Thunderbolts: when the villain becomes a hero (but not too much)

Thunderbolts: when the villain becomes a hero (but not too much)


The future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, after the events of Avengers: Endgame, has lost its positive dimension, leaving the emergence of a society that has heavily suffered from the events related to Thanos' crusade. The sacrifice of Tony Stark and the understandable choice of Steve Rogers have left the superhero community of the franchise devoid of reference points, at a time when social tensions and a complex resumption of a normalcy have led to a radical change in the perception of superheroes. From the birth of revolutionary movements, such as the Flag Smasher of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, to the radical change of mission of Damage Control, from being a support body to a research and control agency for metahumans, the legacy of Avengers: Endgame is therefore a world in search of new reference figures, far from the superhero idea we were used to during the Avengers saga, turning our gaze towards a different concept of hero, creating the ideal conditions to introduce the Thunderbolts.

Subscribe now to Disney + for € 8.99 per month or € 89.90 per year The announcement of the film dedicated to the Marvel Universe antihero team was recently given, during the last edition of D23 Expo, an occasion in which the formation of the version of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was unveiled. A revelation that, in hindsight, was predictable, thinking back to how the path for the formation of this team had been traced for some time, exploiting in particular the serial soul of the franchise. Phase Four was essential in giving birth to the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Thunderbolts, but this genesis mirrors their comics origin.

Thunderbolts, the black ops team of the House of Ideas conquers the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Thunderbolts, the heroes for a world without heroes The importance of Thunderbolts in the Marvel Universe The Thunderbolts in Marvel Cinematic Universe

Thunderbolts, the heroes for a world without heroes

The birth of the Thunderbolts is linked to one of the most intense moments of the Marvel Universe of the late 90s, the event known as Onslaught. Linked to the mutant world, which at that time was the driving force of the universe of the House of Ideas, in this maxi-event the Marvelian superhero context was deeply disturbed, due to the disappearance of some of the most important faces, such as the Avengers, who were declared dead at the conclusion of Onslaught.

Orphan of this superhero lineup, the Marvel Universe was still ready to welcome a new team of heroes, which appeared in January 1997 in The Incredible Hulk (story by Peter David and art by Mike Deodato) . Initially intended to be a temporary team, this unnamed group was then transformed into the first appearance of the new Marvel super team, with a creation and development operation that became the history of the superhero comic. Revealing no names or identities, this lineup got its baptism of fire in April 1997, when in the first issue of Thunderbolts, revealing to readers that in reality these alleged heroes were none other than the Masters of Evil, the coven of villains led by the Barone Zemo.

The true origins of the Thunderbolts go back to when I lived in New Jersey and drove to my parents in New England. To stay awake, I assigned myself volumes to write, working over a time horizon of two or three years. On a trip, I assigned myself the Avengers, and I had the idea that in the end the Masters of Evil hatched a plan that would eventually allow them to beat them by presenting themselves to the world as new heroes, supplanting the Avengers. At the time I thought it was an intriguing story and I kept it

A team with a mysterious past that was revealed with a twist: the Masters of Evil actually made up this team. An implication that became epochal for the Marvel world, not only because villains were made protagonists of their own saga, but above all because those who were always considered the 'bad guys' showed the intention of wanting to redeem themselves.

The importance of Thunderbolts in the Marvel Universe

Central to this representation of the Thunderbolts was the presence of a conflictual dynamic within the team itself. Where we have seen figures with a criminal past seeking sincere redemption in this new life as a hero, other personalities see the opportunity to operate their machinations in a subtle way. A complex and lively dynamic that has characterized the adventures of the Thunderbolts, in which tensions have developed not only between the members of the group, but also with the rest of the superhero community, which especially after the return of legendary figures such as the Avengers and Fantastic Four

The point of contact between the cinematic dimension of the Thunderbolts and their paper origin can be traced back to the moment in which, in the comics of the House of Ideas, the American government reassembled the team after the events of Civil War, making the Thunderbolts an operational squad to be used against superheroes opposing the Registration Act. Led again by Baron Zemo, soon the aims of Captain America's nemesis led him to be removed, leaving his place to be taken by Norman Osborn, who thanks to his leadership role managed at the height of the events of Secret Invasion to become the new hero of the Americans.

Even during subsequent versions of the supergroup, including those led by Luke Cage and Thaddeus 'Red Hulk' Ross, the role of the Thunderbolts always seems to have been far from that path of redemption that it was ideally at the origins of the training. The latest incarnation of the group has certainly not changed this view, considering that the Thunderbolts were used by Wilson Fisk, mayor of New York, as a tool during his personal crusade against the superheroes of the Big Apple during the events of Devil's Reign. br>

The Thunderbolts in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

The narrative root of the Thunderbolts in the Marvel Universe is also preserved in the transition to the cinematic dimension of the heroes of the House of Ideas. The consequences of the events of Avengers: Endgame have left us with a world that has a different perception of heroes, who have become fallible and therefore deprived of the veneration of the common man, who after the events of the Blip seems to be looking for a new security, not more guaranteed by the 'traditional' superheroes. We saw it in the desperate acceptance of Mysterio in Spider-Man: Far From Hom and or in the birth of the Flag Smasher in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, evidence of how the absence of reference figures such as Iron Man and Captain America allowed the birth. of a new social dimension of the superhero world. In this new social order (it is no coincidence that the next film on Cap will be Captain America: New World Order), the conditions are created for the birth of new energies, such as the new criminal identity of Sharon Carter, who has become a Power Broker, or the creation of a secret team of outsiders that can take charge of black ops that are precluded from other heroes.

An ideal time, therefore, to introduce the Thunderbolts to the Marvel Cineamtic Universe, always characterized by belonging to a gray area of ​​Marvel's morality. What to do when heroic deeds cannot be the solution, but you need someone who agrees to take necessary actions, even if they are morally wrong? In the current conditions of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially in events of 'earthly' significance, this new balance is implied on several occasions, from the ending of Black Widow to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

It is therefore not surprising that the Thunderbolts line-up that will debut at the cinema is composed of a series of characters who certainly need a new opportunity, not only to free themselves from a life lived as a villiain, but also to find a new opportunity to try to do the 'right thing' . John Walker (Wyatt Russell) after the events of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was enlisted by Countess Valentina Allegra de Fontaine for a secret team of her, to which Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) had already been invited at the end of Black Widow. It will be interesting to find out how Bucky Barnes and former villains Ava Starr (aka Ghost) and Antonia Dreykov (aka Taskmaster) will be involved, but this could be revealed in the first act of the future Marvel Cinematic Universe film.

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