When the Avengers and the Fantastic Four seemingly died fighting Onslaught, many super-villains rejoiced. Most took it as a chance to fulfill their dreams of greed or power without the interference of meddling heroes. And one villain saw an opportunity for even greater conquest.
Baron Zemo, always quick to spot a chance for attaining his dream of world domination, envisioned a brilliant plan. The heroes were gone, and the common people were left, without hope. Who better to give them hope than a new group of heroes? He assembled a team of villains, gave them new heroic identities, and presented them to the public as the Thunderbolts super hero team.
Zemo selected his villains carefully to create a workable, controllable group. His first recruit was the Fixer, whose technical ingenuity would become a cornerstone of the Baron's plan. Zemo found the Beetle after yet another of the latter's failed robbery attempts and easily convinced him to join. He discovered Screaming Mimi after the death of her partner, Angar the Screamer, and offered her sanctuary, which she gratefully accepted. The Fixer then freed Goliath from imprisonment in the dimension of Kosmos; Goliath, in gratitude, swore loyalty to Zemo as the architect of his release. Finally, this new team staged a breakout at the super-villain prison called the Vault, liberating a great number of villains to cover its true goal: freeing Moonstone. She was perhaps the most unexpected choice, considering the fact that she had betrayed Zemo when she was a member of his Masters of Evil group. But as the Baron himself explained, the team needed a trained psychiatrist to help guide its members in their heroic identities.
After intensive training, Zemo unleashed his new team upon the world as the Thunderbolts. And it worked. Six disguised villains--Citizen V (Baron Zemo), Techno (the Fixer), MACH-1 (Beetle), Songbird (Screaming Mimi), Atlas (Goliath), and Meteorite (Moonstone)--soon became New York City's newest, most welcomed protectors.
The common people, afraid after the loss of their foremost heroes, eagerly embraced the newcomers as the stalwart champions they appeared to be. Within a few weeks, the "T-Bolts" had utterly won the city's devotion and the trust of its officials.
Not long after its debut, the team encountered a young woman named Hallie Takahama, who had been given superpowers through horrible experiments. Meteorite convinced Zemo to allow "Jolt" to join the team, secretly hoping to create a power base of support from which she might eventually overthrow the Baron's authority.
The Thunderbolts fought a number of supervillains, including the Wrecking Crew, the Circus of Crime, a paramilitary cadre called the Rat Pack, the Mad Thinker and his Awesome Android, Arnim Zola, Kang's Growing Man, the Elements of Doom, and perhaps most ironically, a new incarnation of the Masters of Evil! Zemo took great offense at the usurpation of his old team's name, but could do little about it while posing as Citizen V.
The sudden, unexpected return of the Avengers and the Fantastic Four gave Baron Zemo incentive to step up his plan for world domination. He leaked the T-Bolts' identities to S.H.I.E.L.D., thus ensuring that they would be forced to rely on him for protection. In a final, massive conflict, several T-Bolts rebelled against Zemo and foiled his master plan. After a brief adventure on Kosmos, they returned to Earth and tried to establish new civilian identities for themselves; the deception lasted only a brief while before they were discovered.
Current Status: The remaining Thunderbolts (Atlas, Jolt, MACH-1, Moonstone, and Songbird) must now face the hatred of the people they deceived with their heroic hoax, as well as the wrath of Baron Zemo, who is now intent on revenge. Their short-lived roles as fugitives have come to an abrupt end, and it seems likely that they will either be captured by agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or destroyed by Zemo's revenge. For now, though, the Avenger Hawkeye is leading the team, hoping to steer it in the right direction, because he knows what it's like to be a fugitive seeking acceptance as a hero. Techno is no longer a member of the Thunderbolts. He remains loyal to Zemo and continues to create new technical devices to further the villain's plans.
Signature Equipment: Thanks to Techno's mechanical skills, the Thunderbolts had the very best in personal equipment and technical support. Techno's expertise rescued Atlas from Kosmos, assembled MACH-I's armor, and created a sonic harness for Songbird from Klaw's old sonic converter. Techno's own tech-pac represented a vast improvement over the devices he had used as the Fixer. The only additional piece of equipment regularly utilized by the Thunderbolts was the V-Wing, which was created to transport the nonflying team members easily.
V-Wing: Hull Strength 15. Flight 6 (Passengers; Limit: Can carry up to eight people).
Noteworthy Members: While the team was in the good graces of New York's populace, mayoral aide Dallas Riotdan served as its liaison to the city. She and Atlas began a relationship, which was cut short by the revelation of the T-Bolts' true identities. Dallas was fired and even threatened with a grand jury indictment for aiding the team, but the case was dropped before it got to court. Since her political career effectively is over, it is unclear where Dallas will appear next.