Last week, Marvel promoted a new Marvel NOW! series from the creative team of writer Daniel Way and Steve Dillon, using the word "lightning" to help spark fan speculation. This week, we can confirm your suspicions are correct: It is indeed Thunderbolts, relaunching with a new #1 in December. It's not just a new ongoing series, it's a whole new take on the concept, with a team consisting of Red Hulk, Punisher, Elektra, Venom and Deadpool; reunited with Way after just a couple of months apart. Gathered by Red Hulk — originally known as General "Thunderbolt" Ross, remember? — they'll be taking on deadly Marvel Universe threats in their own very specific (and likely very violent) way. Though Thunderbolts devotees might still have a bad taste in their mouths nearly 10 years after the "Fightbolts" era, series editor Jordan D. White tells us that though this new series doesn't carry over any characters or storylines from previous incarnations of the title — the most recent of which transitioned into Dark Avengers in June — it's still defined by similar ideas. Newsarama: Jordan, Daniel Way and Steve Dillon aren't strangers to each other, but they both are new to Thunderbolts. What can you say about what made them right for the series, and how things developed? And why was Thunderbolts an important concept to revisit in Marvel NOW?
Jordan D. White: The idea for this team of Thunderbolts actually came from a Marvel retreat, where ideas are flying fast and furiously. The question of how to shake-up Thunderbolts and take it in a new direction came up, and the idea of a Red Hulk-led team got the room excited. From there, the question became who he would tap for his team, and everyone agreed the main roster you see here (Punisher, Venom, Elektra, and Deadpool) would be an awesome team book. Looking for the right fit for this book as far as writers go, Dan Way was at the top of the list — and once we brought the idea to him, he leapt in with both feet, with tons of ideas of his own to add to the mix. He quickly shaped what was a rough idea for a team into a book with a specific idea and direction behind it… and added in a few more characters to the team, who shall be revealed over the first few issues.
As far as Steve goes, we could not be happier to have him on the art. As you said, he and Dan have worked together before, and they know how to make a great tale together. I am quite fond of the twisted Nighthawk miniseries they did a while back, not to mention their terrific Bullseye series. Steve brings such a strong sense of storytelling and creates a really distinct tone in his work, I think it is really going to help to establish this series as something completely new and different from the previous Thunderbolts series in the minds of the readers.
Nrama: The relaunch of the series looks like it has elements close to the classic spirit of Thunderbolts, but it's an all-new team with presumably a very different approach. When reimagining a book like this, how tricky is it to find the right balance of doing something fresh and new, but also recognizable enough that it still "earns" the old title? And how is it different for a series like Thunderbolts, which in many ways is characterized by frequent change?
White: Great question. Yeah — T-Bolts has gone through quite a few shifts over the years, some more radical than others. This one is going to be a pretty big change in that none of the characters or plotlines from the previous series are carrying over. It's a new take, but one that is grounded in that original idea that has always been woven into the fabric of the series, the hero/villain dichotomy, and characters bridging the gap between them. If you look at our roster, every one of our characters is a character who started out as a villain in their first appearances but who has, over the years, made the shift to hero… or at least antihero.Jeff Parker-era
Thunderbolts.Unlike the most recent Thunderbolts, this group is not working for any government program — this is Red Hulk's team, to do with as he sees fit. In case you forgot, big red's secret ID is that of General "Thunderbolt" Ross, a well-respected military official who the world thinks was KIA. Well, just because he can't be part of the American Armed Forces doesn't mean he can't put together an armed force of his own (in fact, as a side note, I'd considered suggesting we call the book "Thunderbolt's" with a possessive, but decided I would be laughed out of editorial if I mentioned it). And again, if you look at the crew ol' T-Bolt has put together, you can get a sense of the kind of things he might be looking to do with them. They're a team of loners, but all highly trained and highly skilled as either mercenaries or soldiers. This is a black ops dream team… or perhaps red ops, as the case may be. They're all characters with their own very particular morality, who do the things they do because they believe in them. They believe they are doing right, even if the world around them might not. Now that they're working together, they can set their sights even higher… and the world had better look out, because they won't take no for an answer. Keep reading Newsarama for more on the Marvel NOW! Thunderbolts. More from Newsarama:
- The 10 Greatest SUPERVILLAIN Teams of ALL TIME!
- Marvel NOW! DEADPOOL Team Promises More Than Fart Jokes
- Inside the New Mutants-Infused Marvel NOW! AVENGERS Lineup