“To the Victor, the Spoils”
The ThunderCats have worked hard to erect an aqueduct to provide fresh water for Cats Lair and the Berbil Village, and celebrate its completion with a day of Thunderian sports, cheered on by the Ro-Bear Berbils. Panthro bests Lion-O at hammer hurling, while Cheetara completes the mud jumps with ease. WilyKit and WilyKat compete in a race filled with obstacles, and in their eagerness to win (and in fierce competion), they collide with each other, tumbling past the finish line and tying the race. Cheetara tells them this means they will have to share their prize – a Catseye Crystal that Cheetara brought with her from Thundera. Cheetara states that on their home planet every ThunderCat had one, but that the one she has is now the last one anywhere. WilyKat angrily snatches the crystal from Cheetara, stating that he would have won had WilyKit not bumped into him. His sister disagrees and makes a grab for the crystal, which falls out of WilyKat’s hand and into the mud jump pool. Lion-O tells WilyKit off, but Cheetara blames WilyKat for starting the trouble – Panthro disagrees, and Cheetara rounds on him for ganging up against the two females. An argument between all the ThunderCats ensues, and they each storm off, much to the dismay of Snarf, who heads home with the Ro-Bear Berbils. Once they have departed, a Mutant spy leaps down from the treetops and gropes in the pool of mud to retrieve the Catseye Crystal.
The Mutant takes the crystal to S-S-Slithe and reveals to him the events of the day. The Reptillian leader is delighted to hear that the ThunderCats are fighting amongst themselves, and says that now the Mutants can take revenge for the damage recently caused to Castle Plun-Darr when the ThunderCats attempted to rescue the ghost of Jaga. Monkian asks whether they should consult Mumm-Ra, but S-S-Slithe tells him that he is their leader and that they shall strike now. Monkian agrees with S-S-Slithe that he is their leader, but thinks quietly to himself that this state of affairs may only be temporary.
Meanwhile, Lion-O unhappily stalks the corridors of Cats Lair, upset at the ThunderCats’ argument and feeling that, as Lord of the ThunderCats, he should have done more to quell the situation. Jaga appears before him, and tells him that arguments occur even in the closest of families. Jaga tells Lion-O that perhaps they were all tired after their work building the aqueduct and that when people are tired they sometimes say things that they regret. None of it really matters, Jaga tells the young lord, as long as conflict is resolved before it can cause real harm. Jaga disappears, just as Cheetara walks over to Lion-O. The two both anxiously apologise to each other, and are then friends again.
At the newly completed aqueduct, WilyKit and WilyKat cross paths, but don’t speak to each other, both wanting to resolve their argument but neither believing that the other is sorry, and neither wanting to make the first move. The two turn their backs on each other and walk away, but are both quickly ensnared by separate teams of Mutants! S-S-Slithe crows that now they will take revenge for the destruction of Castle Plun-Darr, and orders Jackalman to explode the reservoir, which floods Cats Lair. The bedraggled ThunderCats are swept out of their home, and come face-to-face with the Mutants. Lion-O leads a charge against them, but meanwhile the Mutants have infiltrated Cats Lair and use the Lair’s flame canon to keep the ThunderCats at bay. The ThunderCats ponder how they can retake the Lair, and reason that they could attempt to sneak inside, and that WilyKit and WilyKat would be the best choices for this mission. However, they soon realise that the ThunderKittens are missing, and wonder where they are.
Inside Cats Lair, S-S-Slithe gloats to the ThunderKittens, who are tied up in nets suspended from the ceiling. The Reptillian tells them that, had they not been so angry at each other, they might have been together when the Mutants attacked the aqueduct and one of them may have escaped to warn the others. S-S-Slithe tells them they deserve a reward, and, turning his back on his captives, throws WilyKat the Catseye Crystal. WilyKat angrily threatens to throw the crystal away, but WilyKit tells him that the Catseye Crystal can act as both a prism and a lens, i.e. it doesn’t just refract light but can focus light too. The duo plan to free themselves by using the dawn sunlight to create a beam of heat, to cut through the netting that binds them. The wait for the sun to come up is a long one, and whilst trying to get free the ThunderKittens talk, WilyKit suggesting that, when they get free, they spend some time learning to be friends again. WilyKat agrees, just as the light from the crystal cuts through WilyKit’s net. WilyKit frees her brother, and the duo race to the Cats Lair’s flame canon, where they trick the two Reptillians manning the canon and manage to knock them out. WilyKit uses the Catseye Crystal to signal to the ThunderCats in flash code that they have retaken the flame canon, and the ThunderCats charge on Cats Lair. The Mutant army is shaken by the ferocity of the ThunderCat attack, and are doubly repelled by the appearance of the ThunderKittens who use their trademark smoke and sneeze pellets against them. The Mutants flee Cats Lair, S-S-Slithe vowing revenge. The ThunderCats call after him to pick the day and they’ll be waiting, together!
Less than an hour later, the ThunderCats discover the destroyed aqueduct. Tygra states that it can be rebuilt, but that it will be a lot of hard work. Snarf is angry, as the ThunderCats had only recently completed it, but WilyKit and WilyKat tell him that all that is needed is a little teamwork. The others are shocked, but the ThunderKittens tell them that they have learned their lesson. To prove their point, WilyKit offers to share the Catseye Crystal with her brother first. WilyKat protests, insisting that WilyKit share first. WilyKit also insists, and quickly an argument breaks out between the two as to who should share the crystal first – both of them oblivious to the roars of laughter from the other ThunderCats!
This is basically a good, solid issue of Marvel’s ThunderCats series, neither as gripping and captivating as David Micheline’s tales of the rogue ThunderCat Lynxana, nor as heart-wrenching as Lion-O’s return to Thundera last issue, yet still a really enjoyable story with some great moments. Like #3 did for Panthro, this issue shines the spotlight firmly on WilyKit and WilyKat, and in particular explores their character traits and sibling rivalry. It can be easy to overlook the ThunderKittens in favour of the adult ThunderCats, and so this story is refreshing for that reason alone.
Perhaps this issue’s greatest achievement is to really show the ThunderCats as a family. Although on paper showing them arguing seems a small thing, it adds a sense of realism to the relationship that they have with each other, not just in their arguing but watching them make up. We also get some good character development for Lion-O, who clearly feels a responsibility to all of them and feels that, as Lord of the ThunderCats, he should be able to lead by example and dispel any disputes within their ranks. Although just a small touch, it adds to the feeling that Lion-O is growing and developing as a person and as a leader with every issue.
Although the plotline for this issue is quite simple, it’s clever and well done, and as such, for my money this adds another success story to Marvel’s ThunderCats run.