The new Thunderbolts roster is losing members left and right on their very first day, and one ex-member is setting himself up for a confrontation.
WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Thunderbolts #1 by Matthew Rosenberg, Juan Ferreyra, and VC’s Joe Sabino, on sale now.
Marvel’s King in Black has seen the Earth itself fall to Knull’s near-endless swarm of symbiote dragons. With a shroud of living darkness blacking out the skies worldwide, any and everyone who is left has either gone into hiding or is looking to throw themselves into the fray, including the worse that the Marvel Universe has to offer. Things being what they are, even Wilson Fisk is doing what he can to stave off the waves of symbiotes stalking his city’s streets. The former Kingpin has taken it upon himself to reform the Thunderbolts, but doing so has put him on track for a violent confrontation with the strongest member of his new team.
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In his office, Fisk explains the situation to the villains gathered, ones who have been operating on his turf without his permission. He offers them the chance to be heroes for once in their lives, or the opportunity to wait for Knull to find them from inside of a prison cell. D-list villain Incendiary decides that, from what he’s seen happening outside, he’d rather take his chances in a cage. Fisk allows for himself to be taken into custody by the officers waiting nearby. Ampere is the next to speak up, but an ominous gunshot ringing out from the hallway, followed by Fisk implying that leaving the team will have similar consequences puts him back in his chair. Finally, the new Thunderbolts are assembled, and if they can survive what they’re headed into, their benevolent mayor will make them all filthy rich.
What waits for them outside is no walk in the park, though. It doesn’t take long for them to be attacked by one of Knull’s dragons, which swoops down and snaps its jaws around Snakehead, biting her in half before the others can even process what has happened. The team scrambles to takes the beast down, and Star expends most of her energy to blast the dragon’s head off. After watching their teleporter get devoured and their heaviest hitter faint from exhaustion, Ampere lets the others know that he is leaving.
Taskmaster tries to talk him into staying, but Ampere’s mind is made up, so Mister Fear takes matters into his own hands and stabs the deserter through the back. With Ampere dead, his weaponized tech is up for grabs, which Fear goes for in an instant. Taskmaster, still trying to play the role of the steadfast leader, puts his foot down, stating that anyone else who wants to quit will have to go through him first. Rhino, towering over Taskmaster, tilts the latter’s head back with a single finger to let him know he’s going to go, which Taskmaster is more than happy to allow.
Star is surprised that Taskmaster is so willing to let Rhino walk away, but even the world’s greatest combatant knows he will never win that fight, though Wilson Fisk might. The former Kingpin has already proven that he isn’t willing to let anyone walk away from his team, and he will surely be looking for Rhino if and when things return to normal. Fisk isn’t known for letting things go, or for people blowing him off, so it’s all but assured that there is going to be a confrontation between the two of them if they both survive the events of King in Black.
Rhino might be the strongest and most physically intimidating of Spider-Man’s foes, but Wilson Fisk is more than capable of going toe to toe with some of the greatest fighters the world has to offer. Assuming neither of the villains loses their lives anytime soon, fans could have a whole new kind of grudge match to look forward to in the near future.
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