Comic Review: T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, Vol. 1

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, Vol. 1
Created by Wally Wood and Len Brown
Written by Phil Hester
Illustrated by Andrea Di Vito
Colors by Rom Fajardo
Letters by Shawn Lee and Chris Mowry
Cover by Jerry Ordway and David Baron
IDW Publishing
Release Date: March 11, 2014
Cover Price: $17.99

Welcome to the superhero team with the most improbable acronym in comic history. T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, Vol. 1 is a reimaging of the original 1960s comic of the same name by Wally Wood and Len Brown.

I’m not sure if Andrea Di Vito just erased the word balloons of the classic issues or exactly captured the look and feel of the original ’60s run. T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents gives every impression, from the frame set-ups to the campy coloring of the team uniforms, that it is a painstakingly crafted throwback.

Here’s a quote from writer Phil Hester explaining his intention, and passion for this project:

“It’s the classic team presented in an all-new way. Readers will see Dynamo, NoMan, Lightning, Kitty Kane, Guy Gilbert, Weed, Dynamite, etc., but in unexpected roles and with fresh takes on their personalities and abilities. When I pitched IDW on the project, I mentioned using “Batman: The Animated Series” as a template. It’s set in a timeless, modern “now,” but presented in a style that’s consistent with the classic books. This is an all-new continuity that new readers will find friendly, but one in which long-time fans will find innumerable easter eggs and homages to the classic series.”

I have never read the original T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, but with Phil and Andrea at the helm I doubt I will need to. The acronym is kind of a nod in Marvel’s direction. Phil and Andrea wanted to craft the general background of their group and the world they live in without pages of explanation. They chose basic costumes and the team member’s names don’t require a Google search to understand what they mean. Our creators wanted to jump right into the story leaving something familiar in the background.

The story in question, to sum up”¦ T.H.U.N.D.E.R. has been sitting on a game changing secret of alien artifacts on Earth. The villain in this piece (The Iron Maiden) shares time with a cleric of a subterranean society that worships one of these artifacts. The artifact in this story arc happens to be an evil-crushing robot. By which I mean, a robot that actually crushes Evil. Much to the surprise of our villain.

The teams composition is a standard cookie cutter format, so the jobs and most of the abilities are literally spelled out with their names. Hester has a storied enough career that I can take it on faith that he will remain honest in his story telling and call himself out when he returns to the campy nature of his set up. Andrea DiVito has such a nostalgic style that one could easily forget the issues modern origin.

Aside: I have to say I always sympathized with the need for this type of institution in the Comic world. S.H.I.E.L.D. and Cadmus are necessary functions in real life. I was the first one calling out Mr. Bennett (HRG) of Heroes as a Good Guy. I’m sorry Magneto, you can keep flashing the digits on your arm, I know where you are coming from but the average citizen has to know if he is buying a house next to Radioactive Man. How much flood insurance is needed if Hydro Man lives in the neighborhood? Real life requires the services of these fictional bureaucracies.

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