Underrated: Thundercats (Wildstorm’s 2002 Series)

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Thundercats

thundercats cover.jpgIn another case of “Alex brought something to read just for this column” we have the Thunder Cats miniseries from Wildstorm that I found in the dollar bin at my LCS. Previous iterations of this theme in Underrated have often been a success (aside from Holy Terror which was a terrible comic, but a great column if I do say so myself), but will this one?

Well… kinda. I read the five issues of the miniseries with no context whatsoever which is par for the course when you find something in a dollar bin with no real idea when it was released (2002 is the answer to that). Assuming that you, dear reader, are like me and have some basic familiarity with the 1980’s cartoon, or one of the later iterations.

The thing is with this miniseries is that there is almost no hint given toprevious events, so if you pick this up hoping for a gentle introduction into the world of the Thundercats then you’ll be a touch disappointed. However, the story is still remarkably easy to follow because although Thundercats is a five issue miniseries it feels more like five episodes of a cartoon show with at best a slim plot that leads from the first to last issue. While this may lead some to claim that is leaves the series feeling like a vapid and disjointed mess, I’ll make the case that it invokes a powerful sense of nostalgia that allows children of the 80’s or 90’s the opportunity to easily reconnect with a treasured piece of your childhood.

I would give you a plot summary, but it basically boils down to “the Thundercats are trying to make a new home and are being opposed by villains.” Which is fine. I enjoyed the overly implistic nature of the main plot almost as much as I enjoyed the feeling that each comic was an episode of the show.

Why, then, does this make an appearance in this week’s Underrated? Because I had never heard of the series before, and made an assumption that if you found this in a dollar bin then you’dlikely pass it over as licensed tat. It isn’t tat at all, and was certainly enjoyable enough to spend a half hour or so with for a column that’s supposed to highlight unsung gems, and at best this is a moderately shiny dollar bin gem (unfortunately I had left it too late to read something else for the column so here we are).

Maybe next week I’ll find an actual gem?

Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.