Characters Appearing: Baron Zemo (Heinrich), Baron Zemo (Helmut), Beetle, Doc Samson, Erik Josten, Fixer, Jolt, Moonstone (Karla Sofen), Songbird (Screaming Mimi), Sub-Mariner
Issue(s): Thunderbolts #-1
Review/plot: Heinrich Zemo teaches his newly reacquainted son Helmut about power by telling the story of how he killed the original Citizen V and by killing some South American natives.
Karla Soften builds her psychiatric practice by screwing with her patients heads (also her eyes glaze over when listening to a lecture on the subject of patient trust by Dr. Leonard Samson). Twelve year old Melissa Gold runs away from her abusive father and the town that hates her because her mom's in jail.
Abner Jenkins's engineering plans are rejected once again...
...so he starts designing a suit of battle armor. The Fixer manipulates Hydra into letting him join up with them. Hydra is after the amnesiac Sub-Mariner, in a plot similar to that which the Yellow Claw attempted in Marvel: The Lost Generation.
This issue has everything that i liked about the original Thunderbolts concept before all that 'redemption' stuff: it's about bad guys being bad guys. At a few pages per villain, it does a better job delving into these character's motivations than all their appearances in the 60s.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Sub-Mariner is still amnesiac. Hydra seems a lot more "together" than they were in UTOS -1, but they are still small enough that they are willing to bring in an outsider. No super heroes appear. This story doesn't "reveal" anything relevant to the ongoing Thunderbolt series and doesn't have any bookends in modern times, so it works fine as a stand-alone issue in the Hero Gap.
Continuity Insert? Y
My Reprint: N/A
Someone feel free to correct me if I'm forgetting one but I think this is hands down the best of the Flashback issues. Thunderbolts was still pretty new at the time and was probably Marvel's best title.
Posted by: Robert | February 3, 2016 5:00 AM
X-Man -1 was also a good one but most people hate that character/series so it's probably not for you. It was one of the most useful/beneficial -1 issues since it told the character's origin story which hadn't been properly done yet outside of brief flashbacks.
Posted by: AF | February 3, 2016 6:49 AM
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