- Back in the day we had a lavish training area...and now we practice in a seagull toilet. Awesome.
- -- Moonstone
Appearing in "The Boss"
- Luke Cage (Main story and flashback)
- Songbird (Melissa Gold) (Rejoins Team)
- MACH-V (Abe Jenkins) (First appearance as MACH-V) (Rejoins Team)
- Moonstone (Karla Sofen) (Rejoins Team)
- Fixer (Norbert Ebersol) (Rejoins Team)
- Juggernaut (Cain Marko) (Joins team)
- Man-Thing (Ted Sallis) (Joins team)
- Crossbones (Brock Rumlow) (Joins team)
- Titania (Mary MacPherran)
- unnamed warden
- unnamed marshall
Synopsis for "The Boss"
Luke Cage has arrived at The Raft penitentiary, via hovercraft. But instead of letting a transport bring him to the prison, he instead leaps off, passing through the protective prison shield, which allows him to pass through. Apparently, Captain Steve Rogers had appointed Cage to assemble a new team of Thunderbolts to prevent any opportunistic individuals like Norman Osborn from ever putting up another death squad. He meets Fixer, who directs him to the Ghost, without his intangibility suit. Given that he attempted to assassinate Iron Man and turned against Osborn during the Siege of Asgard, then he'd be an ideal candidate for the Thunderbolts. Because Ghost apparently can't speak without his mask, Cage takes it out of his bag and hands it to him. Ghost then accepts membership in the Thunderbolts and again and swears to not even kill Iron Man should they meet.
Moving on to the women's section, where Songbird is the warden, Cage's next recruit is Moonstone. Songbird is opposed to having Moonstone on the team again, for her last time, it failed to rehabilitate her. Annoyed, Cage reads to Songbird to her old file as Screaming Mimi.
The third candidate is the Juggernaut, who is affiliated with or runs afoul of the X-Men. Professor X himself encouraged picking his half-brother and promises to take full responsibility should anything go wrong. The Juggernaut, eager to get out of his cell, promises to do whatever Cage says.
The fourth person is Crossbones, whom Cage was opposed to recruiting, for he was the one who killed Rogers in the first place. However, his government advisers reason that having Crossbones will gravitate the rest of the Thunderbolts to Cage.
MACH-V takes Cage several levels below sea level to meet with Henry Pym to discuss the Thunderbolts' means of global transportation, something better than the Quinjet or Zeus: Man-Thing. The reasons why is because the creature can teleport through 'the nexus of realities' and that ability will spare him from being executed for a few deaths the creature had caused over the years; Pym sees it as a one-of-a-kind lifeform that is worth protecting. He warns Cage that Man-Thing can sense when people are afraid. If Cage shows fear, then the creature would excrete a caustic chemical that would even irritate his unbreakable skin. Cage then asks Man-Thing if they can cooperate, holding out his arm. Man-Thing grasps it with his own. Since Cage feels no pain, it is apparent that Man-Thing agrees.
The Thunderbolts, minus Man-Thing, are taken to the shores of The Raft to do so training exercises. Cage, standing on a boulder, tells his team that the things they will be doing are for the greater good. Then suddenly, he is interrupted when a high frequency sonic blast knocks him off the rock. A ship then rises from the water. Emerging from it is Baron Zemo, who declares that he will take leadership of the Thunderbolts.
THE HEROIC AGE IS HERE! The new era for Marvel’s always-evolving, always controversial team kicks off here! It’s a beginning, a return, a departure, and an arrival of a new artist (MARVEL ZOMBIES 3 & 4’s Kev Walker) all rolled into one in a fresh, shocking status quo! The most dangerous people on Earth are now all in one hellish prison, and the only way out is through rehabilitation and contribution to society via The Thunderbolts...under the leadership of the steel-hard-skinned Avenger named Luke Cage! So bring on the first participants: Juggernaut! Crossbones! Ghost! Moonstone! And…Man-Thing? Against the sordid recent history of the group as a black ops kill squad, can Power Man restore the Thunderbolts to their rightful potential? Find out as the entire series is revamped, and also discover why ComicsBulletin.com says: "Jeff Parker writes villains with his typical panache...This is why I read comic books."
- This issue is reprinted in the trade paperback Thunderbolts: Cage.
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