It is fair to say ThunderCats is one of the most highly anticipated comics of 2024. The first issue of the Dynamite Entertainment comic book adaptation received over 170 thousand pre-orders. As impressive as that is, it does not answer the big question on the mind of most fans. Namely, which version of the ThunderCats is this new book about?
The first issue follows the same plot points as “Exodus”, the premiere episode of the original 1985 ThunderCats animated series. We are introduced to the titular feline heroes, the last survivors of the doomed planet Thundera. Placed in stasis for the journey to the sanctuary world of Third Earth, they are nominally led by Lord Lion-O.
However, Lion-O’s stasis pod malfunctions and the heir to the throne ages normally as he sleeps. This leaves him with the mind of an impatient teenager and the physique of an adult male. It has also leads to conflict with his mentor, General Panthro, who still sees his student as a boy unfit to lead, despite his skill in combat.
This conflict is tabled with the arrival of the the Mutants of Plun-Darr. They land on Third Earth seeking to wipe out what remains of their archenemies, the Thundarians. However, there are ancient and powerful evils that are also awakened by the ThunderCats’ arrival.
New ThunderCats Comic A Worthy Revival
The script by Declan Shalvey moves as quickly as Cheetara in establishing the core characters. Notably, this first issue takes care to establish Lion-O as being impulsive rather than foolish. This is important, given some episodes of the cartoon raised questions as to why the ThunderCats allowed the naïve Lion-O to rule them.
The first issue also contains two major twists that deviate from the show’s story. This makes it clear that the comic will be its own thing while being firmly loyal to the core concepts that made ThunderCats so popular in the first place. Those fearful of another ThunderCats Roar can rest easy. This series is all about action and drama, with little comedy beyond the ThunderKittens arguing while hunting.
The artwork is equally action-packed. Drew Moss has a style that evokes the classic anime influence of the original series’ animation. The same is true of his character designs, which updates the ThunderCats’ costumes with more practical pants rather than wrestling singlets. The most notable change is Tygra’s prominent mustache, which makes the character look more like the wise mystic he was meant to be.
All in all, ThunderCats #1 is a solid start for what promises to be the revamp fans have been dreaming of for years. It is also a welcome introduction to the franchise for new readers. Once again, ThunderCats are on the move, and it’s about time.