Sunday, May 10, 2009

Avengers: The Initiative #23

This is the third part of the storyline, "Avengers: The Initiative, Disassembled". Sadly this series seems to be on its last legs... However, I still hold out some hope that this series will continue in one form or another. These characters are just too good to disappear.

-We start this issue at the remains of Camp Hammond after the battle with Ragnarok. Justice of the New Warriors spills the beans about the cloning of MVP by the Initiative to the media, and Gauntlet, the senior member of the Initiative, has to give a no comment on the situation.

-As the New Warriors leave, Ultra Girl asks to go with Justice and he accepts her back on the team.

-The remaining members of the Initiative begin to sift through the wreckage in search of casualties. The Initiative members who didn't know about the cloning of MVP are naturally outraged, and Trauma begins to take the blame for the death of MVP, but ultimately Gauntlet absolves him of any responsibility and takes the blame.

-Gauntlet then lays the blame of keeping Ragnarok at Camp Hammond at the feet of Henry Gyrich, Skrull Pym and Baron Von Blitzschlag. Blitzschlag explains that the US military was aware that Ragnarok was there at the highest levels, but he would take the blame, since he was used to standing alone.

-Norman Osborn arrives at the Camp and gives the media an impromptu press conference where he says that he was going to keep the Fifty State Initiative program running, but he would be closing Camp Hammond permanently. Osborn goes on to say that there would be an Initiative program, but like SHIELD, it needed a lot of retooling.

-Meanwhile, in Madripoor, the Shadow Initiative has come face to face with Initiative turncoat Hardball, who along with Scorpion is leading a faction of Hydra. Komodo tries to attack Scorpion after Scorpion taunts her, but Komodo winds up getting shot with a gun that removes her powers. Seeing that Hardball could remove any of their powers, the Shadow Initiative decides to run away, leaving Komodo behind.

-After regrouping, the Shadow Initiative argues about whether they should stay and rescue Komodo or if they should get out of Madripoor and warn SHIELD that Hydra had weapons that could shutdown superhuman powers. Before they can decide, they discover that SHIELD is no more and that most likely they won't be getting any SHIELD transport out of Madripoor. As this issue ends, Bloodscream and Roughouse of Wolverine fame begin to sneak up on the Shadow Initiative.

My love for this series continues, even as it comes to its seeming end. As I've stated before on this blog, I'm a sucker for the lesser known Marvel heroes and villains, and this comic delivers all of the c-list heroes I can handle! From Blitzschlag's teary reaction near the dead body of one of the MVP clones, to Komodo refusing to believe her ex-boyfriend Hardball had really turned to the dark side, this series is really a treat every month.

With Camp Hammond closing shop, it would appear that in a few issues this series will also be shutting down. I'm STILL hoping that even if this series gets the axe, a new series starring these characters will sprout up down the road, because let's face it, Joe Quesada loves putting out new comics so he can get speculators to purchase new issue #1's.

Next month should focus heavily on the Shadow Initiative storyline, as we find out the fate of Komodo, Hardball and the Shadow Initiative itself. Personally, I hope Hardball survives this encounter and joins up with the Shadow Initiative, although that is looking less and less likely with each passing issue. I've liked Hardball from early on in this series and I really hope he doesn't get killed off as this storyline rumbles towards its conclusion. For a score, I'll give this comic an 8 out of 10. Once again, this series is the best of the Avengers books this month.

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