Direct Current 2.0
Week of September 9th, 2013
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents and Marriage oh my!
By Jim Durdan
Item 1: A few weeks ago IDM release the latest version of the classic T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents comic (Hereafter called Thunder Agents). IF you are not familiar with this wonderful title then you really need to find either the archive editions that DC published or check the back issue bins of your local comic shop.
The premise of the team is that they all have unique powers given to them by a piece of technology that they were. Be it super strength, the ability to fly, read minds and a few other powers. The down side is that every time they use the power they run the risk of killing themselves, because the tech in question is deadly over time. In one case the technology granted it’s user super speed, but at the cost of rapidly aging the wearer.
The creators of Thunder Agents read like a who’s who of comicdoms elite. They were created by Wally Wood and Len Brown. Over the years people like Gil Kane, Steve Ditko, George Perez, Jerry Ordway and a host of others have been part of the creative team that has make Thunder Agents one of the most overlooked classics of the silver and bronze age.
Originally Thunder Agents came from a small publisher, Tower Comics in the sixties and was a more or less hit or miss proposition. Months would go by without an issue being published. Eventually Tower would fold, and Thunder would, over the next 4 decades be published by a half a dozen companies, some maintaining the style and tone of the original comics, others only using the Characters as little more than chess pieces to tell a rather uninteresting story with an agenda (Solsons Productions rant on the Reagan era is something to read if you ever want to know how to NOT do a Thunder Agents book). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T.H.U.N.D.E.R._Agents
Eventually the property found its way to DC. Two miniseries were produced in 2010 and 2011. In general the feel of the series stayed true to the original Thunder Agents, but the tone of amazement and joy found in the original series were gone. I think in time DC might have been able to reinvent the team in a way that felt fresh without ignoring all that had gone before. Unfortunately we will never know. Retail sales just were not there, and DC either opted not to pursue a continuing licensing agreement or just cut its loses and released the license. Either way the latest version of the Agents is now at IDW and it’s a mixed bag at best.