THUNDER Agents Volume #4

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TA_ClassicV4-coverIf vintage is your lane, then come take a stroll along this one. IDW comics presents THUNDER AGENTS CLASSICS #4.

Prepare to familiarize yourself with another group of super-powered humans. Despite faint resemblances to other familiar superheroes, they still have distinct powers and personalities to be their own group. If you surmised that T.H.U.N.D.E.R. must be an acronym, then you surmised correctly for it stands for The Higher United Nations Defense Enforcement Reserves.

From just reading volume 4, it is uncertain where, or how, they defend the United Nations (or for them). The missions seem to be situated around various locations around United States. No one seems to be calling them either. The adventures usually happen coincidentally right in front of them or they just walk into a trap.

THUNDER AGENTS CLASS #4 contains the missions of NoMan (an android that is able to transfer his conscious mind to another body), Dynamo (who has a steel belt that grants him super strength), and Lightening (super fast like another character I know..). THUNDER agents were established in the 1960’s and have other notable heroes attached to them. A good source for some more background info can be found here.

One the most distinguishing note about the comic series was that it was drawn by Wallace Wood a.k.a Wally Wood. THUNDER Agents is my first introduction to this historic artist. Wally Wood was also known for establishing the red color for Daredevil and working for MAD magazine. What really tickled me was that Wood was really into science fiction and did some art for notable authors like Isaac Asimov and Philip K. Dick. These are just barely scratching the surface, his work is that prolific.

The more art to be drawn, the more shortcuts need to be taken in order to produce more work to get paid. Wally Wood was one of the few that admitted to tracing. There is a creed that has been connected to his name: Never draw what you can swipe/Never swipe what you can trace/Never trace what you can photocopy/Never photocopy what you can clip out and paste down. In addition to that credo, there is “Wally Wood’s 22 Panels That Always Work!! Or Some Interesting Ways to Get Some Variety Into Those Boring Panels Where Some Dumb Writer Has A Bunch of Lame Characters Sitting Around and Talking for Page After Page!”. Amusing title but after comparing the panels there to the panels in THUNDER Agents, I can see the panel techniques. Those same techniques are also very familiar in other comics I’ve read.

Out of the 20 stories in the volume, 13 are written by unknown authors. The remaining seven are credited to Steve Skeates (main notoriety is writing Aquaman).

This type of comics was not concerned with cliff hangers so each story is tied up very quickly (but often hastily). The fourth volume alone gave me no problems figuring out who the characters were (except for the story when Dynamo has a look alike. That was annoying to distinguish). Curiosity has me wondering what groovy gems are to be found in the previous issues.

The stories are not outdated by fashion or background but the consequences of the heroes’ actions. There were at least three stories where the villain trips/falls to their doom and the hero just shrugs or becomes distracted by a mini model of the Taj Mahal. Even so, the stories are definitely entertaining and fun. Fair warning, it is difficult to stop your eyes from traveling to the next adventurous story.

THUNDER Agents Volume #4 would be a great addition to a fan’s collection. It is also a great introduction for an unknowing reader like myself. Each story contains just enough about the heroes to get going but leaves enough mystery to ponder about their past.

THUNDER Agents Volume #4 will be released in August 2014 from IDW comics.

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