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Avengers: The Initiative #34: Review

May 2010
Christos N. Gage, Jorge Molina

Story Name:

The hammer falls (part 2 of 3)

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers: The Initiative #34 Review by (October 29, 2018)
As with the previous 2 issues the Asgard section of this 1 parallels Siege #3 almost completely from the arrival of Captain America's forces to the fall of Asgard. But not continuing into the aftermath (covered by the start of #35) as Osborn is arrested but Sentry/Void rises as a worse menace. The only parts not touched on in this issue are:- Maria Hill in touch with the government, and the President sending in the Armed Forces to stop and arrest Norman Osborn. Young Avenger Speed on a solo mission to get the Jarvis/Cap briefcase to Tony Stark, because of course it contains an old Iron Man armour for him. And then IM shutting down Osborn's Iron Patriot armour (which is also an old IM suit).

New Avengers #63-64 also portray another view of the battle in Siege #3, except for flashbacks and the 2nd half of #64 which occurs within Siege #4. #63 actually reaches as far as the end of Siege #3 and shows the battle from the Avengers POV, concentrating on Luke Cage, Mockingbird and Ronin. Its 2 flashbacks involve:- Cage and wife Jessica Jones discussing the upcoming conflict, and Jessica staying home with baby Danielle. Clint and Bobbi working out their tensions by going on night patrol and fighting Lady Octopus. #63 ends with Clint searching for Bobbi and finding her trapped under the rubble of Asgard.

#64 shows the battle from the POV of Hood. It's 2 flashbacks have him telling Norman Osborn about the power of the Norn Stones, and using the Stones to empower his gang but telling them the price is that they have to be ready to invade Asgard. His lover Madame Masque fights beside him in Asgard, and the 1st half of the issue ends with Parker Robbins searching for Whitney Frost in the same Asgardian rubble.

Siege: Captain America 1-shot happens here. The initial pages have a Broxton couple photographing the battle through to the collapse of Asgard. Then Steve-Cap and Bucky-Cap emerge from the rubble to save them from Razor-Fist.

The end of Dark Wolverine #83 and the whole of #84 fit here. Daken recovers from being Thor-blasted and seeing a vision from the Norns. Back in Asgard he is trapped with Bullseye and some HAMMER troops by Asgardians. The Norns give him another vision where he heroically covers the others' retreat. But then he rejects the Norns again. This completes DW's Siege issues.

Most of the Thunderbolts/Mighty Avengers crossover has to happen here because Sentry's destruction of Asgard happens in the middle of it. In the 2nd half of TB#141 the TBolts sneak into the Asgardian armoury and find the Spear Of Odin, and the 4 ex-Mighty Avengers find them. In TB#142 they fight over the Spear until Sentry causes the city to fall apart. Ant-Man and Paladin *want* the MAv to take the Spear and keep it away from Osborn, but Scourge/Nuke gets it and chops off US Agent's left arm and leg. This last act is also portrayed in MAv#36 and the plot continues into TB#143 where Ghost helps Amadeus Cho connect with Quicksilver who rushes across the world to save the day by defeating Mr X who wound up with the Spear. Paladin defects from the TBolts to take the Spear into hiding.
Most of MAv#36 concerns Henry Pym and Jocasta defeating Ultron in Underspace.

The non-flashback parts of Siege: Secret Warriors 1-shot also happen here. Phobos learns of his father Ares' death and uses Nick Fury's secrets to gain access to the White House for revenge, but of course the Secret Service get the President away. Meanwhile Fury and Steve Rogers share a moment during the battle for Asgard.

We also get the end of Thor #607 where the media latch on to Volstagg's Internet appearance, and the Thor-clone Ragnarok comes to Broxton hunting Big V. Then in #608 R & V fight, while Balder, Heimdall and Tyr discover that Loki has given Hood the Norn Stones and go after the pair. At the end of the issue Volstagg sees Asgard fall. Then in #609 amidst various fights Balder finds Loki and banishes him.

In the main part of the Siege: Loki 1-shot Loki goes to Mephisto and offers him the service of the cannibal Valkyries the Disir. In return Mephisto gives Hela part of Hell to rule as a new Asgardian Hel. And they now both owe him a favour.

This has a sequel in New Mutants (2009) #11 where Hela gets Dani Moonstar to collect souls for Hel, and she has to fight off the Disir.

In the Siege: Spider-Man 1-shot Spidey and Ms Marvel fight Venom (Mac Gargan) who is using the name Spider-Man in the Dark Avengers.

In the end of Siege: Embedded #3 Keller keeps up the Osborn propaganda by reporting Asgardian casualties, and the reporters see the fall of Asgard.

The Siege: Young Avengers 1-shot shows Hawkeye (Kate Bishop), Hulkling, Patriot, Speed and Wiccan dealing with the collapse of Asgard. (Stature and Vision are still involved in the MAv/TBolts crossover.)

The beginning of our #35 will match up with the end of Siege #3 as Norman Osborn is captured but out-of-control Sentry menaces everyone as Void.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers: The Initiative #34 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
As with the last 2 issues this 1 has scenes in Asgard that closely parallel Siege #3. But the 1st half of the book follows the events in Camp HAMMOND. In both parts we pick up where last issue (and Siege #2) left off.

The Avengers Resistance have invaded the Initiative training base Camp HAMMOND now that most of Norman Osborn's forces are engaged in Asgard. Tigra is attacking the defenders' leader Hood in revenge for what he did to her in New Avengers #35. Hood has promised Night Thrasher (Donyell Taylor) to use his magic to restore his brother Dwayne to life in a clone body. The price is betraying his teammates, and Hood orders him to begin now by killing Tigra. Donyell decides to do what his brother (the 1st Night Thrasher) would have done, and hits Hood instead. Hood shoots his magic guns, and NT and Tigra team up against him. But Parker Robbins unleashes the power of the Norn Stones on them.

Robbins already used the Stones to enhance the powers of his gang. Badd Axe is able to cut Ultragirl's super-body, and Ringer's rings are able to constrain Justice, Boomerang takes down Scarlet Spider, Man-Killer punches out Rage and Living Laser is getting the best of Gauntlet. The only 1 still having some success is Slapstick facing Scorcher. Vance Astro fears that he's led his unprepared team to death, just like the New Warriors died in Stamford after he left them for the Avengers.

Unknown to him 1 of those dead Warriors is alive here as the totally-masked Penance, who is confined to quarters because Osborn and Hood don't trust his loyalty. 2 H.A.M.M.E.R. guards shoot at him with guns that fire SPIN Tech darts that will take away his superpowers. But he stops the darts in midair and blasts his way out of his cell. He then breaks free 3 of the Shadow Initiative (Batwing, Bengal and Butterball) also suspected of being good guys.

Outside things have switched around some. Justice is free of the rings but is under attack by Hood and Scorcher. Then an explosion separates them (caused by Penance), and Hood is just missed by a dagger (from Bengal) pinned through a note which is (at least symbolically) their resignation. Penance unmasks as Speedball to his ex-New Warriors friends. With renewed heart the heroes fight back.

But just at that moment Hood gets a message from Osborn via Loki (Osborn is seen sending the message in Siege #3). Norman wants Hood and his gang in Asgard.  Robbins rounds up the members of his New York gang (we see Brothers Grimm, Griffin, Mandrill and Ringer) and sends them through a magic portal. He's leaving the Initiative recruits (like Badd Axe, Boomerang, Man-Killer and Razor-Fist) to do whatever they can with their enhanced powers. Tigra's not happy because Hood's escaped her, but the tide is now turned.

Meanwhile in Asgard Captain America (Steve Rogers) has led New Avengers (Captain America (Bucky Barnes), Luke Cage, Mockingbird, Ms. Marvel, Ronin, Spider-Man and Spider-Woman), Young Avengers (Hawkeye (Kate Bishop), Hulkling, Patriot, Vision (Jonas) and Wiccan) and Nick Fury's Secret Warriors (only Stonewall is actually seen here) to help the Asgardians against Iron Patriot (Osborn).

At then end of last issue Constrictor, Diamondback and Taskmaster saw Steve-Cap's shield heading for Iron Patriot. Now it rebounds to Cap's hand. Tony Masters decides to kill Rogers. If Osborn wins the day he'll have to be grateful, and if Norman loses then it will up TM's CV when he returns to being a mercenary. But 1st he has to use his own shield to deflect bullets from Bucky-Cap's gun.

There's a 1-panel scene in Siege #3 where Taskmaster challenges Steve-Cap to a rematch but Cap claims not to remember who he is. That scene is repeated here and then expanded. TM is caught between the Cap's. He uppercut's Steve's jaw with his shield and throws his sword to knock Bucky's gun out of his hand. Then he and Steve close in for a fight. Cap gets the upper hand but then tells Bucky to deal with him because TM has studied Steve's moves with his photographic reflexes. Bucky strikes with TM's own sword. Then TM realises he knows *Bucky*'s moves too from WWII newsreels, and gets his sword back.

Just then Hood ports in with his reinforcements (we see Brothers Grimm, Griffin and Mandrill plus Cutthroat and strangely Living Laser and Razor-Fist). But the US Airforce is also attacking the HAMMER helicarrier (the President ordered in the armed forces in Siege #3 to defeat and arrest Osborn). And Iron Man joins Steve-Cap in attacking Iron Patriot.

Meanwhile Constrictor saves his lover Diamondback from an Asgardian. Frank Schlichting thinks they should take the opportunity to quit the conflict. But undercover agent Rachel Leighton (which Frank knows about) moves to join the heroes. Frank turns away thinking she's ditching him, but Rachel says she can tell the good guys he protected her, and that she loves him (which she's never said before).

Facing defeat Osborn contacts the Sentry (currently in the evil Void persona) and initiates a scorched Earth policy. Sentry rockets through the heart of Asgard (which is hovering above the ground outside Broxton, Oklahoma). The city starts to crumble and fall to the ground.


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> Avengers: The Initiative: Book info and issue index

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Jorge Molina
Andrew Hennessy
Edgar Delgado
David Yardin (Cover Penciler)
David Yardin (Cover Inker)
David Yardin (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Joe Caramagna.
Editor: Bill Rosemann. Editor-in-chief: Joe Quesada.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(James "Bucky" Barnes)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Iron Patriot
Iron Patriot

(Norman Osborn)
Luke Cage
Luke Cage

(Power Man)
Ms. Marvel
Ms. Marvel

(Carol Danvers)
Ronin
Ronin

(Clint Barton)
Spider-Man
Spider-Man

(Peter Parker)
Spider-Woman
Spider-Woman

(Jessica Drew)

Plus: Badd Axe, Batwing (James Santini), Bengal (Duc No Tranh), Brothers Grimm, Butterball (Emery Schaub), Cutthroat, Diamondback (Rachel Leighton), Gauntlet, Griffin, H.A.M.M.E.R., Hawkeye (Kate Bishop), Justice (Vance Astrovik), Man-Killer, Night Thrasher (Donyell Taylor), Patriot (Elijah Bradley), Penance, Rage, Ringer, Scorcher, Slapstick (Steve Harmon), Stonewall, Taskmaster, Ultragirl, Vision (Jonas), Wiccan.