"Thunderbolts" #7 from Daniel Way and Phil Noto is a generic issue where some minor plot developments are teased, some relatively cool moments are delivered and the overall progression of the book is pushed maybe one plot point forward. This is the kind of trade-waiting writing that drives fans nuts. The covert team of superheroes assembled decide they want more information from Red Hulk, their leader, so they go about obtaining it.
This issue is pleasing at times because it's interesting and it holds the reader's attention, but not much really happens. There are some well-played interpersonal moments between the team members -- Way uses interaction to build drama -- but not much is actually presented. The bizarre three-way collision of different kinds of crazy between Deadpool, the Punisher and Elektra is well constructed but not enough is done with it. It's all minute teases that may add up to more in the future, but for now they're possibly too subtle.
The team's desire for real information from Red Hulk comes at the perfect time, so the information can also be relayed to the reader for a final page cliffhanger reveal. The entire ordeal of the team wanting to mutiny and the fight that ensues isn't worth much by the end and feels like filler. It's a shame when the motivations of the characters feel more like a delivery method for plot information rather than genuine dramatic conflict and character moments.
Phil Noto's work builds well from the world Steve Dillon established on this title. Noto brings such clean expression to the characters that they seem to come to life more than their dialogue allows. Elektra, as drawn by Noto, is strong and gorgeous, but her dialogue is too verbose for the character. Noto's storytelling is effective and the colors from Guru eFX bring each of his characters to life.
"Thunderbolts" #7 is an issue without focus. Everything feels like treading water until the final reveal, after which a fight can ensue in the next issue. Many of the characters are written a little off, like Elektra or Deadpool, or are just plain underused, like Venom. This isn't bad so much as it is ultimately forgettable, which even the great artwork from Phil Noto can't save. No issue should feel only like a bridge between two other issues, it should stand on its own in some way.