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Avengers: The Initiative #11: Review

Apr 2008
Dan Slott, Stefano Caselli

Story Name:

Killed in action part 4 of 4: Worst case scenario

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers: The Initiative #11 Review by (November 30, 2015)
This is the 1st mention of the Zero Room, and we still know little about Mutant Zero beyond the mental instability mentioned in #5. This is also the 1st indication that James Rhodes is now a cyborg inside the War machine armour. Hardball learned in #8 why Komodo doesn't like reverting to her human form, but it was not made clear to us. We get another hint here that Melati lost her legs, but we won't know the whole story until the Special. Slapstick's cartoon body includes the typical infinite pocket from which the character can produce any required object, like a huge wooden mallet.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers: The Initiative #11 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Last issue ended with Cloud 9 taking Hardball and Komodo to find the MVP clone who was pretending to be the real Michal Van Patrick, and finding him in Tennessee with Justice and other ex-New Warriors from the Initiative ranks. This issue starts by filling in what happened in between.

Cloud 9 is using her solidified cloud to fly them out of Camp Hammond. The berserk MVP clone self-styled KIA is shooting at them after downing most of the other inhabitants of the base, and Baron Von Blitzschlag has sent them on the mission to find the other clone. Komodo takes the hits because she'll be able to regenerate the damage later. Her lover Hardball can't stand that anymore and wants to use his energy balls to fend off the blasts.

The 2 remaining Scarlet Spiders (KIA killed the other 1 last issue) distract the enemy while Cloud 9 steers for the portal to Prison 42 in the Negative Zone. 1 of the few troopers still standing phones ahead.

When they get there they find War Machine waiting for them. (He took Dragon Man to the prison in #8.) Cloud 9 explains the situation to him (and to the reader). KIA has the alien morphing weapon the Tactigon and he's attacking everyone with it. Blitzschlag gave them a helmet with which to copy the brain waves of the good MVP clone. Then they can use it to overwrite the mind of the evil clone.

They need to use the portal to the Tennessee Initiative site because MVP is in that state. They suggest James Rhodes blow up that gate behind them to stop KIA following. War Machine considers that a too dangerous option, but after they've gone through he dismisses the rest of the staff and prepares to face KIA alone. We see that fight start.

The 3 trainees have now found the good clone at Bulls Gap using a tracker Blitzschlag gave them, but the ex-New Warriors (Debrii, Rage, Slapstick and Ultragirl as well as Justice) don't trust them because Justice had discovered that the Initiative authorities had been covering up about MVP's death (#1) - and that Cloud 9, Hardball and Komodo knew about it.

The 3 are tied up. They have explained (again) the plan to copy the good clone's brain into Blitzschlag's device. They then only have to get near KIA and press a button to do the transfer. But they've also admitted that the device might wipe Michael's mind during the extraction.

Michael and his father have been on the run from the Initiative. Mr V P doesn't know/believe Michael is a clone. And he certainly doesn't believe any clone of his son could be dangerous like KIA. So he doesn't want Michael to take the risk. But Komodo points out that they found him via an implanted tracker (and Justice found them too), so they can't hide from the Initiative.

The argument is cut short when KIA arrives.

Back at Camp Hammond Henry Peter Gyrich surveys the bodies littered all over the place. His companion, the mysterious Mutant Zero who protected him last issue, has to go back to the Zero Room to stave off her mental instability. The 2 surviving Scarlet Spiders are trying to help their injured 'father' Von Blitzschlag. The 3 of them used to continue each other's sentences. Now with 1 missing there are gaps in the flow of their speech. Gyrich orders them to go after KIA.

They go via the Negative Zone where the defeated War Machine is recovering. He removes his faceplate to get some air and reveals a scarred cyborg face, which surprises everyone around him. Rhodey calls in Iron Man and SHIELD against HPG's orders. But the Spiders don't wait for the reinforcements. When they step through the portal to the Tennessee HQ they find everyone dead, and they follow KIA's trail of destruction.

At Bulls gap Justice attacks KIA with his mental power. But the clone strikes him down - Vance Astro was on his list of targets because he recruited the original MVP into the Initiative. Slapstick tries next. KIA's normal attacks can't hurt his cartoon body, but the Tactigon finds his weakness and disrupts the molecular bonds of his electroplasm substance.

The other ex-NWers have freed the other 3 trainees. They are on KIA's list because they were there at the training session where 'he' died. Now Hardball and Komodo attack together. Komodo is fearless because of her reptilian healing power. But the Tactigon injects Melati's legs with an alien poison that will kill her faster than she can regenerate.

Hardball drags his lover away. Ultragirl is trying to revive her lover Justice. Cloud 9 doesn't know what to do as Debrii and Rage take their turn at bat.

Then the Mighty Avengers (or at least Iron Man, Ms Marvel, Wasp and Wonder Man) come to the rescue, and take on the fight themselves.

Meanwhile Cloud 9 is once more trying to persuade Michael to use the helmet, and his dad is still arguing against it. She reminds him how they (or at least the original) met on her 1st day at camp, and how there was an immediate mutual attraction - she sensed a hero that day. Roger amputates Melati's legs to stop the poison reaching her heart, despite knowing that is her worst fear. He reminds her that she'll grow new ones in her reptile form, while he uses his energy ball power in a new way as a large surrounding forcefield to shield her from further harm. And Justice starts to revive.

The Avengers are doing no more than hold their own when Cloud 9 announces she's realised KIA's weakness. She approaches the raging battle, and KIA warns her away. She goes to him and says that he could have killed her many times in the past day but never did - he makes a feeble excuse about her not being a threat. Seeing her in danger makes Michael put the helmet on, but his father stops him. KIA mumbles his mantra that she's 'on his list', but Abby interrupts with a kiss.

The crowd watches with bated breath. Then Abby fills KIA's lungs with her cloud gas. As he hurls her away everyone else piles on him, including the 2 Spiders who've just got there.

But Michael has another idea - if the helmet might wipe his mind while copying it, then maybe it'll do the same to KIA. While the Spiders (also MVP clones) hold KIA with their multiple techno-arms Michael jams the helmet on his head. And it works with a zap.

Later everyone licks their wounds. Iron Man reverses the disruption to Slapstick's molecular bonds, and he's good as new. Abby and Michael have a tender moment. He's going to live his life as if he is the original. And Slapstick picks up the discarded helmet, with a flashing sign saying it's ready to transmit the stored brain pattern to a new body. He puts it in his infinite pocket, figuring it might come in useful for a practical joke ... or something.

Stefano Caselli
Stefano Caselli
Daniele Rudoni
Steve Uy (Cover Penciler)
Steve Uy (Cover Inker)
Steve Uy (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
War Machine
War Machine

(James Rhodes)

Plus: Vance Astro (Major Victory).

> Avengers: The Initiative: Book info and issue index

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