Your are about to read my review for Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt #2
I reviewed the first issue:
Feel free read that before starting our second issue review!
It always sucks when a victory turns hollow as the real enemy emerges from the corpses of the just defeated.
Peter Cannon saves the day in his debut relaunch from Dynamite, only to discover in this second issue, that there is more to the situation than what meets the eye. To make things more difficult for our hero, initially, only Cannons eyes can “see” the situation properly. His allies need additional proof to even begun to understand the basic concept of who the enemy Peter Cannon has uncovered.
As Peter attempts to explain “We have been attacked by an alternative of myself who possesses the immense ability to control reality.” The author, Gillen, has stated in explaining his work that Peter Cannon is Peter Cannon and Gillen refers to the alternative Cannon as Thunderbolt. I’m game.
Peter then inquires what if anything should be done about this to his cast of international allies.
I have to admit I’d be at a loss of what to reply with. Two of our heroes begin to argue on the risks and merits of avenging the dead from the just defeated attack when Peter shocks the assembled heroes that avenging the dead is a secondary concern and states a more ominous danger “the problem is what happens if he is displeased with what results from his intervention and chooses to act again.”
This silences all but one ally who requires more proof that Thunderbolt is a villain at hand.
As the story continues with Peter coming to the conclusion that Thunderbolt is watching our group of heroes “He watches us. One cannot watch passively.”
Peter does what Peter does and consults the scrolls for additional answers.
We then get another glimpse of the bond between Cannon and Tabu and the friendship and trust that they both share towards each other. And we innocently discover an important aspect of their trust and what it is based on.
I compared the story in the debut issue as a modernization of the pulp with the creative teams unique spin. This holds true even as it attempts to bend towards theoretical science fiction as opposed to the traditional pulp.
One of the tired plot lines of pulps from times past was a Scoobie Doo like cliche. Early pulp heroes would find mysterious science fiction or horror-themed story only to uncover shenanigans of some sort behind as a big bad reveal. I am not being dismissive of pulps. I love pulp stores! It is only an observation.
Our heroic team actually travels to the alternate Earth. There is no fake out in this plot. Instead of following the path of pulps from the past this pulp follows its own rules!
To continue the idea of following your own rules. Our heroes take a unique spin on a “magic carpet ride” through alternative realities, jet setting across different alternative realities surprising Cannons allies and Thunderbolt (as well who didn’t think the trans-dimensional travel was possible). All shown and told in an interesting manner that one might reflect to as the creative team followin thier own rules.
The superb art and synergy between script and art really stand out with this sequence. If there was an awards show with the pomp and sensationalism of the music and acting award shows, this sequence would be shown as a contender for an award.
Our heroes arrive in the Thunderbolts reality. How exactly is not fully explained. My idea is it is likely the shared connection between Peter Cannon and Thunderbolt tethering themselves to each other. If anyone else has any ideas, let me know!
The Thunderbolts Tabu is ordered to bring the heroes to Thunderbolt. Peter Cannon is disheartened upon meeting Thunderbolts Tabu. This Tabu is dramatically different in the reality our heroes find themselves in.
Beside the post-apocalyptic Hollywood, the sad state of this reality’s Tabu alarms the dimensional traveling heroes with a warning. Tabu’s warnings echo that the very danger they are about to encounter when Tabu states of Thunderbolt: “He does not like delays. He may hurt us.” The alternative Tabu explains his sad state, informing them that Thunderbolt gave him “a body that he could not commit suicide with” after Tabu attempted to.
Tabu takes the assembles heroes to Thunderbolt. Given the dread atmosphere of this alternative earth, one should not be surprised at that Thunderbolt murders one of the heroes quickly after meeting them. This heroes death leaving a grim reminder of Watchmen in its wake. This is done not only in the act of his execution but the visual nature of murder.
The return of bonus Matryoshka dolls!
Bonus Matryoshka doll #1
Whatever your political standings are, as comic readers, we do have at least a passing familiarity with the horrible possibilities that accompany Nuclear weapons.
I often wonder about the attention span of a person holding a subject as serious as nuclear annihilation. The farther time distances itself from the last crisis, the less serious the issue becomes.
Much like the heroes discovering other Earth’s that not as lucky as our real reality or the reality that our heroes from. This unnerves our heroes. To see the annihilation of so many Earths. One must conclude their Earth is fortunate in not have met such a horrible end. It is an accurate assessment of how I would react to the circumstance the heroes experience.
In our reality, those who do not live in the proximity of being attacked in a nuclear fashion, tend to not be concerned with such matters. Even when the danger lurked in the past, fears revolved around said danger dissipates after time has passed. The same can be said of war. People who don’t have actual experience to remember, seem likely to less impacted. Who hasn’t heard that we should learn from our past, yet…you can take the nuclear discussion any way you like. The above is what I felt after reading the story.
War and nuclear annihilation were touched upon in Watchmen and I suspect will come back up in Thunderbolt.
Bonus Matryoshka doll #2
The method of dimensional transport is stated as a form of formalism. Formalism means quite a lot and within the context of the story, has multiple meanings in the real world and is worthy of research. Formalism was also part of Watchmen.
Bonus Matryoshka doll #3
The beauty of the 9-panel grid continues in Thunderbolt. We are treated to a bonus of experimentation with the 9-panel structure popularized by Watchmen. Various other cool Watchmen homages exist. It’s always better to discover these than being told about them. Some advance the story, some enhance the visuals.
The script and the art reached new creative heights. Both the writer and artist compliment each other on every page. The lettering and the colors shine. A strong statement for a second issue. A great progression from the first issue. Loss over a fallen hero, horror at the tragedy of possible futures or paths that Earth could take and people could live litter the path to Thunderbolt. It will be interesting whether the outcome of our heroes surprising the villain with their ability to cross dimensions changes the fate that ultimately waited for the heroes if they had not acted in the fashion that they did.
I look forward to the third issue.
Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt is published by Dynamite
Writer: Kieron Gillen : : Art: Caspar Wijingaard
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