Thunderbolts has had a pretty unique history in comics. Not many books from the late 90's endured like T-bolts. Granted it's had some interruptions but still pretty impressive. I was a huge fan of early Thunderbolts, I consider the first 12 issues to be easily some of the best super hero comics to come out of the 90's. Also the book has gone through so many changes in tone and status quo. Super villains pretending to be heroes, fugitive villains seeking redemption, super villain fight club, just to name a few. If you had to assign a theme to T-Bolts, I suppose it would be one of redemption but it's pretty hard to assign anything to such a fluid book.
So this volume starts with General Thunderbolt Ross AKA Red Hulk recruiting the various members of this team. They are meant to be super hero strike squad. Although we see bits of Ross recruiting Deadpool, Venom, Elektra, and a mystery character, the meat of this issue focuses on Ross recruiting a reluctant Punisher. I'm not a huge fan of writer Daniel Way but he seems to really get these characters, especially Ross and Punisher. The back and forth between then turns out to be a solid and engaging character study for the both of them.
The art by Steve Dillon is pretty weak. I've talked before about how I just don't care for his work. It is said that a comic book artist is in one sense an 'actor' and Dillon is a terrible actor. Every character is so stiff, there is no dynamic sense of movement in how he poses them, and he seems to be capable of drawing a half a dozen facial expressions at the most. Dillon's weak art aside however this was a solid first issue and I'm looking forward to seeing where this book is going.
One more thing I want to talk about real quick. Marvel and DC always whine about how hard it is to bring in new readers. You want to know something that really confuses new readers, the damn numbering. This is T-bolts third number one. Avengers got it's 5th volume this week and I don't even know how many damn number ones Captain America has at this point. Having a small store I can tell you new readers have a hard time making heads or tails of it. Seriously Marvel, enough already.