Date: February 27, 2024 2:35 pm
The Thundercats will always have a special place in fans’ hearts, especially for those who grew up with Lion-O, Panther, and Cheetara battling Mumm-Ra’s forces on the small screen. Now the team is back in a new comic series from Dynamite, with Declan Shalvey, Drew Moss, Arancia, and Jeff Eckleberry at the helm. While Thundercats #1 does indeed bring back the original crew, it has a few welcome surprises up its sleeve, and those twists help overcome several instances of clunky dialogue and artwork. By the end, the series successfully got its hooks in me, and as long as it can start to evolve the interactions between the main cast and highlight the art style’s strengths, it has the potential to be a big hit with fans of the franchise.
Thundercats seems consistent with the original cartoon series early on. Just like that story, Lion-O ends up aging during the flight to Third Earth, a flight that the Thundercats’ leader Jaga doesn’t survive. As a result, Lion-O has to step into the role of leader, but it’s quite the adjustment to lose your leader and go from cub to adult within such a short span of time. That sets the stage for much of the conflict as well, as Shalvey explores the many conflicts this scenario unearths within the team and within Lion-O himself.
Much of that conflict is between Lion-O and Panthro, who takes the role of Lion-O’s guardian in many ways. While he was previously a mentor, the dynamics of their relationship have obviously changed due to Lion-O’s new position within the team, and that is reflected in their conflicts. There are moments where that conflict shines, as in one early part where Panthro explains to Lion-O why his approach to mentorship has changed. That comes full circle later, with Panthro showing his loyalty to Lion-O despite his misgivings about how quickly he’s assumed the leadership role.
Lion-O’s inner monologue can be a bit clunky by comparison, but the new leader shines in his battle against Slithe. Moss and Arancia are on their A-game in these sequences, giving Slithe an edge that he’s rarely had in the past. His dialogue conveys this well. He pulls at Lion-O’s weakest threads to get under his skin and strike with fear over Brawn, though he swings a mean axe as well. The duo knows how to create chaos in a fight scene, and their work on Cheetara, Tygra, and Panthro is excellent in these moments as well.
The art is strongest when it has ample shadow to work with, as one particular forest scene of Tygra stalking his prey is one of the book’s strongest visual moments. The same is true of a classic move ahead of the final battle that Thundercats fans will love, and it’s one of the more impressive moments in the issue.
That all leads up to two big twists that set up the series quite well, as both have the potential to affect Lion-O individually and the team as a whole in giant ways moving forward. One will have immediate effects, while the other seems to be aiming more for the long game, and combined Shalvey can explore a litany of emotions and themes while also setting up the series for the long haul.
Hopefully, some of the other characters will get additional moments to shine in future issues, and at times the artwork isn’t as strong in emotional sequences as it is when swords are clashing. Despite those flaws, Thundercats #1 has set the foundation for a promising adventure, and it should only get better from here.
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
On February 7, 2024
Written by Declan Shalvey
Art by Drew Moss
Colors by Arancia Studio
Letters by Jeff Eckleberry
Cover by David Nakayama