The definitive, chronological, and up-to-date guide on collecting Thunderbolts and Dark Avengers comic books via omnibuses, hardcovers, and trade paperback graphic novels. A part of Crushing Krisis’s Collecting Avengers: A Definitive Guide. Last updated November 2018 with titles scheduled for release through July 2019.
The Thunderbolts were a curious creation for Marvel, and its most-recent enduring property after 1991’s Deadpool. The team was introduced in early 1997, at a time when the Avengers and Fantastic Four had been banished to the Heroes Reborn pocket universe in the wake of Onslaught. Their absence left a super-team gap in the modern Marvel universe, which was obliging filled by the Thunderbolts.
The Thunderbolts were posed as a brand new super team not only in the Marvel Universe, but in the promotion around the new title. That made it all the more shocking when the end of the first issue revealed the do-good team to be the Masters of Evil masquerading behind newly made heroic identities! Fans flipped out, sales shot up, and Marvel had a new franchise on its hands.
After a brief hiatus in the early 2000s, the title returned and ran through the beginning of Marvel Now. However, it would twice detour its cast to a second title – Dark Avengers.
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- Thunderbolts, Vol. 1 by Busiek, Nicieza, and Arcudi (1997 – 2003)
- Avengers / Thunderbolts (2004)
- New Thunderbolts & Thunderbolts, Vol. 1 by Busiek & Nicieza (2005 – 2007)
- Thunderbolts, Vol. 1 by Warren Ellis with Christos Gage (2007 – 2008)
- Dark Avengers, Vol. 1 by Bendis & Deodato (2009 – 2010)
- Thunderbolts, Vol. 1 by Andy Diggle and Jeff Parker (2009 – 2012)
- Dark Avengers, Vol. 2 by Jeff Parker (2012 – 2013)
- Thunderbolts – Where Are They (in Marvel) Now?
- Marvel Now: Thunderbolts, Vol. 2 (2012 – 2015)
- All-New, All-Different Marvel: Thunderbolts, Vol. 3 (2016 – Present)
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Thunderbolts: Marvel’s Most Wanted
Collects many debut issues of original Thunderbolts members – The Avengers (1963) #21-22 (Goliath as Power Man and Baron Zemo, though not his debut), Captain America (1968) #168 (Zemo, again) & 192 (Moonstone), The Incredible Hulk (1968) #228-229 (more Moonstone), Marvel Two-In-One (1974) #54 (Songbird, as Screaming Mimi) & 56 (Giant Man), Strange Tales (1951) #123 (Beetle) & 141-143 (Fixer)
#1-4: Thunderbolts: Justice Like Lightning
Also collects The Incredible Hulk (1968) #449, Spider-Man Team-Up (1995) #7, Tales of the Marvel Universe (1997) #1
#1-5 & Annual 1997: Thunderbolts Classic, Vol. 1
Also collects The Incredible Hulk (1968) #449, Spider-Man Team-Up (1995) #7, Tales of the Marvel Universe (1997) #1, & Thunderbolts #-1 (also known as Thunderbolts: Distant Rumblings). Reprinted in 2016.
#22-37: Hawkeye & Thunderbolts, Vol. 1
Also collects Annual 2000 and Avengers Annual 2000
#38-50: Hawkeye & Thunderbolts, Vol. 2
Also collects Avengers #31-34
#42-44: Avengers/Thunderbolts: The Nefaria Protocols
Also collects Avengers #31-34
Citizen V and the V-Battalion (2001) #1-3: Not collected. Fits after #51 and before #55.
#51-58: Not collected
Citizen V and the V-Battalion: Everlasting (2002) #1-4: Not collected
#59-75: Not collected
Thunderbolts: Life Sentences
This uncollected 2001 one-shot takes places somewhere in the 50s.
From the Marvel Vault
The Thunderbolts one-shot in this collection takes place sometime after #59
#76-81: Thunderbolts: How to Lose
An unsuccessful relaunch of the book with a cast completely unrelated to the original book.
The core Thunderbolts made their return on year after the events of #75 in this mini-series starring Atlas, Baron Zemo, Blackheath, Citizen V, Fixer, Mach-3, Moonstone, and Songbird along with the core of the Avengers. Though it was released alongside Avengers Disassembled, It can be placed earlier, between Avengers #76-77.
The team relaunches in the wake of Avengers Disassembled with writers Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza.
#1-6: Vol. 1: One Step Forward
#7-12: Vol. 2: Modern Marvels
#13-18: Vol. 3: Right of Power
Also contains Thunderbolts #100, marking the transition back to the original title and numbering.
The title changes back to Thunderbolts and resumes the numbering of the combined Vol. 1 with New Thunderbolts.
#100: Collected above in Right of Power
#106-109: Thunderbolts: Guardian Protocols
Thunderbolts Presents: Zemo – Born Better
Collects the four-issue limited series that resolves Baron Zemo’s story after #108, as he is not featured in the next run.
Warren Ellis takes over as writer of the next 12 issues, radically altering the concept of the team as a group managed by Norman Osborn to track down unregistered superheroes. The team consisted of Moonstone, Bullseye, Penance, Radioactive Man, Songbird, Swordsman, and Venom. Due to some delays in the second half of his run, several one-shots and a limited series also run in this period.
#110-121: Thunderbolts by Warren Ellis & Mike Deodato Ultimate Collection
Also includes Civil War: The Initiative #1
Collects the five-issue limited series that fits between the two Ellis volumes.
Moon Knight #21-25: Vol. 4: The Death of Marc Spector
This brief excursion of the team occurs just after the Ellis arc – while Superhero Registration is still a hot-button issue prior to Secret Invasion. No Thunderbolts appear in #21. The collection also includes the Silent Knight one-shot. Available in hardcover.
Christos Gage briefly takes over writing duties after scripting the one-shots in the previous period.
#122-125: Vol. 3: Secret Invasion
Also collects the three Thunderbolts 2008 one-shots Breaking Point, International Incident, and Reason in Madness.
Secret Invasion: The Thunderbolts play a significant role in this event, and its conclusion radically changes their status quo. See Marvel Universe Events: Secret Invasion for more information.
Here the cast of Thunderbolts heads to Dark Avengers, with a new team taking over in the next issue of Thunderbolts.
The first issue of Dark Avengers proceeds directly from the final issue of the Secret Invasion event limited series. It ends concurrently with the end of the Siege event.
The Dark Avengers (in the comic, Norman Osborn’s Avengers) are a perversion of the Mighty Avengers lineup that hews closely to the original concept of Thunderbolts, with a variety of villains in the vintage costumes of the Avengers. That includes Wolverine (Daken), Ms. Marvel (Moonstone), Spider-Man (Venom), and Hawkeye (Bullseye) – plus Ares, Sentry, and Osborn as the Captain America and Iron Man mashup Iron Patriot.
This is a fast-paced, witty series that is as much about fights as it is the personalities of a team of villains in disguise. The psychologically unstable team has more personal issues to resolve than heroic ones, making for a delightfully nasty group dynamic. It was Marvel’s top-selling title for its duration, and for good reason – the superstar team of Brian M. Bendis and Mike Deodato helmed the series the entire time.
Issue one has been collected in several different volumes, as it’s a mostly standalone story of how Norman Osborn collects his team. See Marvel Universe Events: Dark Reign for other titles that accompanied Dark Avengers, including a mini-series for Aries.
Collected as oversized hardcovers (and Complete Collection paperbacks)…
Dark Avengers ”Omnibus” Oversized Hardcover (ISBN 078515650X)
Collects #1-6, 9-18, & Annual 1. It skips collecting issues #7-8, as they were part of a crossover almost as long as the Dark Avengers series itself! This was recollected as a paperback in 2018. Thus, you also should buy…
Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia Oversized Hardcover (ISBN 0785142339)
Collects Dark Avengers #7-8, Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Exodus & Utopia, Dark Reign: The Cabal, Dark X-Men: The Beginning #1-3 & The Confession, Uncanny X-Men #513-514, and X-Men Legacy #226-227.
Collected by storyline…
#7-8: Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia (ISBN 0785142347)
Collects Dark Avengers #7-8, Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Exodus & Utopia, Dark Reign: The Cabal, Dark X-Men: The Beginning #1-3 & The Confession, Uncanny X-Men #513-514, and X-Men Legacy #226-227. See above for hardcover.
See Marvel Universe Events: Siege for the oversize collection of Siege, which is the true end of the Dark Avengers series.
Norman Osborn next appears in the Osborn: Evil Incarcerated limited series.
collected as single issues…
#1: I Am An Avenger, Vol. 2 (ISBN 0785143610)
Collects modern Avengers debuts and joining issues, including The Avengers (1996) #1, The Avengers (1998) #1, 4, & 27, Dark Avengers (2009) #1, The Mighty Avengers (2007) #1 & 21, and New Avengers (2005) #3 & 15.
#1: Dark Reign: Accept Change (ISBN 0785141405)
Fills the story directly proceeding Secret Invasion. Includes Dark Avengers #1, Marvel Spotlight: Dark Reign, Secret Invasion, Dark Reign, Uncanny X-Men Annual 2 (2009), and Dark Reign Files & New Nation.
#1: Siege: Prelude (ISBN 0785143106)
Outlines the events leading up to Siege. Includes Dark Avengers #1. Marvel Spotlight #30, New Avengers Annual 3, Thor #600, and Dark Reign The Cabal, The Goblin Legacy, & The List – Avengers.
See Marvel Universe Events: Siege for the collection of Siege, which is the true end of the Dark Avengers series.
Andy Diggle assumes scripting duties after the end of Secret Invasion, running alongside Bendis’s Dark Avengers. With the core of the previous Thunderbolts graduating to that sibling title, leader Norman Osborn appoints a team of Black Widow (Yelana Belova), Ghost, Paladin, Headsman, Ant-Man (Eric O’Grady), Grizzly, Mister X, and Scourge.
#130-131: Dark Reign: Deadpool/Thunderbolts
See Marvel Universe Events: Dark Reign for more information. Also collects Deadpool #8-9.
Jeff Parker takes over with the beginning of Siege, afterwards merging the remnants of Dark Avengers back into the book and piloting it for an impressive four-year tenure through its transition to Dark Avengers, Vol. 2
After Siege, Parker’s run continues with team consisting of Crossbones, Fixer, Ghost, Juggernaut, MACH-V, Man-Thing, Moonstone, and Songbird, lead by Luke Cage.
#152-157: Vol. 9: Violent Rejections
#163-168 & 163.1: Vol. 10: The Great Escape
#169-174: Vol. 11: Like Lightning
At this point there were three concurrent Thunderbolts teams – a Luke Cage team in the present (Luke Cage, MACH-V, Songbird, Ghost), a team lost in the timestream (Centurius, Satana, Troll, Boomerang, Moonstone, Fixer), and a replacement team of Dark Avengers that originated in New Avengers #18-23. As of #184 the title focuses only on the latter, joined by Moonstone and US Agent, as they travel to a Dark Avengers dimension where all of the standard Avengers are villains.
That replacement team consists of “Hulk” – Skaar, “Hawkeye” AKA Trickshot -Barney Barton, “Spider-Man” AKA Decapitator – Ai Apaec, “Scarlet Witch” AKA Toxic Doxie – Dr. June Covington, “Thor” – Ragnarok. They are not joined by “Ms. Marvel” AKA Superia – Deidre Wentworth and “Wolverine” AKA Gorgon – Tomi Shishido.
#175-183: Dark Avengers: The End is the Beginning (ISBN 0785161724)
#184-190: Dark Avengers: Masters of Evil (ISBN 0785168478)
Thunderbolts – Where Are They (in Marvel) Now?
The final arcs of Thunderbolts and Dark Avengers featuring over two dozen major characters before an abrupt end. Where do all of these characters wind up in Marvel Now?
Boomerang – After his appearance in Dark Avengers #183, Boomerang is back to his full-time villainous ways in Superior Spider-Man’s first and third arcs before starring in Superior Foes of Spider-Man.
Centurius – Has yet to appear after Dark Avengers #183
Crossbones – After his appearance in Thunderbolts #159 and 163.1, Crossbones appears throughout Fear Itself: The Fearless, later turning up in Venom #40-42.
Ghost – Has yet to appear after Dark Avengers #190
Hyperion – This Hyperion, who last appeared in #163, does not appear to be the same as the one starring in Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers.
Juggernaut – Has yet to appear after Dark Avengers #183, and is still without his Cyttorak powers. (May appear in Deadpool Annual 1 – need to check to see if his appearance is in current continuity).
Luke Cage – After appearing in the final issues of New Avengers (2010), Luke Cage next appear in Age of Ultron, followed by Mighty Avengers, Vol. 2 (with a few guest appearances along the way).
MACH-V – After appearing in Dark Avenger #183, MACH-V is back to his Beetle identity in Superior Foes of Spider-Man #4.
Man-Thing – After appearing in Dark Avengers #183, Man-Thing next shows up in Savage Wolverine #4 and Red She-Hulk #66-67.
Mister Hyde – After appearing in Dark Avengers #183, next appears in Superior Foes of Spider-Man #3, Infinity: Heist #1, and Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #6.
Moonstone – Has yet to appear after Dark Avengers #190
Ragnarok – Has yet to appear after Dark Avengers #190
Satana – After appearing in Dark Avengers #183 Satana plays a featured role in X-Factor’s Hell on Earth War in #250-256. She next appears in Superior Foes of Spider-Man #3-4 and Daredevil #33-34.
Shocker – Shocker last appears in Thunderbolts in #163, and goes on to star in Villains for Hire #1-4 and then return to the Spider-Man family of titles. He headlines Superior Foes of Spider-Man.
Skaar – Reappears after Dark Avengers #190 in Young Avenger #12 & 14.
Songbird – After appearing in Dark Avengers #183, Songbird next appears in Fearless Defenders #6 and Superior Foes of Spider-Man #3-4.
Spider-Man AKA Decapitator – Has yet to appear after Dark Avengers #190
Superia – Reemerges as a key member of AIM in Secret Avengers #2-3 and Avengers #15-16. She continues to appear in Secret Avengers.
Toxic Doxie – Reappears after Dark Avengers #189 in Avengers Assemble by DeConnick and Ellis.
Trickshot AKA Barney Barton – Reappears after Dark Avengers #190 in Hawkeye #11-13.
Troll – After appearing in Dark Avengers #183, Troll next appears in Superior Foes of Spider-Man #3-4 and Young Avengers #11-14.
US Agent – Has yet to appear after Dark Avengers #190
A new team of Thunderbolts lead by Red Hulk featuring Deadpool, Venom, Punisher, and Elektra. Launched by Daniel Way in his super-serious mode, the book trades writers at issue #12 for relative newcomer Charles Soule. It remains to be seen if he will keep the deadly serious vibe. Deadpool has been a key player with several major scenes through #12, though none are directly impactful to his own continuity.
#1-6: Thunderbolts, Vol. 1: No Quarter (ISBN 0785166947)
#7-12: Thunderbolts, Vol. 2: Red Scare (ISBN 0785166955)
#13-19: Thunderbolts, Vol. 3: Infinity (ISBN 0785166963)
#20-26: Thunderbolts, Vol. 4: A Chance In Hell (ISBN 0785189823)
#27-32 & Annual 1: Thunderbolts, Vol. 5: Punisher vs. The Thunderbolts (ISBN 0785189831)
A new spin on the original Thunderbolts emerges from Marvel’s 2016 events Standoff and Civil War II!
#7-12: Vol. 2: No Going Back