T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Classics Vol. 4

Writer / Artist
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Classics Vol. 4
Alternative editions:
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Classics Vol. 4 review
Alternative editions:
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: IDW - 978-1-63140-084-1
  • Volume No.: 4
  • Release date: 2005
  • UPC: 9781631400841
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no
  • CATEGORIES: Superhero

Whether in this paperback edition or in the hardcover T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Archives Volume Four, this is the weakest of the run, including only the single reprint of the team title. The book is bulked out with another run of solo Dynamo, and the only two issues of Noman’s solo series.

On the face of it, Noman should have been a solo success, as the background concept remains strong. He’s seventy year old scientist Anthony Dunn, who transferred his consciousness into an android body he designed to prevent his death. Back-up bodies were manufactured, and Dunn can switch his intelligence between them, only the body he’s occupying being capable of movement. Referred to as Noman, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. also equipped him with an invisibility cloak they’ve been unable to duplicate, so it’s only used by the primary body, risking being lost when Dunn has to transfer his intelligence.

His stories for the main title are readable with the occasional good twist, but ill-served by the lack of style or grace to John Giunta’s art. Unfortunately, in his solo stories Chic Stone and Ogden Whitney (sample art left) are no better, producing page after page of dull superhero art, although there is novelty in plots such as Noman heading to the past. It might be thought that the opener drawn by Gil Kane would provide relief, but Paul Reinman’s inking sucks all the dynamism from it, and a later story entirely drawn by Reinman is even uglier.

Ordinarily the artistic saving grace of any T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents collection is plenty of pages drawn by Wally Wood. Not this one! There’s one Dynamo solo where he shares the pencilling with Stone, and plenty of work in Wood’s style by Dan Adkins, some even inked by Wood (sample art right), but it’s an unsatisfying substitute.

As ever, Ralph Reese supplies some inventive plots, although many of the better stories are missing a writer credit, but the art being such a strong foundation for the series as a whole, means this is a massively substandard selection. Let’s hope for better in Vol. 5.