Reader Rating: Excellent; Thunderbolts Interest: Extreme
Summary: A series of vignettes finds each of the Thunderbolts-to-be shortly before the dawn of the Marvel Age.
Bert makes his first appearance as The Fixer, where he encounters Hydra goons and Namor, the Sub-Mariner.
Razzed at school because her mother is in jail, and abused by her depressed and drunken father, Melissa flees home.† She begins a life on the streets and takes Mimi as her own name.
The latest rejection of his designs by his bosses convinces Abe that the time has come to do something dramatic; he begins sketching his Beetle armor.
Erik is working for Baron Heinrich Zemo.
Karla attends a lecture by Dr. Leonard Samson (later Doc Samson) and uses her manipulative skills to further her young private practice in psychiatry.
Young Hallie and her parents, newly arrived in New York, watch a storm brewing outside.
Helmut Zemo is summoned to South America for his first meeting with his father since their separation late in World War II. Heinrich recounts the 1943 encounter during which he strangled the original Citizen V to death. Heinrich reveals that he has kept himself youthful through the use of one of his inventions, Compound X, and Helmut begins using the elixir.
Continuity: Part of Marvelís "Flashback" series, this story
was published in 1997 but is set in í62, with a further flashback to 1943.
Helmut's comments suggest that his "mother" has recently died, and Heinrich complains of his son's soft upbringing. Assume that they are talking about a woman who raised Helmut following the War, and who Helmut has come to think of as his "mother."
Erik meets Helmut for the first time. Helmut returns to the U.S. shortly after these scenes.
After some time working for Hydra, the Fixer is hired by an organization that he knows only as "Them." While working for "Them," Bert is captured by authorities and imprisoned.
Melissa lives a rough life on the streets until, eventually, she falls for a guy named Mike. Mike takes decent care of Melissa until he gets in a jam with police and frames Melissa for his thefts. Melissa goes to prison where she meets Marion Pouncy, Poundcakes, who invites Melissa to join the team of professional women wrestlers called The Grapplers. When The Grapplers get cybernetically enhanced, so does Melissa, transforming her into Screaming Mimi. Source: Flashback from "Decisions Part 2: Trust", Thunderbolts 21 (1998/11/01).
Karla develops some notoriety in the psychiatric profession, causing a stir at "the Utrecht conference." Realizing that she is more interested in manipulating people than in helping them, Karla is intrigued by Dr. Faustusí unique powers of vocal persuasion. Karla becomes an associate of Faustusí, serving as his moll and mistress, to learn how he operates. Source: Reference from "The Moonstone is a Harsh Mistress," Incredible Hulk 229 (1978/10/01); Flashback from "By the Light of the Silvery Moonstone...!", Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man 61 (1981/12/01)
Hallie's childhood is essentially normal, except for the keen interest that she develops in superheroes. Source: Flashback from "Ogres in the Shadows", Thunderbolts 33 (1999/12/01)
Comments: Short on plot but long on characterization, this dynamically drawn piece servers as an anchor for Thunderbolts continuity, because the T-Boltsí personalities are muddied by the number of authors telling stories that fall chronologically between this and the forming of the team.
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This page was revised on December 31, 2004
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