Monday, September 24, 2012

We all know there's still lots of characters that I would love to see get a Marvel Legends figure--Quasar, Nighthawk, Jack of Hearts, off the top of my head. But then there are many who I'm not necessarily as fond of, but would look great as figures. Even though I'm not a big fan of the Eternals, I always thought Ikaris would be a distinctive figure. Ditto longtime reserve Avenger Stingray. And what the heck, how about this version of the Scourge, from Thunderbolts #39, "Black Hearts" Written by Fabian Nicieza, pencils by Mark Bagley, inks by Scott Hanna.

Nicieza was the T-Bolts' second writer, after series creator Kurt Busiek, and I think he did a pretty good job of continuing the book's themes: the former villains' quest for redemption (or not, in some cases) and surprises. This issue, Baron Helmut Zemo (former leader of the Thunderbolts, as Citizen V) is attacked in his castle by the mysterious Scourge. The reader is privy to narration from Zemo and Scourge, and while Scourge's doesn't reveal his identity; Zemo's shows the character realizing he's at a crossroads.

Thunderbolts had a tradition of masked figures leading to dramatic reveals--the previous issue revealed the current Citizen V, for example; but readers would have to wait a few more to find Scourge's identity. This issue gives a hint that is both perfectly valid and a red herring: in Zemo's throne room, Scourge is obviously enraged by the display of Bucky's tattered costume. As Zemo realizes Scourge's gimmick of using weapons from deceased super-villains, Scourge defeats and seemingly kills Zemo, with a replica of Captain America's shield. And a big, honking sword.

I'm not sure if this fits entirely with current continuity: towards the end of World War II, the original Baron Zemo launched the rocket that Captain America and Bucky tried to stop, leading to Cap being frozen and Bucky's death. (Until the Winter Soldier story...) The way the costume is displayed, it's strongly implied it's from Bucky's corpse; but I suppose if that had been the case, Zemo would've had his corpse in there too.

Icing on the cake: this was a good issue, but it also was one of Marvel's 100-Page Monsters, with reprints of "the criminal career of Hawkeye!" and Luke Cage versus Erik Josten (aka Goliath, or Atlas) for the name Power Man.

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