I had little interest in the new T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents series until I read in a recent “DC Nation” column that it is to be a continuation of the original series rather than a re-start. That’s cool, I think. It inspired me to work my way completely through the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Archives series for the first time ever, if I finish it. Right now I’m in the middle of volume three, so wish me luck. By the time I finish, there will be a new archive volume collecting the 1980s series.

The first issue of the new series is (not unexpectedly) darker than the original, but it’s too soon to get a sense of where they’re going with it. I’m unfamiliar with the work of writer Nick Spencer, but the work of penciller Cafu reminds me a bit of Gary Frank’s. I don’t have much else to say about this series yet, but is anyone else reading it?

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ISSUE #4: This issue really clicked as a series of flashback scenes (illustrated by Howard Chaykin) helped to introduce one of the original THUNDER Agents, NoMan, into the present day. Noman is still Professor Anthony Dunn, but apparently every time he switches bodies he loses a little more of his humanity. Decades of body-switches have left him little more than a shell of a man, dismissed from the agency and unable to commit suicide. The promise of ending his existence lures him back to active field work to rescue another original agent, Raven, who has been captured by the organization Spider. The rescue goes wrong and Spider’s spy in the THUNDER organization is revealed on the last page.

Reply by Rob Staeger on January 4, 2011 at 6:21pm

I picked it up, and liked it quite a bit. But boy, Gil Kane didn't really stretch when he designed the Menthor costume, did he?

I'd say that a big part of T.H.U.N.D.E.R's charm is the simplicity and elegance of their costumes.  Very 60's chic! 

 

I've read most of my copy of DC Presents: THUNDER Agents by now and I'm loving it.  Its even better in colour!  I'd love to read more, but sadly, the Archives are out of my budget.  Maybe they'll be produced in a cheaper format sometime?  Perhaps if the current series, which follows on from the 60's comics, takes off?  Although I know new superhero comics unconnected to the Big Two have a tough time building an audience.

 

The only problem I had with the DC Presents is that although it lists the artists and writers on the inside cover, it doesn't specify who did what.  As some of them are creators I should know more about, that kind of bugged me...

 

Did you ever have a moment reading a comic where a frame just jumps out at you and speaks to you on some profound level?  This happened to me while reading the first Dynamo story.  I can't guess why...

 

Thunder
ISSUE #4: I get it now. THUNDER Agents, from its original run in the ‘60s to its brief revival in the ‘80s, was always known for its mix of top artistic talent. I didn’t recognize the beginning of a trend last month with a flashback sequence illustrated by Howard Chaykin, but this month’s issue feature a section by George Perez. This story ought to look really good collected if the trend continues. A collection of the ‘80s material has already been solicited in the Archives format (which has a different trade dress than other DC Archives); I wonder if the plan is to continue releasing collections of the new material in the same format.

This series does a great job of conveying the impression that the THUNDER Agents organization has been around for nearly 45 years.

For those of you who have read #4, the scene on pages 14-15 was my favorite.
ISSUE #7: I knew I didn’t post a reaction to issue #6, but I hadn’t realized I didn’t post a reaction to #5 as well. If I had’ve posted something about #6 (or #5, too, I suppose), it would have been that I’m starting to “lose the story” of the present day sequence. That’s okay, though; the flashback sequences carry this series from month to month (for me), and I expect the modern story to gel when I re-read it in the future. This month’s issue is a particularly good example of the flashbacks carrying the story.

The framing sequence, set in the present day, is only two pages. The main story is set in the 1980s and the back-up story is set in the 1960s. All three of the stories revolve around the relationship between Len Brown, the original Dynamo, and “Rusty” (the Iron Maiden). The ‘60s story details a turning point in their relationship; [SPOILERS] the ‘80s story reveals Len and Rusty had a baby and that Len is considered a traitor; [MORE SPOILERS] the present day sequence reveals that the agent we’ve been following since issue #1 is their daughter.

That’s okay, though; the flashback sequences carry this series from month to month (for me), and I expect the modern story to gel when I re-read it in the future.

 

 

Looking at it's sales. It will have to hurry up. It is already below R.E.B.E.L.S. and Batman Confidential, both of which have been canceled.

 

I personally didn't like the "reveal" that she was their daughter. I get tired of the "It's A Small World"-universe characters seem to live in.

Oh, I can't believe I forgot to mention that the '80s flashback is drawn by Mike Grell! The '60s flashback is well done by Nick Dragota, but it was the Grell sequence that made the issue for me.

ISSUE #8: The eighth issue was very much like the seventh in that the main story was set in two eras (the present day with art by Dan Panosian, and the ‘80s with art by Mike Grell), and the backup story was set in the ‘60s with art by Nick Dragotta. It’s really working for me because the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents was areal title from the ‘60s and revived (briefly) in the ‘80s, rather than an “invented” organization with a decades long history. The new series fills in the gaps and moves the story forward. It’s self-contained, yet everything from before is in continuity.

Speaking of the ‘80s Tower Comics revival, DC recently re-released it as volume seven of the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents archives series with the same trade dress as the six volumes of the classic series, which makes me wonder if they’ll continue with the new series as volume eight…?
Jeff of Earth-J said:
Speaking of the ‘80s Tower Comics revival, DC recently re-released it as volume seven of the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents archives series with the same trade dress as the six volumes of the classic series, which makes me wonder if they’ll continue with the new series as volume eight…?

I asked the manager at my LCS, and he said he had heard nothing. Volume seven collects the Deluxe Comics series, skipping the JC Comics and Red Circle issues.

"Deluxe Comics," right. (I said "Tower.") It also reprints one additional later story (with art by Paul Gulacy) I have never read. I forget the source of that one. Were JC and Red Circle reprints or further original adventures?

I believe they were mostly reprints but also some new material. Penthouse Comix published one issue after the Deluxe Comics issues and the Agents also appeared in a Justice Machine issue from Texas Comics. Wikipedia says Solson did one issue, too.
ISSUE #9: My thoughts about issue #9 pretty much echo what I had to say about issue #8. I would like to see the new series collected and continued in the Archive series, but I wonder in which order they’ll present the back-up stories set in the ‘60s (or how long this series will continue with them, for that matter)…?

The GCD lists JC Comics as having published in 1981 a B&W magazine, JCP Features, with new T.H.U.N.D.E.R. material, and a two issue T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents series in 1983. (It also did a three issue reprint series.) Apparently the storylines from the latter were continued in Blue Ribbon Comics #12 from Archie (a hat tip to Wikipedia's page on JC Comics for this point; the cover at the GCD has an "Archie Adventure Series" rather than a "Red Circle" imprint).

 

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