After making a dynamic entrance back into the lives of some old friends, Songbird asks those same friends to help her out. MACH IV (or V) and Fixer have been trying to stay out of the way of Norman Osborn and his crusade, but their association with Songbird just might bring trouble back to their doorstep.
Diggle's story of villains and double-crosses, even secret-double-crossed double-crossers feels a lot more lively and believable due to his knack for dialog and knowing what setting to drop those dialogues into. Headsman's conversation and scrap with Mister X is just a well-executed as the considerably more discreet conversation between Melissa Gold and Abe Jenkins.
Sepulveda's photo-influenced (but not heavy-handedly traced) figures are deftly shaded to give them a sense of sneaking about in the shadows. Sepulveda and Frank Martin make the visual tone of the book meld nicely with Diggle's story, adding a visible layer of deceit, through the heavy use of shadows and background. Scenes with talking heads and critical dialogue see the backgrounds drop out, making the figures that much more important.
I haven't been the biggest fan of "Thunderbolts" as I never really cared much for any of the characters, save Songbird. Songbird's appearance on the cover, combined with the rumblings I've been hearing about this book, inspired me to give it a go and I'm glad I did. This book defines how a ragtag bunch of killers, thugs, mugs, and miscreants might truly interact, especially if they were assembled by a sociopathic loon like Osborn.
The ending of this issue has a major spoiler that addresses fans' concerns over one of the main characters in this title of late, and it also sets the stage for a whole lot of fireworks to come in "Thunderbolts". I may not have been much of a fan before this issue, but this issue has me hooked. I look forward to seeing what this title might evolve into during Norman Osborn's "Dark Reign" over the Marvel Universe.