X-POSITION: Phoenix, Upstarts & More Tear Up Bowers & Sims' "X-Men '92"
Congratulations on taking a break from this Black Friday (just a ploy by the distinguished competition to gather more interest in Green Friday I’m sure) to sit a spell and enjoy the musings of Yours Truly. Sure, the holiday season is officially here and there are tons of things to prepare for and ready yourself against, but don’t forget to take time for the little things. The small, quiet moments that might slip under your notice amongst the hustle and bustle of the season.
Let’s talk about Thunderstrike.
When I saw the solicit for this book all those three months ago (we were so young!), I was probably far more excited for a new Thunderstrike book than I should have been. If you are still not excited for this book, just click here and let the dulcet tones of AC/DC rock you into a mood where guys with ponytails and leather vests crack the skulls of evil with a Norse-enchanted mace.
A Thunderstrike revival is cool (even cooler with this song playing!) and fits with the great Thor blitz Marvel is rolling on to the stands in time for the movie. They’re going to want to promote the character and they are going to do so in as many markets as they can think of. One-shots, spin off titles, all ages books that are wondrous and funny and delight a lot of the online community only to be canceled in their prime, all sorts of different books to catch the eye of John and Jane Comic Reader. But Thor can only be in so many books; too many and people start to resent the character’s hype machine. Too little and Marvel’s not doing their job. Thunderstrike helps take the load of Thor’s shoulders by presenting an all ages title that hits the ’90s nostalgia button for long time fans and younger audiences with a fresh start on a newer character.
Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz are the two guys best suited to this relaunch. For one, they created the guy which is all the real credentials you need. They also support a book or a theme to the bitter end and can develop somewhat of an incredible fan following. Please see the first Spider-Girl title, the the whole MC2 universe and their relentless will to live. Thunderstrike was even in the MC2 universe and stylistically, not much has changed in art and storytelling.
A solid creative team, a history in the Marvel universe and a devoted fan following on past books. What on Earth is going to keep Thunderstrike from being canceled?
(WARNING: Thunderstrike #1 spoilers ahead so grab a copy and follow along! Keep the AC/DC pumpin’, too.)
Thunderstrike #1 came out this Wednesday and it was a quick, fun read. It doesn’t ask you to dig through back issues, or buy a bunch of tie-ins or even to have followed a previous storyline into this book. Everything that happens in the book is specifically designed to get you into the action and to assist the general theme of the book. You meet Kevin Masterson, the son Eric Masterson left behind in his heroic adventuring as Thunderstrike. You learn that he’s a troubled youth with a mad-on for heroes and resents his dad for abandoning him. You meet his parents who are trying to get him through this bitter attitude. You meet Steve Rogers and Sharon Carter who sort of hand over the Thunderstrike mace and wish him the best with it.
Danger inevitably strikes and Kevin finds himself running to help a baby trapped in a car. Upon reading the new inscription on the Thunderstrike mace (The World Still Needs Heroes), there’s an explosion and ka-pow! Thunderstrike is here! He fights the Rhino for a bit until he gets a good look at himself and Kevin Masterson finds himself in the body of his late father.
A fantastic twist in a solidly told book. Kevin actually walking in his father’s shoes (and feet as the case maybe) will lead to some great conflict on a personal level as he copes with the memories and disappointments he had in his father, say nothing of what his parents might think when they see Thunderstrike on the news. Kevin’s got a link into the Secret Avengers via Steve Rogers and he’ll be getting help from Asgard as well. Grunhilde the Valkyrie has been sent by Sif to help train the boy to honor the legacy of Eric Masterson. This idea has legs and can go a lot of places, mixing him in with the Marvel Universe and taking the time to learn a little about the boy behind the man, so to speak.
On the other hand, nothing is guaranteed. These guys have created great stories before that have felt dated and suffered for their homage style. The art work isn’t as catchy or as streamlined as more modern artists and comes off as awkward at times; in a book geared towards teenage boys that can turn the target audience off. Then again, I can’t think of anything targeted to teen-aged boys that’s a sure thing.
What’s important is that there’s a theme to this: a boy coming to terms with the memory of his father and the acceptance/rejection of heroism. These are themes readily found in Norse myth and even the story of Thor himself. While we may not see the mighty God of Thunder wrestle with more personal issues, we can watch a young man learn humility, make amends with his father and learn meaning of true power over a bitchin’ AC/DC soundtrack.