Monday, December 26, 2016
Sometimes when a long-running series tries to set up a new direction, a jumping-on point can also serve as a jumping-off point. And sometimes--especially with Marvel--a last issue retroactively might not be. From 2003, Thunderbolts #81, "Getting Even More!" Written by John Arcudi, art by Francisco Ruiz Velasco.
Thunderbolts made its debut in 1997, but after six years the title was making a change; from super-villains struggling for redemption, to a super-villain MMA organization-slash-Fight Club, with covers in the style of men's magazines of the day like Maxim or Stuff. The stakes may have been lower, but arguably more personal. Still, it didn't take off, and was cancelled after six issues. This issue, some of the villains--including Mankiller and Scorpion--complain about Spider-Man, who they blame for most of their misfortunes. They agree to team up to take Spidey down for good, even though at least one of them points out that may have been tried before.
Still, Daniel Axom, aka the Battler, has his doubts, even if he's still filled with rage over the beating Spidey gave him and the time he had to serve afterwards. (He also blames Spidey for a lot of the property damage, and may have a point, since Spidey smashed a wall with Axom's face knocking him out.) Likewise, Mankiller hates Spidey, but when she's acquitted of the charges against her she loses her motivation to fight him again. After a talk with former champ Armadillo, Axom opts out of the super-villain team-up, which ends with Scorpion and a woman--possibly low-tier Spidey villainess Delilah--webbed up to a streetlight with little kids throwing stones at them.
I don't think you'll find Thunderbolts #82-99, but the numbering would return for Thunderbolts #100.