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May 24

House to Astonish Presents: The Lightning Round Episode 14

Posted on Wednesday, May 24, 2023 by Al in Podcast

It’s time for another electrifying set of issues of Marvel’s most wanted superteam, the Thunderbolts, as we look at Thunderbolts Annual 2000, as well as Thunderbolts #38 and #39. Scourges! Hellstroms! Citizens V! It’s very much all go, as the storyline begun in issue 34 continues along its twisty-turny path.

The episode can be found here, or via the embedded player below. Let us know what you think, in the comments, via email, on Twitter or Mastodon, or on our Facebook fan page! And do you know what would really bring out your eyes? A House to Astonish T-shirt. It’s true!

Bring on the comments

  1. Jim says:

    Gosh, the disappointment that would strike when you realised it was a Broons year and you had to suffer a string of stories where someone misheard what Grandpaw was up to and the whole family had to interfere en masse, like a Dundonian episode of Frasier.

  2. Jeremy Henderson says:

    I’m halfway through the episode…does Al ever correct his cruel slander of beloved character Ron Perlman, who he confuses with odious former Marvel boss Isaac Perlmutter?

  3. Jim says:

    @Jeremy I thought poor Ron was watching strays too, until I remembered about Ronald Perelman, the *other* odious former Marvel boss.

  4. Jeremy Henderson says:

    @Jim Ahhh, you’re right! My apologies to Al!

  5. Josie says:

    Was it the Thunderbolts Annual or the Avengers Annual where they brought back Hellcat? As far as I remember, those two annuals were sort of connected.

    In any case, I recently read the “first appearance” of Hellcat, that is, Steve Englehart bringing long-established character Patsy Walker onto the Avengers and giving her Greer Nelson’s old The Cat costume, which she acquired after a bizarre subplot in which she blackmails Beast into making her a superhero. Weird stuff, but props to Englehart for reimagining an otherwise defunct character.

  6. Daibhid C says:

    The Beano Annual was called The Beano Book for a long time as well.

    The “nothing in the afterlife can be trusted” explanation is a lot better than the one I heard, which was the somewhat horrifying idea that the Skrulls’ brainwashing of their deep-cover agents was so effective that Skrull-Mockingbird still doesn’t know, even after her death.

  7. Mark Coale says:

    I thought she was resurrected in Tbolts but she’s “back” and on the cover of the Avengers annual.

    Poor Buzz Baxter got done no favors in those Avengers issues, especially once he becomes … Mad Dog?

  8. CalvinPitt says:

    Hawkeye retrieves Hellcat’s soul and possibly somehow her physical body) from Mephisto’s realm in the T’Bolts Annual, although Daimon Hellstrom let Clint believe he was actually rescuing Mockingbird. Patsy spends most of that wrapped up like a mummy and gets one line.

    The Avengers Annual is where Patsy’s up and moving again and gets targeted by Nicolas Scratch, lackey sorcerer or something. Which feeds into the 3-issue Hellcat mini-series Englehart and Norm Breyfogle did right after that, where Patsy gets caught up in a territory dispute between the rulers of various Hell realms.

    I like how the colors of her costume get reversed (becoming primarily blue with yellow gloves and boots), although maybe that’s just Breyfogle drawing it. Either way, Kurt Busiek and Erik Larsen promptly switched her back to the old look in their Defenders’ run.

  9. Mark Coale says:

    Quite the arc for Patsy… from girls’ comic star to superhero to horror supporting character to limbo to back ? To whimsical humor star.

  10. CalvinPitt says:

    Well now Christopher Cantwell seems to be going back to the horror route with her in this new mini-series. Got her hanging around with Sleepwalker and frightening Blackheart of all characters. Real, “everything you know about the character is wrong!” energy from the writer that thought getting Patsy engaged to Tony Stark was a good idea.

    (Seriously, how did she manage to find an even worse guy than the Son of Satan? That’s impressive work.)

  11. Mark Coale says:

    The aforementioned Buzz Baxter was no winner either.

    I’m reading few Marvels these days so had no idea about her new direction.

    I remember liking the new Scourge stuff at the time.

  12. Josie says:

    How was Christopher Cantwell’s Iron Man (and his writing in general)? I tried Dan Slott’s Iron Man and it was pretty unreadable (I didn’t love all his Spider-man, especially toward the end, but his writing had never been as bad as it was in Iron man), so I wondered if Cantwell was an improvement.

  13. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    I’ve read that run on MU. On the one hand it’s a retreading of various Stark’s issues – the need to control, the substance abuse. On the other it was refreshing to read, well, comic book Tony Stark instead of the writers’ best guess how Robert Downey Jr would say this line or that, which was very common in the last decade.

    There are ideas in that run. I’m not sure about the execution. But I’ve read it to the end, when I dropped many other titles at the same time.

  14. CalvinPitt says:

    I’ve only gotten to read bits and pieces of Cantwell’s stuff – Iron Man, and the Dr. Doom book he wrote for a bit – prior to the Hellcat mini-series going now. My general impression is he pushes characters towards some logical endpoint, then winds them back.

    Doom learns from Kang he will make the Earth a utopia under his control and sets out to do it, only to have some big clean energy array blow up because of an error he made. He, of course, blames it all on Reed Richards.

    Stark, I think, becomes some sort of Iron God/Technology God in the process of fighting Korvac, returns to Earth and make everyone in NYC as smart as he was (which does lead to a good joke where Sue Richards asks Reed if that’s possible and Reed responds, “I think I’ve gotten dumber.”)

    Stark ultimately rejects or loses godhood (not sure which) and I think spent all his money buying the weapons people made with the intelligence he briefly gave them. Not everyone did that, but enough that Stark gets a whole new way to feel guilty about creating murder machines, I suppose.

  15. Chris V says:

    There wasn’t any connection between the weapons and the Korvac story. Source Control was a black market seller of old supervillain technology. They had gotten access, through Spymaster, to different weapons like Mandarin’s ten rings. Stark decided that the only way to prevent this technology getting into the wider society was if someone with his wealth were able to purchase and destroy all the technology. So, he spent the entirety of his fortune stopping Source Control.

    Cantwell’s run was better than Slott and Bendis, but that wasn’t a difficult hurdle to clear. It was flawed though. The Korvac story went on far too long with not enough momentum to keep the story entertaining from issue to issue. A flaw of a writer who isn’t comfortable working in the serialized comic book format. The initial part of the story-arc lasted for (I think) fourteen issues when it could have easily told the story in half that time.
    It did feel like a “greatest hits” retread of examining Tony Stark’s flaws over again. At some points, it felt like Cantwell was trying to write a story in homage to David Michelinie’s first run on the title.

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