It dawned on me after yesterday's post on Thunderbolt, that I had never actually gotten around to reviewing the new series from Dynamite Comics. Let me amend that oversight right now.
First, let me say that I'm happy that Thunderbolt in some form is still with us and being published by anyone. T-Bolt in the right hands is a compelling character. But alas, I have to say that the modern version of Thunderbolt falls somewhat short of what I expect. It's an impossibly high bar I've set for this classic series by the late great Pete Morisi. I think of the original Charlton series as a finely crafted jewel, and later attempts to translate the hero often don't fall short on craftsmanship as much as they do on focus.
The modern comic book reader, fed a steady diet of bombast through constant high-energy event-driven comics, is likely to find the quiet and refreshing flavor of a reflective Thunderbolt tale not to their liking. So Peter Cannon must be pushed into a broader and noisier playing field of world-beating menaces.
What is ironic about the core storyline of the new Dynamite series is that the writer took his influence from the original series, which on its face is a good start, but alas he took special note of an issue of Thunderbolt not produced by P.A.M. himself. Morisi was meticulous and sometimes slow, so to fill in the publishing schedule, editor Dick Giordano would tap other talents, in particular Pat Boyette to fill in. In one of the fill-in issues by Boyette Peter Cannon uses his mind powers in a way somewhat differently than Morisi had used them, he projects an illusion of a dragon to terrify his opponents, an illusion so strong it not only debilitates T-Bolt, but almost seems to become corporeal. It's neat gag, but really not sound T-Bolt.
It's this aspect of Thunderbolt's legend the new creators latched onto to forge their first sprawling storyline. That's fine, but alas despite some decent craftsmanship, I have decided to give this series a pass. I did pick up the debut issue which was enhanced by publishing after many years Pete Morisi's last Thunderbolt story, a tale crafted for DC Comics many years ago but sadly never used. I have to confess that despite my nostalgic appreciation for Morisi's work, this story was relatively unremarkable and was of interest mostly because of its historical significance in that a great creator revisited after many years his most famous creation.
So in the final analysis, I don't necessarily recommend the Thunderbolt series from Dynamite Comics, though I would say every Thunderbolt fan needs to get hold of first issue if only to say a fond farewell to the great P.A.M.