Overview

Thunderbolts: Breaking Point

Review

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Thunderbolts: Breaking Point

Credits

  • Words: Christos N. Gage
  • Art: Brian Denham
  • Inks: Brian Denham
  • Colors: June Chung
  • Story Title: Breaking Point
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Nov 21, 2007

Whenever Marvel needs a miniseries they turn to up and coming writer Christos Gage. Look no further than the currently running House of M: Avengers or the recently completed World War Hulk: X-Men trio of issues. And whenever Marvel needs a one-shot fill-in issue Gage is their whipping boy. Ironically, the latest dosage of Thunderbolts material not penned by the dream team lineup of Warren Ellis and Mike Deodato, Jr. ships the same week as an Iron Man Annual where Gage unsurprisingly shoulders scribe duties. Before I get into the meat of this review, let me just say this: Christos Gage is a promising writer who deserves to move up from pinch hitting on other people’s characters and onto his own ongoing monthly. Take heed, Marvel.

Breaking Point is the second Thunderbolts one-shot following the Paul Jenkins helmed Desperate Measures back in September. While that decidedly unremarkable issue focused on Penance and Bullseye, this one delves into the intriguing, yet vastly underdeveloped, relationship between team mainstay Songbird and newcomer Moonstone. The issue kicks off with a truly hilarious encounter with Brother Nature, but unfortunately, this skirmish lacks all of the darkly explosive humor series regular Warren Ellis imbues into these characters each and every month... well, closer to bi-monthly actually. Here the Thunderbolts just appear semi-ridiculous. They don’t carry the same gravitas fans of the series have come to expect.

Despite a complete overabundance of semi-colons, Gage manages to craft a well paced story that is mostly resolved over a brisk 22 pages. The ongoing confrontation between Songbird and Moonstone never seems rushed but it’s tough to care much knowing that this will have little impact on the series proper. This sense of pointlessness has plagued the miniseries Penance: Relentless as well, as that timeline doesn’t really match up with the continuity of the monthly Thunderbolts at all.

Brian Denham does an adequate job on art but it’s tough to get a handle on his style here. He seems to be just aping Mike Deodato and not playing to his own individual strengths. There’s also a few instances of characters just slightly in the background having completely white eyes. It’s not that big of a problem but it can become distracting for those used to Deodato’s accurately rendered pencils.

One element Gage nails is a pitch perfect characterization of team director Norman Osborn. While characters like Venom and Radioactive Man have been pushed towards the background, everyone’s favorite Green Goblin chimes in with two or three responses that beautifully capture his maniacally cutthroat nature far more accurately than Ellis’ constantly sweating, stuttering Norman.

You can’t fault Christos Gage or even Brian Denham for Breaking Point’s faults. They’ve been given fill-in duties for a critically acclaimed series midway through a riveting arc. And with only 22 pages to work with, there’s only so much they can do to tell an engaging story that doesn’t interfere with whatever Warren Ellis has planned for his twisted squadron of villains turned police force. If you’re a big fan of the ‘Bolts you definitely should check out Breaking Point as it’s much higher in quality than the vastly inferior Desperate Measures, but if you’re a T-Bolts newbie you should probably wait for the impending return of Warren Ellis and Mike Deodato, Jr.

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