Examples from the original series:
- Ensemble Dark Horse:
- Songbird is by far the most popular member and has been involved in every incarnation of the Thunderbolts, as a member or not. She is usually the represented member if the Thunderbolts are mentioned, became a playable character in the second Marvel Ultimate Alliance game and quite a few fans even requested that she make the cut for Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
- Moonstone is also pretty popular (albeit dangerously close to being a Draco in Leather Pants) thanks to her being an entertaining Magnificent Bastard.
- Amusingly, these two breakout characters were chosen by Busiek for opposite reasons: he wanted to use Screaming Mimi because she was a blank slate that he could do anything with, but he wanted Moonstone because she was too well-defined and awesome a character to pass up. While neither is really a mainstream A-list character, the series put both of them on the map.
- It Was His Sled: The Thunderbolts were actually the Masters of Evil. Despite this, the initial twist still works.
- Magnificent Bastard: Zemo, Moonstone.
Examples from the "Fightbolts" Re Tool:
- Audience-Alienating Premise: This particular re-tool featured none of the original Thunderbolts (with the exception of Man-Killer, who showed up in the last two issues), and an entirely different premise, and was marketed as being "for real men only". To say that it didn't catch on would be an understatement.
- Dork Age: Most Thunderbolts fans would prefer to forget that this re-tool ever happened.
Examples from the Warren Ellis Re Tool:
- Ass Pull / Deus ex Machina: The ending of "Caged Angels".
- Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Jack Flag, a character previously most notable for his red, white, and blue hair, saves a woman from a group of rapists even though he knows doing so will result in imprisonment in an alternate dimensional prison (which it does). He's later recruited for the Guardians of the Galaxy.
- American Eagle. He went from a Native American meteor-powered super hero with an outfit fit combining the worst aspects of The Village People and the Fourth of July, to a Badass Biker weary hero who doesn't take gruff from anyone, and delivers Laser-Guided Karma to Bullseye in an oh-so-satisfying manner.
Examples from Andy Diggle's Re Tool:
- Ass Pull: Because Mr. X has the ability to read people's minds and predict every move they make, excuses were constantly made for why he just got beaten, and they mostly came across as these.
- Ensemble Dark Horse: Ghost went from a fairly obscure Iron Man villain to a fan-favorite thanks to his role in this series.
- Nausea Fuel: The Ghost's lack of hygiene is sickening; after being hit with a sonic bomb by Deadpool, he threw up in his helmet and never cleaned it out.
- Crack Pairing: Moonstone and Man-Thing.
- Later, Satana and Man-Thing, which makes slightly more sense (but not that much more).
- Crazy Awesome: Not so much a character but a concept. Using Man-Thing as the team transport. All thought up by resident mad genius Hank Pym.
- The Raft's last line of defense against a water escape? Huge bio-cybernetic jellyfish. Also implied to have been created by Pym.
- Luke Cage makes his introduction by jumping out of a plane and slamming to a landing. Ladies and gentlemen, your new leader...
- Troll riding a dragon.
- Les Yay: As mentioned on the main page, the greeting Satana gave to Moonstone◊.
- Nausea Fuel: Issue 171, the issue has Songbird being kidnapped, having unsolicited brain surgery by a Mad Scientist, who looks like THIS◊ and waking up later with his mutant minion sucking her toes◊.
- The Woobie: Troll has her moments, such as the downcast look on her face shortly after getting taunted by other prisoners, or her run-in with past!Songbird, who she hasn't figured out doesn't know her yet.
- They Changed It, Now It Sucks: The general reaction to Songbird's redesign.
- Although her look was gradually shifting to her old design (that is, she's letting her hair grow long). By issue 171 when it was back to previous lengths it was reverted to a mohawk design.
Examples from the Daniel Way Re Tool aka Anti-Hero All-Star Cast:
- Broken Base: The general reaction to the announced team was They Changed It, Now It Sucks, but after some time and a new creative many have warmed up to the team. Although a vocal faction still does wish to see a return to the original Villains forced/attempting to do good or more specifically a return of fan favorites like Zemo, Moonstone, Songbird and etc.
- Moral Event Horizon: Red Hulk crosses it when he tries to murder Punisher just because he quits and gleefully responds to an enraged Elektra, who finds out about it shortly after, that she can't prove it and should be quite before he kills her too. Though it turns out Red Hulk was not the one responsible. He was just too proud to explain himself.
- Nausea Fuel: Deadpool swimming naked during the Honduras arc.
- Take That, Scrappy!: The final issue has Deadpool deliver a blistering "Reason You Suck" Speech to Red Hulk and his idea of the Thunderbolts.