Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt #1
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Caspar Wijngaard
Colorist: Mary Safro
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
A review by Brendan Hykes
Is it possible to talk about Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt, without first talking about Watchmen? Probably, but I’m not going to try here. Most Watchmen fans are aware that the story was originally supposed to feature DC’s (at the time) newly acquired stable of Charlton heroes, Peter Cannon included. When the decision was made to create new characters for the story, Peter Cannon became Ozymandias, and we all know how that worked out.
Now Kieron Gillen is tackling the original. He’s obviously aware of that history, and more than willing to use it to his advantage to play with reader expectations. But what he’s created is a wholly original and compelling story.
The issue opens in the midst of a devastating alien attack. Super powered agents from several countries, normally not on great terms with each other, have come to enlist Peter Cannon’s aid in stopping the invasion. Peter agrees to help, and the obligatory battle ensues. But Peter is certain there’s more going o under the surface.
Like I said, Kieron uses the character’s history to his advantage, particularly with the final page, which I won’t spoil. That doesn’t mean you need to be familiar with Watchmen in any way to enjoy this book. The storytelling is bold and grandiose. The issue opens with five splash pages, comprising a fanfare, a dramatic entrance for the story to come. Those five pages are immediately followed by the ubiquitous nine-panel grid, which the takes the first real moment of action in the book and slows it down, letting the reader into Peter Cannon’s head just a little bit.
The story is rich and well-populated. The cast of secondary characters is just as interesting as the main character. This is in large part to the superb designs from artist Caspar Wijngaard, who brings a slight pop aesthetic to the book. He has a strong attention to detail, the alien designs are just as cool as the heroes fighting them. Mary Safro’s colors serve the art well, contrasting the brightness of the heroes with the darkness of the destruction around them as they beat back the invasion. And Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou’s letters are on point as always, expressive without ever being obtrusive.
Verdict: Buy It!
This is about as good a first issue as you’ll find, it’s an exciting story on its own, while setting up a much greater plot to come. The art is fantastic, the storytelling is clever and engaging. Well worth checking out!