THUNDERBOLT

Real Name: Luis Barrett

Identity/Class: Human, mutate (?)

Occupation: Student

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Pantheon (Achilles, Ulysses)

Enemies: Barrier (Marvin Bailey), Blacklash (Mark Scarlotti), Justin Hammer, Ringer (Keith Kraft)

Known Relatives: Unidentified mother, unidentifiedbrother, unidentified sister

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Los Angeles, California

First Appearance: Incredible Hulk Annual#17 (1991)

Powers/Abilities: Thunderbolt can run at superhuman speed.

History: (Incredible Hulk Annual#17/4 (fb, BTS))- Through some means, Luis obtained the power of superhuman speed while in high school. Coming from a poor family, he was afraid that after he graduated, he wouldn't be able to afford college unless he received a scholarship.

(Incredible Hulk Annual#17/4) - Super-criminal employer Justin Hammer learned of Luis' powers and dispatched Ringer, Blacklash and Barrier to apprehend him so that he could make him a job offer. Playing off of Luis' dreams for college, he presented him with the costume of the deceased hero Thunderbolt to use as his own. He directed Luis to help the three criminals steal plans to an experimental plane from the Edwards Air Force Base, claiming it was only a test, but Achilles and Ulysses of the Pantheon arrived to warn Luis of Hammer's criminal status.

Luis donned the Thunderbolt costume and tried to help the Pantheon against the villains, but the Ringer's rings bound his legs. Blacklash attempted to strike him while he was down, but Luis was able to untangle himself and brought down Blacklash with a single punch. Although Luis was left with no means of going to college, Ulysses noted that at least now he was on the right track.

(Civil War: Battle Damage Report) - Tony Stark considered Luis as a potential Initiative recruit.

Comments: Created by Gary Barnum, John Stanisci and Tim Dzon.

His last name was revealed in the Civil War: Battle Damage Report.

Here is some initially-planned background information, courtesy of creator Gary Barnum:

His full name was stated in my original scripts as Luis Lopez (and it was supposed to have been included on pg. 59, when Agamemnon of the Pantheon first referenced him). For one thing, I was trying to add some diversity before diversity was a thing. But also, staff letterer Ken Lopez was and is a friend of mine, and I wanted this character to have his last name because Thunderbolt is kind of a speedster, and Ken Lopez was known for dressing up as The Flash for Halloween. So it all made a kind of "insider" sense, too. Now when I created Luis Lopez, aka Thunderbolt, he was intended to eventually be called "Generator" later. This is because he was going to have the similar power to the original Thunderbolt which not only gave him great speed, but the ability to create a powerful "clap" of power when he came to a stop. My theory was that running was only the first half of Luis' power. The running generated the power he could unleash when he stopped, creating the concussive "boom" he could create thereafter (the other part of his power). Also, he was a teen and had just discovered his powers -- sound familiar? He was intended to be a mutant

As for Hammer's acquisition of the suit, Justin Hammer was just known for being a power broker to the ne'er-do-wells at the time, and I figured the suit might be available out there, and he might have acquired it. And of course, if he could get a kid like Luis Lopez working for him, with those powers, he'd take the win. The suit was just the temptation to lure Lopez into his gang. There was no intention of any other mixups or relationship to the original Thunderbolt. I'm sure speculating where Hammer got the suit may elicit some viable possibilities, but Luis Lopez was simply a kid being manipulated, and then saved by the Pantheon.

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the last name Lopez was not included in the original story...

In the Civil War: Battle Damage Report (2007), Luis received the last name Barrett, presumably intended to be an homage or perhaps even hinting at a familiar relationship to Turk Barrett, who was involved with the original Thunderbolts gang from Daredevil I#69. If you scroll down the profile, you’ll see he has been pictured with a more Latin appearance on more than one occasion. Regardless, the surname Barrett at the time of the Civil War stories does not mean his surname was not Lopez at the time of his original appearance. Maybe Turk Barrett married his mother...maybe Turk adopted Luis independent of that...maybe his mother married someone else with the last name Barrett...maybe Luis and his family entered some sort of witness protection program and received the last name Barrett. Or perhaps there is some other explanation...
Regardless, the best case scenario would be that some writer comes along and tells Luis' back-story, officially revealing Gary's information while providing an explanation for why/how he received the Barrett surname. That's the Marvel No-Prize policy, which I consider the Stan Lee solution...

--Snood

    Having Thunderbolt and Crime-Buster as fellow board members of the Penance Corp in 2011's Power Man & Iron Fist limited series poses a bit of a continuity conundrum. Carver died in Power Man & Iron Fist I#62, while Crime-Buster didn't make his first appearance until 1984's Power Man & Iron Fist I#105. In fact, the man who would eventually become Crime-Buster was still serving a 30 year prison sentence in Louisiana when the Thunderbolt was active. It might have been the second Thunderbolt who served with Crime-Buster and the other vigilantes, even though he wasn't created until 1991.
    Add to that writer Fred van Lente pointing out that all the vigilantes he had working for the Penance Corp were in fact established Power Man & Iron Fist characters.
    Is it not just possible that Crime-Buster was active more early than when he first appeared? He escaped from prison, and I don't see why that has to be later than Thunderbolt's death.--Snood

    I got the distinct impression that their involvement working for Penance Corp was intended by Fred van Lente to have taken place AFTER their appearances in the original PM&IF series. Obviously that's problematic for the deceased Thunderbolt, but if it wasn't for that concern I don't think anyone would hesitate to have placed the various heroes' involvement later in their careers.
    I can see a few options to make it all fit:

  1. The Penance Corp membership took place early, as stated in Thunderbolt's entry. After his demise, the others left PC for a while, so they were all freelance (as depicted in their original appearances - CB is definitely not a board member with PC in his first appearance) when Luke and Danny met them, and then went back to work for PC later. Workable, but messy.

  2. The tour of the facilities and group photo took place earlier, but there was a sizeable gap before anyone took up the offer of employment. Thunderbolt never actually joined, despite any misphrasings by the others that might have suggested he did. Again, viable but messy, as the whole reason why PC said they were willing to take on someone like Crime-Buster was because they were a start-up when they asked him and couldn't afford to be choosy - if there'd been a gap between the offer and the acceptance long enough to fit in 80+ issues of PM(&IF), by the time he decided to take up the offer they'd have no longer been so desperate.

  3. It was after PM & IF's series ended. The Thunderbolt present was (a) Luis; (b) William Carver somehow resurrected (hardly unusual these days); (c) William Carver out of his proper place in time (plausible given Prof. Gamble's presence).

I personally think 3 is the best bet, with (b) being a personal preference (I liked the original Thunderbolt), but with (a) probably being the more feasible, least convoluted option.
--Loki

    Interesting theories, I especially like the Professor Gamble time travel idea. Still, it made me think of a fourth:

                    4. It was established that Justin Hammer used his business connections to acquire the Thunderbolt costume after Carver's death. It's not been revealed who he bought it from, but... If we agree that the Penance Corp started after the PM&IF series ended, it might be possible its founder Zebari got his hands on the costume and simply hired someone to wear it for publicity.

    After all, the Thunderbolt was a remarkably popular and beloved vigilante (in the inner cities, at least) whose death was never made public. That'd make him an ideal token/spokesperson/source of credibility.
With his business up and running and with sufficient real vigilantes on board, Zebari could have decided to "retire" the Thunderbolt, selling the outfit to Hammer. 
--Norvo

by Prime Eternal

CLARIFICATIONS:
Thunderbolt should not be confused with:


Images taken from:
Incredible Hulk Annual#17, page 63, panel 6
Incredible Hulk Annual#17, page 62, panel 4


Appearances:
Incredible Hulk Annual#17 (1991) - Gary Barnum (writer), John Stanisci (pencils), Tim Dzon (inks)
Civil War: Battle Damage Report#1: Civil War Files Appendix (2007) - Ronald Byrd (writer), Anthony Flamini (head writer/coordinator), Michael Short (assistant editor), Jennifer Grunwald & Mark Beazley (editors, special projects), Jeff Youngquist (editor)


First Posted: 10/24/2004
Last updated
: 11/05/2022

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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