The "All-New All-Different Marvel" title Thunderbolts is celebrating its past and welcoming back its creators for its 20th anniversary next year.
Current Thunderbolts creators Jim Zub and Jon Malin will be joined by the team's original creators Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley for Thunderbolts #10 in February. That issue begins the new "Return of the Masters" story-arc, which the current writer promises the team will revisit their own history as the Masters of Evil after a mysterious old villain makes their re-appearance.
Could it be Baron Zemo? Zub ain't talking.
But Zub did talk to Newsarama about Thunderbolts #10, just after it was announced at New York Comic Con.
Newsarama: Jim, what can readers expect with Thunderbolts #10?
Jim Zub: Something old, something new, something borrowed, everyone black & blue. [laughs]
Thunderbolts #10 kicks off a big storyline that drills down to the core of what Thunderbolts has always been about - The nature of villainy, redemption, and making really hard choices.
Nrama: I’m told that this digs up some old history, with some of the members’ time as the Masters of Evil. For long-time fans, how much will you be digging into Thunderbolts lore?
Zub: If you’ve been a fan of Thunderbolts from the very beginning, we have a lot you’ll recognize and enjoy but, that being said, I’m being very careful not to leave our current readers high and dry. Even if you’ve only been on board since issue one of this latest volume, you’ll have all the pieces you need to understand and follow along.
The Masters of Evil have always been part of the DNA of the Thunderbolts and they can’t escape that. It’s woven into who they are and how the team was formed. Those old shadows cling to them.
Nrama: And any chance of a Baron Zemo appearance?
Zub: Anything’s possible with a big party like this, but my focal point is on the current team roster.
Nrama: This comes out after Civil War II is scheduled to end - can you say what the team's position/state is generally following the event?
Zub: I can’t say too much, unfortunately. The stone we threw into the pond in Thunderbolts #5, our Civil War II tie-in issue, carries wide ripples and I really want people to enjoy those as they’re revealed in Thunderbolts #6 through #9. It’s been made public already that Songbird is back and Bucky has been captured so that’s all I can say for now. Issues #7 and 8 are gut-wrenching and they propel us toward the anniversary event.
Nrama: And for this anniversary issue, you’re sharing the book with Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley. Any thoughts on that, and did you consult with them at all - or through intermediaries - for this issue?
Zub: As soon as Tom told me issue #10 was the 20th anniversary of Thunderbolts we started plotting and Kurt was brought into the mix. We’ve been emailing, we chatted in person at Rose City Comic Con, and we’ve talked on the phone about what I’ve been building up to and Kurt’s thoughts on what he and Mark could bring into it as well. It’s been an absolute pleasure getting his thoughts and having his input. Kurt’s been very supportive and I can’t wait for readers to check out our super-sized anniversary issue.
Nrama: With Kobik, Thunderbolts is a sleeper tie-in to the 'Hail Hydra' storyline ofCaptain America: Steve Rogers. Will you be veering closer towards that in the coming months?
Zub: Yes. Hydra’s tendrils are slowly tightening around our merry band of outlaws and, after the events that play out in “Return of the Masters,” readers will definitely see darkness looming...