The Thunderbolts are roaring back better than ever with a familiar name helping to guide their new adventures. Spinning out of the Daredevil event Devil's Reign, Marvel's new volume of Thunderbolts comes from writer Jim Zub and artist Sean Izaakse. Zub previously penned a Thunderbolts series from 2016-2017 featuring many of the team's original members. However, this time the Thunderbolts will feature an all-new lineup, with longtime Avenger Hawkeye taking up a leadership role. Clint Barton will be joined by familiar heroes like Spectrum and America Chavez, along with new characters ready to leave their mark on the Marvel Universe.
Comicbook.com spoke exclusively to Jim Zub via email to find out more details on his Thunderbolts project, how each team member factors into the series, new characters Gutsen Glory and Eegro the Unbreakable, the threats the Thunderbolts will face, and much more. We also can reveal two exclusive interior pages for Thunderbolts #1 and the cover/solicit for Thunderbolts #2.
Picking the Thunderbolts Roster
Comicbook.com: This is an interesting roster for the Thunderbolts. What was the decision-making process like when choosing who would be selected, and what does each member bring to the team?
Jim Zub: It's definitely not the kind of team line-up that readers might expect for Thunderbolts, and that's intentional. Don't get me wrong, I love the original team line-up and had a blast writing back in 2016-2017, but this iteration is operating differently by design.
Our new Thunderbolts team arrive thanks to things that happen at the end of Devil's Reign. Without spoiling that, the idea here is that Luke Cage and Hawkeye want to reform the Thunderbolts team name after it's been dragged through the mud by Wilson Fisk's blatantly criminal crew.
This new team is centered around New York City, so the list of heroes I put together is NYC-centered and each member is also meant to fill a specific team role model. In the series we talk a bit about these team roles as specific titles – the Leader, the Brick, the Mentalist, the Energy Slinger, titles like that. These are core roles we've seen countless times in superhero team line-ups, we're just calling them out specifically as part of the team building process. In terms of why the team is being put into place this way, all will be explained in issue #1.prevnext
Thunderbolts as a Government-Sanctioned Team
The Thunderbolts are a New York City sanctioned team, which brings back memories of the 50 State Initiative. Was that by design or just a happy coincidence?
It's obviously not as expansive as the 50 State Initiative, but there is a similar motivation behind it. The new Thunderbolts are sanctioned and accountable for what they do, so they're 'official' in terms of the law, but that also comes with a lot of compromises and extra hassles Clint and crew have not anticipated. They don't have masks. They're in the public eye. They're scrutinized by the press and can't avoid engaging in the public relations aspects of the job.prevnext
Can Hawkeye Really Lead a Team?
Clint Barton has had some off-the-wall adventures recently, with Hawkeye: Freefall coming to mind. How does he find himself leading the Thunderbolts when responsibility hasn't exactly been his calling card?
Hawkeye's recent crimes and the other mistakes he made during Freefall will definitely come up in our first few issues. Clint's been struggling for direction and motivation. Leading the Thunderbolts is a way for him to try to reconnect to a time in his life when he felt like he had more control and a better outlook on life. Will he be successful? Read on and find out…prevnext
Thunderbolts allows you to introduce more new characters, like Gutsen Glory and Eegro the Unbreakable. Both characters appear on the cover of Issue #1, and Issue #2 features Eegro looming large over the New York City skyline. What can you share about both characters?
Gutsen Glory is the kind of character name that will make some readers cheer and others roll their eyes. That's on purpose in both scenarios. He's intentionally a 90's throwback, at least on the surface, a cyber-soldier with a vast array of high-tech toys and a mysterious past. He's just as much a mystery to his teammates as he is to readers.
Eegro the Unbreakable is Sean and I giving a hat tip to something else entirely, the glorious old school Kirby creatures of the 1960's. His name and visuals and attitude plays up on those amazing monster comic tropes and Sean's cover for issue #2 leans into that as well. Eegro talks about himself in third person, is 100% certain of his own abilities, and has a staggering ultimate attack we think will surprise and amuse readers at a key moment in the story.prevnext
Collaborating With Sean Izaakse Again
You and Sean Izaakse have worked together on your previous volume of Thunderbolts and also Champions. What's it like to have that instant chemistry when relaunching a popular franchise like Thunderbolts?
Sean's a stellar collaborator and a dear friend. I've worked on so many amazing projects with him over the years – Pathfinder, Thunderbolts, Uncanny Avengers, Avengers MU, Avengers: No Surrender, Avengers: No Road Home, and Champions. We know each other's strengths, we've got a lot of the same storytelling roots and sensibilities.
Getting to write superhero stories is a joy and getting to do that with someone as incredible as Sean takes it to a whole other level of greatness. Hawkeye is one of Sean's favorite characters, Spectrum and America Chavez are both incredible and are seeing their profile level up in the public eye with their MCU arrival in Wandavision and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Power Man and Persuasion are characters full of potential we can take in unexpected directions and, on top of that, we get to make two brand new Marvel characters with Gutsen Glory and Eegro. What else can I say? It's the best.
When CB Cebulski Tom Brevoort gave me the opportunity to pitch this Thunderbolts concept, I tried to take everything I've learned writing at Marvel over the past 7 years and build a book I would love to read. Against the odds, lightning strikes twice and I'm trying to make the most of it.prevnext
What Threats Will the Thunderbolts Face?
To end things, what type of threats can fans expect the Thunderbolts to face during this run?
Well, right off the bat, Clint and company have to clean up the mess of Wilson Fisk's nefarious team, so it's Thunderbolts VS Thunderbolts in issue #1.
After that, issue #2, 3 and 4 have some unexpected villains from Marvel's archives I'm thrilled to play with.
But, beneath it all, there's a greater villainous threat we'll be teasing throughout and that makes itself known in a big way in issue #5 to wrap up our mini-series. I hope that what we build here hits the mark for readers and retailers and we're able to keep Justice, Like Lightning going with more adventures to come.prevnext
Thunderbolts #2 Cover and Solicit
THUNDERBOLTS #2 (OF 5)
JIM ZUB (W) • SEAN IZAAKSE (A/C)
Variant cover by Mateus Manhanini
Who is Eegro the Unbreakable?
How will his strange power help New York's only official super hero team battle their enemies and balance their budget?
Read on and discover, True Believers!prev