Warning: The following contains spoilers for Fantastic four # 35, now on sale from Marvel Comics.
The Thunderstorms are a unique Marvel Superhero team, consisting of current or former Supervillains. This group initially started posing as superheroes, leaving the public happily aware of their criminal backgrounds. In the Fantastic four # 35 (by Dan Slott, John Romita Jr., JP Mayer, Scott Hanna, Cam Smith, Rafael Fonteriz, Mark Morales, Marte Gracia, Erick Arcinega and VC Joe Caramagna), the Fantastic Four are revealed to be the first heroes to discover the original Thunderbolts’ true identities.
The world’s greatest superheroes and original Thunderbolts are brought together during a wild time travel adventure, orchestrated by Kang the Conqueror in the its time variants. Each of these variants takes part in a hunt for the mysterious Warlord’s Prize, hidden across various points in the timeline. Each of these time signs is also inhabited by different versions of the Fantastic Four.
The variant that kills the Fantastic Four in the most brutal way wins the Warlord’s Prize. With all of this in mind, Scarlet Centurion makes a stop on the way, taking the Thunderbolts shortly after their formation. Scarlet Centurion then pits the Thunderbolts and the Fantastic Four.
As an incentive, Scarlet Centurion also reveals to the Fantastic Four that the Thunderbolts really are Masters of Evil and disguise. This makes it very easy for the heroes to deduce all the correct identities. The leader of the Thunderbolts, Baron Zemo, can not have this, so he orders the Thunderbolts to kill the First Family.
This forgotten time travel adventure technically makes the Fantastic Four the first to identify the thunderbolts that were originally discovered in 1997 Thunderstorms # 1 (by Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley, Vince Russell, Joe Rosas, Comicraft, Dave Lanphear and Oscar Gongorra).
At this point, it was revealed that the Thunderbolts were indeed veterans of the Masters of Evil, including Baron Zemo, Songbird, the Fixer, the Beetle, the Moonstone and the Goliath. Zemo disappeared from the Avengers and Fantastic Four at the end of “Attack“Crossover event, fooling the world into trusting his group of evil. These Thunderbolts also have a very specific connection to the Fantastic Four.
In the absence of Marvel’s First Family, the Thunderbolts Four Freedoms Plaza, the former seat of the Fantastic Four, became a temporary base of operations. This is a driving factor in the conflict between the Fantastic Four and the Thunderbolts Fantastic four # 35, as the Scarlet Centurion informs the Fantastic Four of their post- “Onslaught” future.
Until 1998’s Thunderstorms # 12 (by Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley, Vince Russell, Scott Hanna, Larry Mahlstedt, Greg Adams, Joe Rosas, Richard Starkings, Comicraft and Dave Lanphear), most of Zemo’s team voted against him to remain heroes . This is repeated here in her fight with the Fantastic Four, as Songbird tries with the Invisible woman.
The former screaming Mimi insists that the Thunderbolts are doing really well in the world. During the fight, the Fantastic Four and Thunderbolts almost come to a standstill, showing that they were not a purely malicious group. Still, not all of the Thunderbolts were altruistic heroes at the time, so the battle with the Fantastic Four continued until Scarlet Centurion leveled the ground on which they had fought.
It’s interesting to see the Fantastic Four interact with the Thunderbolts at such an early stage in their superhero career. When the mystery came out, the established heroes did not hesitate to attack the former Masters of Evil, which is quite understandable given their vicious story in the Marvel universe.
The reactions of the Fantastic Four also speak to the shocking truth of the Thunderbolts, who imagined themselves as heroes in a time of darkness when there were not many. At the end of the story, however, the VAT has reimbursed all the damage caused in the timeline. This eventually allows the Fantastic Four to make their shocking discovery at a later date.
Iron Man’s mission to stop Korvac begins to take a fatal toll
About the Author