“Reclaiming Thundera – Part 2”
The story begins on Third Earth, with Hachiman recounting to Tygra his recent battle with Mumm-Ra in the devil priest’s Onyx Pyramid, and how he was able to defeat him and free Lion-O and Cheetara from the belly of the jade dragon. Hachiman tells Tygra that he now needs Lion-O’s help, and asks where the young lord may be found. Tygra tells the samurai that Lion-O is on Thundera, and offers to take him there with him.
Elsewhere, in his Onyx Pyramid on Thundera, Mumm-Ra has gathered together the Mutants and tells them how the Ancient Spirits of Evil brought him back to destroy the ThunderCats, instructing them to help him. Mumm-Ra tells the Mutants that their incompetence has wrought too many failures in the past, which angers S-S-Slithe, but Mumm-Ra silences him with a bolt of energy. Mumm-Ra tells Vultureman that he shall now be his new General, and Vultureman pledges not to make the mistakes that his fellow Mutants have made in the past. Mumm-Ra instructs the other Mutants to obey Vultureman’s orders as if they were his own, and then commands them to bring him Lion-O.
Meanwhile, Tygra and Hachiman arrive on Thundera in the Feliner, where they are met by Lion-O, Panthro, Snarf and the Thunderkittens. Tygra proclaims the Feliner’s new hyperdrive a success, and Lion-O tells him that it will be good to see him and Pumyra more often. The young lord asks Hachiman what brings him to Thundera, and Hachiman tells him that his father is very ill and that he needs the healing waters of the Garden of Thundera to save him. Lion-O readily agrees to help. Tygra gives Panthro the plans he has designed for the signal tower Lion-O requested, and Panthro laughs, telling Tygra that he is still working on the beacon. Tygra offers to work with the engineer, but Lion-O asks him to accompany himself and Hachiman to the Garden of Thundera as he will need his help to pilot the Feliner. Lion-O asks the Thunderkittens to stay and help Panthro.
Taking to the air in their vehicles, the Mutants, lead by Vultureman, spy the Feliner en route to the Garden of Thundera and attack. Lion-O and Tygra are both surprised to see the Mutants attack, having thought that they had been taken care of. Using the drill blade of his Nosediver, S-S-Slithe slices into the Feliner, and the ThunderCats prepare themselves for a crash landing!
Meanwhile, the Thunderkittens are helping Panthro and ask him what he’s doing. Panthro tells them that he is putting the finishing touches to the transmitter that makes up part of the signal beacon. WilyKat asks him how long it will be before the beacon is completed, and Panthro tells him that the last step should be completed soon. WilyKit asks how long Panthro thinks it will be before other ThunderCats start returning to Thundera, and the engineer confesses that he doesn’t really know, stating that they don’t know how many Thunderians survived, but that they know they are out there. Panthro assures WilyKit that he thinks most of them will want to return home and help rebuild their homeworld, but warns that their power reserves are running low and so more Thundrillium will soon be needed. Panthro tells the Thunderkittens that he has been modifying the Thundertank with enhancements that will help them to mine Thundrillium until they are able to set up a proper mining operation, and that he and Lion-O plan to test it out as soon as they return from the lake.
Back near the Garden of Thundera, the Mutants have driven the ThunderCats and Hachiman to ground and are pressing their attack. Tygra uses both his skill with his bolo whip and his powers of invisibility to overpower Monkian and Jackalman, whilst Hachiman uses his combat skills to defeat S-S-Slithe. Vultureman launches an attack at Lion-O, piloting his Skycutter right at him, but the ThunderCat Lord slices the Mutant vehicle in two, sending Vultureman hurtling earthward. Lion-O and Hachiman challenge Vultureman as to how the Mutants returned to Thundera and why they attacked, and a cowering Vultureman tells them that Mumm-Ra summoned them to destroy the ThunderCats. Hachiman threatens the Mutant, telling him that if his father dies as a result of their interference he will be after vengeance, and Vultureman flees. Lion-O fills a vial with water from the lake in the Garden of Thundera, and tells Hachiman that it should be enough to help his father. Hachiman thanks the young lord. Lion-O and Tygra radio Panthro and tell him that the Feliner is down and that they need transport back to Cats Lair. Panthro asks what happened, and Tygra tells him that Mumm-Ra is back. Lion-O tells them that Mumm-Ra will be dealt with soon enough but that first Hachiman needs taking home to Third Earth, and Panthro tells him that he will send Ben-Gali with a hyper-jumpship to transport the samurai. Panthro tells Lion-O and Tygra that he will come and pick them up in the NEW Thundertank!
* This issue, like the previous one, also directly references an episode from the latter half of the cartoon series, in this case “The Jade Dragon”.
* This story is notable for incorrectly spelling S-S-Slithe’s name, removing the first two appearances of the letter “S” and thus spelling it simply as “Slithe”. This is made all the more strange by the fact that Wildstorm’s #0, co-written by Ford Lytle Gilmore (the writer on this issue), spells the Reptillian’s name correctly.
* The error from the previous issue, where the credits stated that the ThunderCats concept was created by “Ed Wolf”, has been corrected for this issue and now correctly names “Ted Wolf” as the creator of ThunderCats.
This issue follows much the same vein as its predecessor, in that it appears to be targeted squarely at ThunderCats fans, and features exciting action, spectacular visuals, and good, solid storytelling. Hachiman’s appearance is a lovely touch for fans of the cartoon, and his battle against S-S-Slithe towards the end of the issue stands out for me as one of the visual highlights of the story!
As with the last issue, there are lots of nice little touches that make this issue particularly enjoyable for hardcore ThunderCat fans. The obvious ones are the inclusion of Hachiman, the Feliner, and the Mutant vehicles, but there are also other, less obvious, ones. Firstly, one of my favourite elements of this issue is seeing Tygra journeying to Thundera to visit the others, and the Thunderkittens’ disappointment that Tygra has to rush off with Lion-O and Hachiman when they have only just seen him again after a long absence. This adds a poignant realism to Tygra and Pumyra having been left behind on Third Earth – after so long living together as something of a family, for one of their number to be left behind whilst the others go to rebuild their home planet would be something you would expect the ThunderCats to find difficult, and this small scene helps to enhance that feeling. Another clever touch is when Mumm-Ra appoints Vultureman as the Mutants’ new General – this is clever and insightful on Mumm-Ra’s part, as Vultureman was regularly shown to be the most ambitious and intelligent of the Mutants, and someone who would have craved authority and status within the Mutant ranks.
Perhaps my very favourite part of this story is when Lion-O and Tygra apologise to Panthro for the crash of the Feliner, Lion-O telling him “sorry about your baby”. Panthro tells them that they know the Feliner’s not his baby, but introduces the new Thundertank as his “real baby”! Anybody who remembers the cartoon will know that Panthro regularly referred to the Thundertank as his “baby”, and this is a lovely, consistent character touch.
Whilst the temptation is to criticise this story for lacking depth, in actual fact most of the depth comes in hidden ways, such as I’ve outlined above – and, once again the art team of penciller Ed McGuinness and inker Jason Martin create beautiful visual storytelling with the dynamic, captivating artwork in this issue. Whilst to actually define “the best” of DC/Wildstorm’s five ThunderCats mini-series is a rather subjective judgement, it’s fair to say that this issue maintains Reclaiming Thundera‘s status as the most cartoon-accurate portrayal of our favourite felines under that company’s banner.