Real Name: William "Bill" Carver
Identity/Class: Human mutate;
citizen of the United States of America with no criminal record
identity secret (known to Power Man and Iron Fist)
formerly Assistant District Attorney;
formerly U.S. Marine
Group Membership: Green Berets, Penance Corps, U.S. Marine
Aguila, Bertha, Black Panther
Daredevil (Matt Murdock), "Joseph Duffy" (assumed identity of Gerry Kammill), Professor
Gamble, D.W. Griffith, William Hao, Iron Fist (Daniel Rand), Power Man (Luke
Cage), Blake Tower, Muhammed Zebari
Enemies: Caesar Cicero, "Big
Ben" Donovan, Paul Donovan, Goldbug,
Mountain Marko, the Thunderbolts
Barrett), Zodiac Cartel
Known Relatives: Lonnie Carver (brother, deceased),
unidentified parents (both deceased)
Aliases: "Bolt" (nickname used by Power Man)
Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
died in Queens, New York
formerly New York City, New York;
born in Harlem, New York
First Appearance: (Bill Carver) Daredevil I#69 (October, 1970);
(Thunderbolt) Power Man I#41 (March, 1977)
Powers/Abilities: Thunderbolt could move at superhuman speed, roughly up to 85 miles an hour, sufficient to dodge
bullets. His mutated physique could withstand the effects of his
powers, though its use rapidly accelerated Carver's aging. His
cadriovascular and respiratory systems were many times more efficient than a
normal human being's. He metabolized over 50% of the caloric energy content
of foodstuffs (normal humans used 25%). The chemical processes of
Thunderbolt's musculature were so highly enhanced that his body generated
unusually low amounts of fatigue-poisons, the normal by-products of
locomotion that force the body to rest. His joints were smoother and were
lubricated more efficiently than a normal person's, and his bones contained
unidentified materials significantly more durable than calcium to withstand
the dynamic shocks of his feet touching the ground at superhuman speeds.
Thunderbolt's practical reaction was four times faster than a normal human
being's, and the speed at which his brain processed information was
heightened to a measure commensurate with his bodily speed, enabling him to
perceive his surroundings while traveling at high speeds. The lachrymose
(tear fluids) of his eyes was also more viscous than normal, preventing
rapid evaporation of surface fluids on his cornea under the influence of
high wind velocity.
He possessed a measure of super-strength that was mainly focused in his lower body; he could leg press approximately 1000 pounds under optimal conditions.
His costume's visor was outfitted with a "Thunderbolt lightning flare," an intensely bright light that could daze and dazzle his opponents. Carver only used this flare as a final resort. Thunderbolt wore a ring with a stylized black lightning bolt that he occasionally used to mark his opponents on their foreheads.
Thanks to his army training, he was a skilled hand to hand combatant who could use his speed to take down multiple enemies within seconds. Carver engaged in regular, intensive exercise.
(Daredevil I#69 (fb) - BTS) - William Carver was born and raised in Harlem where he became the idol of his younger brother, Lonnie. When he came of age, Carver joined the US army, eventually becoming a member of the Green Berets, while fighting in an Asian conflict.
(Daredevil I#69 - BTS) - The Zodiac Cartel backed the Thunderbolts gang, directing them to dupe other African-Americans into joining a seeming revolution against oppression, when they were really just common criminals.
(Daredevil I#69 (fb) - BTS) - Lonnie excitedly told his teacher, Luke Charles (secretly the Black Panther/T'Challa), that his brother, Willie, was coming home from the war.
(Daredevil I#69 (fb) - BTS) - Willie returned to Harlem.
(Daredevil I#69 (fb)) - Backed by the criminal Thunderbolts gang, member Turk Barrett confronted Bill and Lonnie on Lonnie playground, asking Bill to join, as they could use a veteran like him. Bill stood up against the thugs, responding that while he didn't like war any more than "the next brother," he figured there were better ways to protest than to join a hate-crew like the Thunderbolts: "Nobody with half a brain is gonna fall for that 'white man's war' jazz you preach." Where Turk petitioned Lonnie, he said he stood with his brother, and then Turk struck down Billy with a wooden stick, noting if he wasn't with them, he was against them, and branding Willie an "Uncle Tom" for not agreeing with their radical views on race relations. Despite Lonnie's urging to get up and fight back, Billy had had enough of fighting in Asia; knowing what wielding a weapon could do to a man, Willie refused to fight. Turk prepared to hit him with the stick again, but the Black Panther, having been drawn there by the sounds of conflict, drove off the Thunderbolts. Willie thanked the Panther, who told Lonnie he had quite a big brother; Lonnie responded, "right on, Panther!"
(Daredevil I#69 (fb) - BTS) - The day after the assault, William went to see District Attorney Foggy Nelson and offered his services. With Nelson's permission, Carver joined the Thunderbolts as an informant. However, when Lonnie learned his idol had seemingly turned to crime, he became thoroughly demoralized and started skipping school. This caught the attention of Luke Charles who started to shadow the youngster. Lonnie eventually joined up with the Thunderbolts as well, who had the 15 year old ride shotgun in a truck during a heist.
(Daredevil I#69 - BTS) - Carver informed Nelson about the
upcoming heist, which indirectly caused Daredevil to be on hand to stop
the Thunderbolts. At the same time, Black Panther was following Lonnie
and the two heroes ran into each other during the fight against the
gang. Lonnie, scared out of his wits, attempted to escape with the truck
but crashed the vehicle and ended up seriously injured. Daredevil and
the Panther rushed the boy to the hospital where the doctors did what
they could to save him, only to conclude the lad was so demoralized he
had lost the will to live.
(Daredevil I#69) - Figuring Lonnie needed his brother to pull through, Black Panther and Daredevil decided to retrieve Carver from the Thunderbolts' hideout. The heroes were hopelessly outnumbered and about to be gunned down, when William showed his true colors, distracting the Thunderbolts' leader, Turk, long enough for Daredevil to knock him out, but not before Turk could shoot Billy in the arm. Daredevil and Black Panther quickly told him about Lonnie, and the trio rushed to the hospital where Carver's presence was enough to make his brother pull through. Bill told Lonnie why he'd joined the gang, which restored the youngster's faith.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe I#14: Thunderbolt entry) - Bill's infiltration gathered enough evidence to send several of the Thunderbolts to prison.
(Power Man I#42 (fb) - BTS) - The bond between William and his brother became even stronger after their parents died. William rose through the ranks at the District Attorney's office, eventually becoming D.A. Blake Tower's assistant and befriending other employees like Bill Hao.
(Power Man & Iron Fist I#62 (fb) - BTS) - In prison, the Thunderbolts' leader Paul Donovan fell prey to Maggia operatives who were ordered to kill him as payback for trying to take over their turf. Paul's brother, "Big Ben" Donovan, swore to avenge him by getting back at both the Maggia and Carver who was responsible for putting him behind bars in the first place. First off, Donovan ordered a hit on Carver.
(Power Man I#42 (fb)) - Out on a trip to Coney Island,
Lonnie was mortally wounded when he was accidentally hit by a sniper's
bullet that was actually intended for William. Lonnie was buried at
Queens' Resthaven cemetery on a dark and stormy night. During the
funeral services, the assassin arrived to finish the job. William
wrestled him to the ground, but a freak lightning bolt struck the
hitman's gun, killing him instantly and throwing William in a deep coma.
Rushed to the hospital, the doctors tried to cure William using an
experimental cobalt ray treatment developed by Stark Industries.
However, even though the treatment was effective, Carver accidentally
got exposed to radiation due to a leak in the cobalt generator. The
combination of different energies catalyzed superpowers in Carver, who
recovered at a remarkable rate and noticed his muscles had started to
develop at a rapid pace. The doctors were worried about the effects of
the radiation and wanted to do more tests, but Carver insisted he was
feeling well enough to leave and start looking for whoever hired the
(Power Man I#42 - BTS) - Over the next few weeks, Carver
discovered that he had gained super-speed and reflexes. Fashioning a
costume for himself, he worked for D.A. Tower during the day only to
change into the vigilante Thunderbolt at night. Prowling the streets
looking for Lonnie's killer, he took on any criminal he came across.
After defeating them, he branded their foreheads with his signet ring
that left an indelible black lightning symbol.
(Power Man I#41) - Thunderbolt engaged a gang of robbers who tried to steal cargo from the docks. He defeated them using his super-speed and visor flare and, after branding them, called the police anonymously. As soon as he spotted the cops and was assured the criminals wouldn't escape, he bolted. Carver headed for his brother's grave in Queens where he reminded himself of his mission.
(Power Man I#41 - BTS) - Luke Cage was hired by Jack Smith
of Shanks Armored Couriers who were getting ready to transport a 2
million dollar shipment of gold to Washington. Smith grew concerned when
the super-villain Goldbug informed them he would be robbing the
transport. Cage agreed to ride in the truck to protect the gold, unaware that Goldbug had placed an explosive device inside the
(Power Man I#41) - Thunderbolt happened to pass by just as
Cage boarded the gold truck. Ever ready to help out, he decided to
accompany the transport to make sure nothing would go wrong. Goldbug,
piloting his golden hovercraft, eventually caught up with the transport
and spotted Thunderbolt. Figuring this new hero's presence was actually
an opportunity, he detonated the bomb he'd planted which caused the
truck to crash. Power Man escaped unscathed, but incorrectly concluded
Thunderbolt was responsible and attacked. Thunderbolt was able to use
his super-speed to dodge Cage's fists but was eventually backed into a
corner. While Thunderbolt explained to Cage who he actually was, Goldbug
robbed the crashed armored car. Power Man tried to oppose the villain
but was shot by his gold gun, which covered the hero in gold. Aware Cage
would soon suffocate and deadly afraid to be indirectly responsible for
another death, Thunderbolt used his super-speed to hit the gold coffin
thousands of times. Goldbug used this distraction to get away, even as
Thunderbolt eventually succeeded in freeing Cage, who thanked the
vigilante for his help.
Thunderbolt accompanied Power Man to his offices in the Gem Theater where they ran into Cage's assistants Bertha and D.W. Griffith. The latter tried to warn him not to enter his office. When he ignored this, Luke and Thunderbolt ran into Jack Smith and a squad of police officers ready to arrest them for stealing the gold shipment.
(Power Man I#42) - Stunned, Thunderbolt figured Power Man
was trying to frame him despite Cage's protest to the contrary.
Thunderbolt ran off, leaving Cage to deal with Smith , eventually
getting him to reveal to the cops he was well aware Goldbug was actually
(Power Man I#42 - BTS) - Using his contacts in the underworld, Thunderbolt learned that Goldbug had a headquarters in a garage in Queens. He contacted Power Man and told him to meet at the 59th Street Bridge to plan their attack.
(Power Man I#42) - Breaking into the garage, Cage was a
little disappointed the Goldbug's henchmen only recognized Thunderbolt.
Easily defeating the hired guns, the heroes made their way to Goldbug's
private quarters only to see the villain use an escape pod to elude
them. Moments later, they found themselves trapped in the room that
transformed in a similar plexiglas missile that launched itself into the
air, ready to detonate. Before the craft could explode, the duo managed
to break free and hurried back to the Goldbug's hideout where the
villain was about to board his flying hovercraft. Goldbug launched his
vessel with Cage and Thunderbolt on it. The fight eventually destroyed
the craft's controls and while Goldbug managed to escape using his
costume's built in parachute, Cage and Thunderbolt were stuck aboard the
airplane which was minutes from crashing in the middle of Times Square.
(Power Man I#43) - Desperate to stop the rudderless hovercraft about to crash into the Fifth Avenue library, Thunderbolt continued to gain control over the vessel while Cage climbed on the wings to manually alter course. When Cage had succeeded in steering it towards Bryant Park, Thunderbolt jumped out and used his super-speed to create a powerful updraft to slow the vehicle's descent. The craft still crashed, and Thunderbolt briefly feared he had caused Cage's death. Power Man turned up alive and well, only slightly banged up. Not eager to waste time waiting around for the police to arrive, Thunderbolt picked up Cage and raced away to his offices. Once safe and sound at the Gem Theater, Thunderbolt bade Cage farewell because he needed to get to his day job. He promised to call in that night to continue their search for Goldbug.
(Power Man I#43 - BTS) - Thunderbolt's eventual call was
left unanswered because Power Man had gotten wrapped up in a convoluted
case that took up all his time.
(Power Man & Iron Fist I#61 (fb) - BTS) - Carver discovered that his powers were rapidly aging him. Even though he was only 28, he had the appearance of a man in his early 70s. The realization he wasn't long for this world made William even more determined to bring his brother's killer to justice. He took a leave of absence from work and started pursuing the case of Lonnie's murder fulltime, eventually discovering a connection between Maggia attorney Ceasar Cicero and "Big Ben" Donovan who were involved in a shady drug smuggling deal (see comments).
(Power Man & Iron Fist I#61) - Thunderbolt was shadowing Donovan who had recently gotten on Cicero's bad side after stealing the drug shipment, stashing it in a coffin, and burying it at Resthaven Cemetary in Queens. Now on the run and afraid for his life, Donovan headed to Power Man's old offices. He figured Cage could keep him safe and possibly even perish at the hands of the Maggia. Thunderbolt kept observing the situation and noticed that shortly after Donovan went into the Gem Theater, Cicero's goons arrived, followed by his chief enforcer, Man Mountain Marko. Unsure how the Hero for Hire was involved with these criminals, Thunderbolt didn't involve himself.
(Power Man & Iron Fist I#61 - BTS) - Power Man was in his office talking on the phone with Iron Fist when Donovan stumbled in, followed by Man Mountain Marko's goons who opened fire. Alarmed by the noises and gunfire, Iron Fist decided to rush to Luke's aid. Meanwhile, Man Mountain Marko managed to overpower Cage by electrocuting the hero with some exposed power cables. Marko took the unconscious hero and Big Ben back to Cicero.
(Power Man & Iron Fist I#61) - Thunderbolt failed to notice Marko leaving with Cage and Donovan because he was too busy trying to stop the newly arrived Iron Fist from entering the theater and interfering. The two fought for a while until one of the bystanders told Iron Fist he was actually fighting Thunderbolt. Deciding to team up and look for clues, Thunderbolt took Iron Fist to the NYPD's 68th precinct where he snuck into the police file room, explaining his dual identity as D.A. assistant William Carver. Thunderbolt also revealed the urgency behind his quest to find Lonnie's murderer, taking off his facemask to reveal his aged features to a shocked Iron Fist.
(Power Man & Iron Fist I#62) - Eager to find out where the Maggia was keeping Power Man, Iron Fist and Thunderbolt invaded a local Maggia stronghold. When Iron Fist was about to get killed, Thunderbolt moved in and defeated all the gangsters within seconds. Leaving one conscious, Thunderbolt proceeded to threaten the goon into telling all he knew about Cage's whereabouts.
(Power Man & Iron Fist I#62 - BTS) - Big Ben was
forced by Cicero to take him to Resthaven Cemetary where the coffin full
of drugs was buried. Man Mountain Marko presided over Cage who was
chained up in a coffin as well. The Maggia dug up the drugs and put
Cage's coffin in its place, burying the hero alive.
(Power Man & Iron Fist I#62) - Iron Fist and Thunderbolt arrived at Resthaven and engaged Man Mountain Marko and the other Maggia goons. During the fight, the already severely weakened Thunderbolt was almost torn in half by Marko. Iron Fist managed to defeat the enforcer. With only Donovan left standing, Thunderbolt finally learned the ranting, raving criminal was the one who ordered the hit on Carver that resulted in Lonnie's death. Revealing himself to be William Carver, Thunderbolt chased the stunned Big Ben across the graveyard until he stumbled on the grave of Luke Cage, who had just started to dig himself out. Thunderbolt jumped Donovan while Power Man and Iron Fist went to stop Cicero and his men from escaping. After rounding up the Maggia, they heard a gunshot. Rushing to Thunderbolt's side, they found Donovan had accidentally shot himself and was down for the count. Carver, overcome by having avenged his brother's death, made his way to Lonnie's nearby grave where he slumped over the stone and died, his final words being: "Now we can both rest easy."
(Power Man & Iron Fist II#2 (fb) - BTS) - Thunderbolt,
along with el Aguila, Black Tiger, Crime-Buster, and Professor Alphonse Gamble,
was approached by Penance Corp founder Muhammed Zebari.
Hoping to have some costumed heroes on the board of directors of his
new private prison company, Zebari offered them all positions.
Thunderbolt and the others accepted (see
(Power Man & Iron Fist II#1 - BTS) - Thunderbolt posed for a picture with el Aguila, Black Tiger, Crime-Buster, and Professor Alphonse Gamble while touring one of the facilities run by Penance Corp (see comments).
(Incredible Hulk Annual I#17/4 - BTS) - After Carver's death, wealthy industrialist Justin Hammer used his business connections to come into possession of his costume.
Comments: Created by Roy Thomas (writer), Gene Colan (pencils) Syd Shores (inks)
As interesting a twist it was to have Thunderbolt age at an accelerated rate, it was never touched on just how Carver explained the fact he was wasting away to his colleagues in the D.A.'s office before he went on leave.
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:
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.
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.
It was after PM & IF's series ended. The Thunderbolt present was (a) the second one; (b) the original somehow resurrected (hardly unusual these days); (c) the original 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.
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.
Thunderbolt received profiles in Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe I#14, Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe II#20 (1988, Book of the Dead Deluxe Edition).
Hmmm...I need to get a profile on the Thunderbolts gang
done. The seeming leader guy who hits William Carver with the stick is
definitely identified as Turk; it's not clear whether the guy leading the
group in the final confrontation is Turk or not. And then Paul Donovan is
named as the leader in Power Man and Iron Fist#62. Maybe Paul Donovan was
the guy at the end...or maybe Turk and the other guy were field leader(s) or
lieutenant(s), and Donovan was the actual leader?
Profile by Norvo.
Thunderbolt should not be confused with
images: (without ads)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition II#20, p21 (main image)
Power Man I#42, p6, pans2&3 (transformed after faulty cobalt treatment)
Power Man I#41, p4, pan6 (and his signet ring)
Power Man I#41, p4, pan2 (uses his visor flare)
Power Man I#43, p3, pans3&4 (stops the Goldbug)
Power Man & Iron Fist I#61, p23, pan6 (reveals his condition)
Power Man & Iron Fist I#62, p22, pan6 (dies avenging his brother)
Daredevil I#69 (October, 1970) - Roy Thomas (writer), Gene Colan (pencils) Syd Shores (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Power Man I#41 (March, 1977) - Marv Wolfman (writer & editor), Lee Elias (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks)
Power Man I#42 (April, 1977) - Marv Wolfman (writer & editor), Lee Elias (pencils), Alex Nino (inks)
Power Man I#43 (May, 1977) - Marv Wolfman (writer & editor), Lee Elias (pencils), Alex Nino (inks)
Power Man & Iron Fist I#61 (February, 1980) - Jo Duffy (writer), Kerry Gammill (pencils), Bruce Patterson (inks), Denny O'Neill (editor)
Power Man & Iron Fist I#62 (April, 1980) - Jo Duffy (writer), Kerry Gammill (pencils & inks), Denny O'Neill (editor)
Incredible Hulk Annual I#17 (June, 1991) - Gary Barnum (writer), John Stanisci (pencils), Tim Dzon (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Power Man & Iron Fist II#1 (April, 2011) - Fred van Lente (writer), Wellinton Alves (pencils), Nelson Pereira (inks), Tom Brennan (editor)
Last updated: 01/11/15
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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