REVIEW: Thunderbolts #163.1

THUNDERBOLTS #163.1 (Cover Date: November 2011)
Story by: Jeff Parker
Art by: Declan Shalvey
Colours by: Frank Martin
Letters by: Joe Caramanga
Cover by: Roberto de la Torre
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
Book Summery: JUSTICE – LIKE LIGHTNING! As Songbird readies the hunt for the escaped Thunderbolts, she must present their history to the mysterious forces that guide the raft – but those forces have more devious plans for these former Masters of Evil!

“End of a Circle”

I’m not sure weather Declan Shalvey laughed or cried when he got the script for this issue from writer Jeff Parker. With a cast in this issue numbering close to 50 different characters coupled with one of the most rugged terrains in Western Europe as a location, Shalvey was worked hard within these pages.
Marvel’s point one initiative has lost the wheels off its wagon I feel as some of the .1’s fall wide of the original advertised reason for having it. But in the case of this issue, Jeff Parker pulls one out of the bag that although the book is somewhat following events from the previous issue it is a totally stand alone issue that anyone could pick up and read. There is something alluring about the book itself actually. It is under the radar of many readers but is one of Marvels’ most critically acclaimed books on a consistent basis and justifiably so.
Using West Clare as a magical setting for the story tickled me no end as I’m from the area. I’m sure this is what New Yorker feel like opening up a Spider-Man issue or something. But Parker crafts a great tale telling mainly a Songbird centric story that dips into the past of the Thunderbolts and sees many previous members in the pages of the title for the first time in a long while.
There are several awesome images in the book that leave you just staring at the page at how good they are. One being an overhead full page shot of Cage, Ghost and Songbird staring down a river of lost souls that was just cool. Also the shot of the original Thunderbolts followed by a double page splash of a large number of former Thunderbolts marked this issue down as an artists showcase, albeit an artist showcase with a pretty good story. Mark that in with the briefest of Spider-Man cameos and a cool shot of Valkyrie landing on her steed which was a great looking panel and the book looked great.
Yet another great issue of one of Marvel’s better books. Kev Walker is back on the next issue that delves into time travel while Dec flies off to Vertigo for a while to work on Northlanders. This book stuck to Marvel’s idea of what the point one initiative should have been and even if you don’t read Thunderbolts regularly you can still pick this up and enjoy the heck out of it.