Champion of the Overlooked.
Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt 1-12
I’ve decided to start looking at the little known, but quality comics that I’ve encountered through the years in an effort to highlight comics that aren’t getting their own film but are still worth a read.
Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt #1 was released in July 1992 and started off a 12 issue series featuring one of the Charlton characters bought by DC in the mid 1980’s, including The Question, Blue Beetle, Peacemaker, Captain Atom and Nightshade. Question and Blue Beetle got their own series and Captain Atom often featured Nightshade, even Peacemaker showed up here and there, but Thunderbolt was almost never seen.
The Charlton characters as a whole are probably best known as the inspiration behind the cast of Watchmen: Peacemaker – Comedian, Blue Beetle – Nite Owl, Question – Rorshach, Nightshade-Silk Spectre, Captain Atom – Dr Manhatten and Thunderbolt became Ozymandias.
Like the Quality characters and the Fawcett characters before them and the Archie/Red Circle characters after them, they were folded into DC’s continuity. Next to characters like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, Thunderbolt was easily overlooked. Eventually the rights returned to Pete Morisi (PAM) the original creator of Thunderbolt, but before that happened we got this little gem.
Released in 1992, it ran for 12 issues and tells the complete story, more or less, of Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt, from his birth in Tibet to his fall and to his triumphant rise. It was written and drawn by Michael Collins, who has a clean, crisp art style which suited the early 90’s which had yet to completely succumb to the excesses of style over substance and art driven gimmicks. Jose Marzan Jnr provides quality finishes on a very DC house style book, but not in a bad way. The comic is set in London, but has scenes in Eastern Europe, Tibet, China and the odd one in New York which makes it different from most DC characters, with them usually being based in one city. The comic’s use of regional accents and colloquialisms adds a touch of authenticity to the UK based scenes, although what that sounded like to Americans and others when it was read is a mystery.
The characters involved, Peter Cannon: The Thunderbolt, Tabu Singh: Friend and advisor to the Thunderbolt acts as Peter’s best friend and conscience, Cairo DeFrey: Love interest and femme fatale, DI Flint: London Meta Crimes Police, Anne-Marie Brogan: Imagine a young Lois Lane from Birmingham, Andreas Havoc: Embittered former friend of Peter and Johnny Wheeler: London gangster. All weaved together in several stories interlocking into one whole tale. There are more characters brought in and out as needed and all serve this multi-layered story about Cannon picking himself up and facing up to his destiny.
It’s a fun little series and well worth a look at. Well that’s just my opinion.