I’ve been a bit quiet on Dark Reign recently. To be honest, I’ve been thinning out my pull list (budgetary reasons), and while I’ve enjoyed some of the minis, I’ve had to make harsh choices and drop them. Also with the recent “The List” mini-event, I’ve started to feel Dark Reign’s starting to just become a bit too big, and I was put off by the idea of having to pick up a bunch of issues that largely are about teams or characters I’m not fussed about/can’t afford to pick up their monthly. So I’ve been getting a slight case of Dark Reign burnout.
However, with a train failure yesterday leaving me stuck in town for a while, I ended up picking up the last few issues of the Thunderbolts series to read while I waited for the trains to get sorted. I hadn’t been too bothered about the lineup when the series had been announced (aside from Ant Man, I character I do enjoy), but I’d been hearing good things, and I like the writer Andy Diggle (absolutely love Adam Strange: Planet Heist).
Wow, was I impressed. The cast of characters I wasn’t fussed about were actually a very interesting group. The Thunderbolts have been setup as Norman Osborn’s own private Black Ops squad, so consists of a lot of Marvel’s Z-list psychos. However Diggle also balanced them out with the Black Widow II being put in charge of trying to keep the psychos inline, The Ghost who’s there under his own agenda and Ant Man, a character that can easily be described as a self-serving sod, but not someone who’s actually evil, so finds himself very out of depth surrounded by some fairly twisted characters.
Andy Diggle gets a lot out of this cast, playing them off each other well, but also throwing in a good few twists as things go on. There’s several members of the team like Ghost who’re there with their own agendas, and added into the mix is Songbird, longtime Thunderbolt including part of the previous team that Osborn was in. When he moved to take over, one of Osborn’s first orders of business was to try and kill Songbird as she was quite aware of how unstable he is. However he didn’t quite manage, and so she’s out there waiting to move against him.
The four issues I’ve got reflect the end of Andy Diggle’s run, so a lot of these plot developments play out in them, however I think I’ll definitely be going back and buying the trades and reading his run from the beginning. Given my Dark Reign pull list currently only consists of Iron Man (still a cracking book) and War Machine, this was a really nice read and a change from all the Blackest Night stuff I’ve been reading lately.