"How to Lose" (2003/03/01)
"Bare Knuckles" Thunderbolts 76 (March 2003)
"How to Lose" Thunderbolts 77 (April 2003)
"How Does It Feel?" Thunderbolts 78 (May 2003)
"Play the Odds" Thunderbolts 79 (June 2003)
"Getting Even" Thunderbolts 80 (July 2003)
"Getting Even More!" Thunderbolts 81 (August 2003)
Reprinted in Thunderbolts: How To Lose
Reader Rating: Average; Thunderbolts Interest: Medium
Summary: Meet Axum (alias The Battler), third-tier super-villain, paroled after three years in prison. Struggling to go straight, Axum is roped into an underground super-villain fight club. His success brings big financial rewards along with difficult ethical quandaries. When Man-Killer is invited to join the fight club, she uses the opportunity to rope Axum into joining her in an attack against Spider-Man. What's a mostly-reformed super-villain to do?
Man-Killer's associates are Mac Gargan (The Scorpion) and the assassin called Delilah. Axum's first victim in the ring is The Armadillo. Spider-Man appears in a brief and funny skirmish with Man-Killer.
Continuity: Katrina is back in her armor, claiming that she needs it to stay alive. Her name is consistently spelled "Van Horne". She claims that she no longer wants to be called "Man-Killer" (although the alternative is her real name, not "Amazon".) The first four installments really have nothing to do with Man-Killer or the T-Bolts, but I have included them here for completeness of the series run. Mac seems to be in the middle of a romance with Delilah, but there's nothing lasting about it.
Comments: Zemo and company were booted out of their own comic to make room for this, and I really wanted to hate it. But I can't, quite. Axum is a compelling character, and the first four chapters are pretty strong, despite the predictable and trite plotting and the slimy supporting cast. The two Man-Killer chapters are much weaker, and may have rushed to a conclusion due to the series' (unsurprising) quick cancelation. Fransisco Ruiz Velasco provides stylized art that suits the bloody goings-ons. It's all competently executed, but why would anyone think that fans of the real Thunderbolts would want to read it!? Idiots.
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This page was revised on April 5, 2009
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