Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt #1
Written by Steve Darnall & Alex Ross
Art by Jonathan Lau
Colors by Vinicius Andrade
Letters by Simon Bowland
Covers by Alex Ross, John Cassaday, Jae Lee & Ardian Syaf
Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt Ashcan
Foreword by Mark Waid
Written & Illustrated by Pete Morisi
Colored by Mike Kelleher
Written by Steve Darnall
Release Date: September 5, 2012
Cover Price: $3.99
Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt #1 is probably one, if not THE MOST, original super hero story that you’ll read this year. Hands down, bar none. It’s a great change of pace from the “normal” super hero genre books that are being published right now. In short, pretty sure you’re gonna enjoy this one.
Where the heck has writer Steve Darnall been? I read a LOT of comics, ladies and gentlemen, but I haven’t seen his name in a looooooong time. And that’s a shame. In fact, after an exhausting internet search, I can’t find anything credited to him since 1999. Again, really a shame. I absolutely LOVED this book and so will you. It’s quite different from a lot of first issues, there’s no book length long origin, no “I shall be called THUNDERBOLT” moment, but there are panels and inner monologue that give us small clips and snippets of an origin, and the rest pretty much takes care of itself.
One of the things that I liked so much about this issue is that it’s a WHOLE issue. You get a self-contained story (with a really great shock ending) that will lead into future issues. As for this particular issue itself, there’s a great balance of both super heroics and civilian life for Peter Cannon, which is a nice touch. We get inside the head of Peter Cannon, what his motivation is, and where he wants to go. And, like any good comic, there’s MANY roadblocks thrown in his path that will make the book very interesting. In short, Darnall has taken an almost 50-year-old super hero character and ACTUALLY made him relevent and entertaining to today’s audience. He’s not just gone through the motions of updating the world around the character, he’s done the impossible and brought the character into today’s world and made him a modern day superhero that’s got a reason to be here. Well played, Steve Darnall.
On the art side of things, Jonathan Lau still kicks butt. Sure, I miss him on The Bionic Man, but it’s a treat to have him here on Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt. He’s changed up his style a tiny bit, but there are still many classic Jonathan Lau panels, especially during the big fight scene of the issue. I’m curious to see how his style will continue to evolve in future issues, because the way Steve Darnall writes, the book is about a 50/50 split between action and civilian drama. No matter what happens, I’m sure Lau is up to the challenge and will come through with flying colors. I’m not sure if Lau or Alex Ross designed the new Thunderbolt costumes, but it totally works in this book. Long gone are the red and blue tights and underwear, but the new costume is practical and pays homage to the original suit at the same time. Very classy.
Not to be outdone, also included in this comic is a 19-page origin story by the original creator of the character, Pete Morisi, which was originally intended to be featured in an issue of DC Comics’s Secret Origins title, but the series was cancelled before this story saw print. It’s a fantastic, nostalgic look at how the character came to be, what his powers are, and how he made the journey from a hidden lamasery to a mansion on the outskirts of New York City. This is a great campanion piece to the main story in the first issue.
Summing it all up, you REALLY need to buy this comic. It’ll blow your expectations out of the water, and then some. It’s no secret that I also SELL comics, not just review them. As a retailer, this book is a dream come true. It’s perfect for that new reader who wants something in the super hero genre, but is gun shy on books that have an impossibly long continuity-heavy history. As a fan, I loved the issue because it’s just a great, solid comic book. And I think that’s why you’ll love it, too.