The slow introduction of the new T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents continues with this issue as we meet the new Dynamo, a former special forces op who’s fallen on hard times after a private gig went south. He’s crude and obviously jaded by his experiences. And, if you believe the tease at the end of issue three, he’s also a spy for Spider. With that knowledge looming over this issue, there’s a sense of dread as Dynamo is sent in to rescue NoMan from Spider. The tension is increased by Nick Spencer’s expert pacing, jumping between three locations/times until the big cliffhanger at the end of the issue. It’s an issue of building suspense that pulls it off completely.
The issue begins in a somewhat unexpected way with George Perez illustrating the orientation video the new Dynamo watches. The continued use of guest artists to provide the art of ‘flashback’ type scenes is a good one and Spencer writes to Perez’s strengths, including asking for a two-page montage showing different groups of T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents throughout the year, capturing the looks of different comics eras and delivering some interesting designs that are based around some core elements, while adapting to the times. It lends a sense of history to the group that has been alluded to and seen somewhat with NoMan. What better artist to deliver two pages that you can pour over and wonder about the stories behind the characters?
The recruitment of the new Dynamo allows both Spencer and CAFU to show off their skills, particularly with Toby, the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents’ salesman. He shows great command of the situation, manipulating the target, Eric, into doing exactly what he wants. When Eric comes on to Colleen in a rude way, Toby’s seeming chivalrous gesture is dismissed by the salesman immediately as a tactic to get Eric to come around. The way that Toby almost laughs at Colleen for thinking he’d actually behave that way out of concern for her is a little surprising and lends some insight into the character. CAFU gets across Toby’s different approaches visually as he shifts from nervous hesitancy to rage to bemusement.
The pacing of the issue as it cuts from the recruitment to Dynamo breaking into Spider’s base to the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents headquarters where something has gone wrong. With the idea of Dynamo as a traitor firmly planted last issue, the race to the reveal at the end of the traitor is one that builds steadily with increased cuts between locations and times, and even more hints that Dynamo is about to betray the group. The reveal is pulled off masterfully, making issue five a must read.
“T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents” #4, like the three issues that preceded it, clicks on every level to create a dynamic, entertaining superhero comic. There is no reason not to read this comic, aside from hating well-crafted comics.