figure? Norman and Moonstone make plans, Leonard Sampson lurks behind the scenes, poor Penance gets emo-er by the panel, Songbird finally takes charge showing actual promise as a leader, while Venom has... a character moment?