Before I start this review, allow me to say that I'm shocked this series is still ongoing. I honestly didn't think this series would make it past issue #12, but with this issue we reach the quarter century mark. Don't take that comment to mean I dislike this series, to the contrary, IMO this is THE best Avengers comic out there today! Yeah, I know, I say that all the time, but it's damn true! Look at the competition. Dark and New are both written by the bane of my existence, the DREAD LORD BENDIS, while Dan Slott is still busy trying to build Mighty into something great. While the other Avengers titles have been floundering(once again IMO)Initiative has been a fresh, different kind of book since its inception, and as far as I'm concerned, THE only good thing to come out of the Civil War x-over. I could go on and on comparing the Initiative to the other Avengers books(believe me, I could!), but I'm going to hop off my soapbox and begin this review instead. This issue is written by Christos Gage.
-Woooooooo! What a great comic this was!!!
-This comic opens with the New Warriors bringing the corpse of the original MVP back to his father in Mississippi. MVP's dad takes the body, and asks that the Warriors leave and never return, stating that seeing them hurts too much. Justice agrees to go, but the Scarlet Spider, who is one of MVP's clones is devastated by MVP's father's wish.
-From there we follow Norman Osborn and Taskmaster(the new head trainer at the Initiative)as they visit Penance... Oh poor Robbie... How Marvel has dragged your name through the dirt... Anyway, Penance is more of a basket case than usual thanks to the drugging he received as he was thrown off the Thunderbolts, and Osborn tells him if he wants to make amends for all the death he caused in Stamford, Connecticut, then he has to follow Taskmaster's orders to the letter. Robbie(being a basket case)profusely thanks Osborn and Taskmaster for the opportunity... Poor Robbie...
-Next up, Osborn(now back in Avengers Tower)has a meeting with Tigra. Osborn tells Tigra he knows that she was impregnated by Skrull Pym, and that he wants the baby, since a half Skrull/half human hybrid could be very useful in case the Skrulls come back. Tigra outright refuses, and Osborn tells her that he's either getting the fetus now, or he'll wait until she delivers and that he'll take possession of the kid then. Tigra tells Osborn that she'll go to the media, but Osborn astutely points out that there's no way the public would side with an unwed mother who's carrying a half-Skrull child. Osborn then sends Tigra away, but has Moonstone follow her so Tigra can't try anything funny.
-Next, Osborn brings Gauntlet in for a meeting. Osborn tells Gauntlet that he's reassigning him from Camp Hammond back to his former unit in the Middle East. Gauntlet is overjoyed to be returning to his men, but Osborn states that before Gauntlet can go, he has to leave the gauntlet attached to his arm behind. Gauntlet tells Osborn that the weapon can't be removed, and Osborn tells him that he knows a surefire way to remove the gauntlet, the axe of Ares! Gauntlet knocks Ares out the window and meets up with Tigra who was still being led away by Moonstone. After ridding themselves of Moonstone, the two heroes run away.
-Osborn's Dark Reign teammate, Hood, places a call to some c-list criminal associates of his and tells them to go and capture the two runaway heroes.
-Osborn continues his meetings, one with Diamondback, who he forces to stay with the Initiative through threats and intimidation, and Trauma, who is forced to stay on board after the Hood promises to cure his mother of the insanity that is currently afflicting her. Trauma also learns during this meeting that his father is Nightmare.
-From there, Osborn replaces Gravity as the leader of the Nevada Initiative team with Prodigy, and sends gravity back to Wisconsin, where he is greeted by the Great Lakes Avengers(!!!).
-The two runaway heroes, Gauntlet and Tigra have taken to the sewers, figuring that whoever Osborn sends after them won't be able to track them down due to the stink. Unfortunately, Hood's goon squad does track them down, and the two heroes stage a last stand of sorts. Before they are defeated, Justice and his New Warriors swoop in to make the save. The New Warriors, along with Gauntlet and Tigra all have the same goal, to reveal to the world that Norman Osborn is still the criminal scumbag he's always been, and that his Avengers are a bunch of criminals in disguise. In an attempt to take back the once proud Avengers name, the collection of heroes rechristen themselves the Avengers Resistance.
-This issue ends with Osborn opening the doors to the new Camp HAMMER, which will serve like Camp Hammond did, except Camp HAMMER will be be training criminals to act like heroes... HA!
I frigging loved this comic! THIS is the way the Avengers books should be! Christos did a marvelous job depicting Norman Osborn here. This was actually the first time since this whole stupid Dark Reign thing sprouted up that I've enjoyed reading a comic that had Osborn in it. He wasn't annoying like how BENDIS usually writes him, he was pure evil. Pure evil Norman Osborn is waaaaay better then stupid/annoying Osborn.
I can't say I'm overwhelmed with the Initiative now training both heroes and villains, but as long as Christos continues writing this comic as well as he wrote this one, I really don't care what he does! I enjoyed this comic from cover to cover. Every scene was well done, and this comic also did a great job at setting up future events. I said it before, and I'll say it again, this series is THE best Avengers book on the market, period! For a score, I'll give this comic a 10 out of 10. I didn't want to give this book a perfect score(I just gave a perfect score to War of Kings #5 a few days ago), but I couldn't find one part of this comic I didn't like. Brilliant job Christos! Please, keep up the great work!