I haven’t read the first issue of the new T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents series, but when I read that issue #2 was going to feature the origin of their speedster, Lightning, I decided to take a look. The concept: An international team of covert operatives use suits that give them super-powers…knowing that the powers will kill them.
Despite being the middle of a bigger story, the issue reads quite well. It’s structured with a framing sequence in which the team is on its first mission. It’s not entirely clear what they’re doing, except they need Lightning to get inside the perimeter. To do so, he’ll need to run faster than he has ever run in training…and he’ll learn the true cost of super-speed.
This is wrapped around the story of Kenyan athlete Henry Cosgei, two-time Olympic winner and three-time world champion, a man who loves life, but most of all loves running…and the brutal way in which T.H.U.N.D.E.R. manipulates him into joining the team. By the end of the issue, he sees all too well what he’s given up in order to regain what he’d previously lost.
There’s good character work, not only with Lightning himself, but with the two handlers. There’s some depth here beyond the mindless slugfests, continuity strip-mining, and roster shuffling (though there is a bit of the latter here, since it’s an origin story) that seems to make up so much of the super-hero landscape these days.
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #2: “Live Fast, Die Young”
Writer: Nick Spencer
Penciller (main sequence): Cafu
Inker (main sequence): Bit
Artist (Lightning sequence): ChrisCross
The Source has a new article on T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, focusing on the team’s speedster Lightning. Joining regular artist Cafu, ChrisCross steps in to illustrate Lightning’s backstory…and the “crazy-scary toll his new power takes on him.”
ChrisCross is no stranger to speedsters. Two years ago, he was all set to draw the scrapped Velocity series that would have spun out of Top Cow’s first Pilot Season. He completed at least one issue and several covers. The interior art hasn’t seen the light of day, but Top Cow has been using the covers as variants on the current Ron Marz/Kenneth Rocafort Velocity miniseries.
THUNDER Agents #2 goes on sale December 8.
DC has posted a 3-page preview (4 if you count the two pages of the double-page splash) of T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #1, including art of the team’s resident speedster, Lightning, in action.
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #1 by NIck Spencer and CAFU arrives in stores November 10.
DC has posted artist CAFU’s designs for the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents relaunch coming in November, including the team’s speedster, Lightning.
Lightning’s past is one readers of the sports page will be familiar with. It’s one of failure, self-doubt and, ultimately, redemption – if he can manage to outrace death long enough, that is.
CAFU came up with a number of designs for Lightning’s suit, but we ultimately settled on this one as it seemed both the most stylish and the most practical. Zipping around that fast, you’re going to need some protection!
As described in previous articles, the premise is that the suits that give the agents their super-powers will also kill them within a year. The agency recruits covert operatives willing to trade their lives for one last shot at redemption.
The article at The Source has four designs, including Dynamo, NoMan, and Menthor in addition to Lightning.
Also worth a look: Newsarama’s article on the history of the team, back to their 1965 debut at Tower Comics.
Last year at Comic-Con, DC announced that they had acquired the rights to the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, a covert team of international super-heroes operating under the authority of the United Nations. The characters were originally published in the late 1960s by Tower Comics, and have been revived several times over the last few decades.
Among the classic members of the team is Lightning: former Special Forces agent Guy Gilbert wears a suit that gives him super-speed…but every time he uses that speed, it ages him.
Today at The Source, DC announced that the new series will launch in November, featuring lead stories by writer Nick Spencer and artist CAFU and backup stories by a team still to be announced. The series will focus on a new team of recruits. Editor will Moss describes it this way:
The new series casts the team as a covert special ops force dealing with global threats the rest of the DCU don’t even know exist — all the while struggling with their own choices to become agents and the tortured pasts they’re running from. With character-first storytelling and threats exploding from real-world headlines, this relaunch of T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS will offer something new, different, and daring for both today’s broader comics audience and fans of the original team.