Marvel NOW! and The New 52 have given us some weird, weird titles and even weirder re-imaginings of titles. From the DC side we get strange, what-the-hell stuff like Frankenstein and the Agents of SHADE, and from Marvel’s camp we get the re-imagined Thunderbolts title.
No Quarter tells the story of the formation of a new band of anti-heroes calling themselves the Thunderbolts, completely separate from any that have come before. In fact the only reason they’re called “Thunderbolts” at all is because of their leader: General ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross, the Red Hulk.
Instead of piecing together a team of villains and calling them heroes like every Thunderbolts team has done in the past, these team-members are arguably each heroes in their own right, albeit some more than others. We have Red Hulk, Electra, The Punisher, Venom (Flash Thompson) and Deadpool. Of them, Venom is the odd man out. The rest fit the anti-hero pastiche going on, but I think someone forgot to tell Marvel editorial that it was Eddie Brock that they tried to make an anti-hero all through the ’90s. Flash has always been on the side of the angels, unless you count being an asshole in high-school.
I wonder if there was some marketing choices made during the creation of this lineup. When writing this review, I’ve had to tag it under the categories: Punisher, X-Men (because: Deadpool), Spider-Man (because: Venom) Avengers (because: Hulk and Thunderbolts in general) and Daredevil (because: Electra). That covers all the main corners of the Marvel Universe, potentially bringing in fans from all those places into this new series.
Seeing the Punisher in a team-book that isn’t an anti-team book like Marvel Knights is… weird. And I mean weird, I do not mean bad. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it. Just like his sudden — and explosively physical — fling with Electra. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Frank Castle just drop his guns and get down with somebody… and maybe that’s the problem here. It’s a bunch of characters being forced to act in a way that are alien to their motives and characterizations. Nothing here is really bad OR good, it’s just head-scratching.
If you’re looking for some popcorn or something to fill a few minutes of your time, I’d say check it out. If you’re looking for something you’ll remember reading an hour after you’ve put it down, maybe try something else.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
“No Quarter tells the story of the formation of a new band of anti-heroes calling themselves the Thunderbolts.”