Daniel Way Unleashes Red Hulk's Loud and Proud THUNDERBOLTS
The writer also discussed re-teaming with Preacher artist Steve Dillon, who he previously worked with on Wolverine: Origins, Supreme Power: Nighthawk and Bullseye: Greatest Hits; plus detailed his thoughts on each of the five initial team members — including Deadpool, who Way's sticking with after wrapping his four-year run on the character's solo ongoing series in October. Newsarama: Daniel, Thunderbolts is a series with a very unique place within both Marvel and the comic book industry in general. It's one of the few new series from its era that's really endured, and though it's been characterized by frequent overhaul, it's usually retained a recognizable central concept. What was attractive to you about Thunderbolts? And though it looks like you're definitely going in a different direction, what would fans of past runs on the book find familiar with what you're doing?
Daniel Way: I can't help but think the reason this title has endured while others from that era haven't is because of the incredible work that [Kurt] Busiek and [Mark] Bagley did when the title was first launched. I think comics fandom is still gasping from that particular gut-punch — last page of the first issue, everything you thought you knew flew right out the window.
It's that sense of danger, of volatility, that I'm trying to preserve with my take on the series. In addition, I really enjoyed the political themes introduced by Warren Ellis, so that will also be an aspect with which fans (especially recent fans) will be familiar.
Way: Yes; this is not "another X-Force." This is also not a covert ops team. When the Thunderbolts hit a target, they'll do so in the loudest way possible. Separately, on their own, these characters were waging open-ended campaigns. Why were they on their own? Why has no one stepped in to help them? Would not the world be a better place if organized crime was eliminated, or The Hand summarily wiped out?
Whether due to indifference, moral quandary or political agenda, there are pockets of infection throughout the MU that have been allowed to fester and grow. This team of Thunderbolts exists to cut out that infection, wherever it is found. They do not recognize boundaries or borders, be they moral, political or geographical. They can and will strike anyone, at any time, without warning. They are the consequence of evil deeds, pure and simple.
Way: Well, this is definitely a "bigger" book… I mean, once you throw Red Hulk into the mix, the scale automatically goes through the roof. This team doesn't tackle small problems, and it doesn't provide discreet solutions.
What I've asked Steve to do — and which he's done, incredibly — is complement the global scale of this series. We all know that, of the small group of artists who can do it at all, Steve Dillon is one of the best there is at communicating nuance and human emotion through his artwork and visual storytelling. What we tend to forget is that this guy cut his teeth doing some of the most bombastic comics ever in 2000 AD and Warrior. What you're going to see in this new series is an amalgamation of these styles; a perfect storm of shock and awe. As comics fans, we're used to seeing insane, widescreen destruction. With Steve, you'll feel it.
Way: Red Hulk is the metaphorical 800-pound gorilla in this situation. He's also a former general with decades of battlefield experience. Only Red Hulk has the capacity to lead this team, and only Thunderbolt Ross has the clarity of vision to effectively deploy them.
Way: Though he's not a mutant, Deadpool is a member of X-Force for one simple reason: He's a killer. That's not, however, why he's a member of the Thunderbolts. Red Hulk has plenty of killers, already — what he doesn't have is someone versed in non-linear tactics. Red Hulk — Ross — knows every play in the book but what Deadpool knows isn't in the book.
That being said, Deadpool does kill a whole lotta people in this series.
Way: The only common thread in those two series is that the symbiote is a character separate from the host, and that is definitely something that I'll be using.
Previously, Flash Thompson was given an incredible weapon to use… and was then told not to use it to its full potential. This was not acceptable to Flash or the symbiote. Within the Thunderbolts camp, however, there are no such restrictions.
Way: Well, none of these characters are really "team players" but Elektra is definitely a standout in this regard. Elektra remains on the same path she set upon when her father was murdered, the same path that has led her time and again to her own death. Her motivation is to reach the end of that path… alive. And for that, experience has taught her, she'll need allies.
Way: Punisher's involvement — why Red Hulk wants him on the team — is actually an important plot thread in this series. After all, he's the one character on the team without any superhuman or supernatural powers. He's just a man, committed fully to a course of action that will surely lead to death and failure… and yet, he soldiers on. Does this make Punisher less human, or more? Suffice it to say that "salvage" is a term never far from Thunderbolt Ross' mind.More from Newsarama:
- Marvel's VENOM Team Talk Flash Thompson's Big Move
- Way's DEADPOOL Exit Strategy: Supervillains, Hit-Monkey
- SDCC 2012: The AVENGERS Enter The PUNISHER's WAR ZONE