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Avengers: The Initiative #35: Review

Jun 2010
Christos N. Gage, Jorge Molina

Story Name:

The hammer falls (conclusion)

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers: The Initiative #35 Review by (December 4, 2018)
This issue only gives glimpses into the events in Siege #4. A more complete summary of that issue is:- As Void attacks the Avengers Loki realises things are going too far and takes the power of the Norn Stones away from Hood and his gang and gives it to the heroes. Void realises what has happened and kills Loki, destroying the Norn Stones and their power. Iron Man sends the empty HAMMER helicarrier crashing down on Void. Osborn tries to escape but Volstagg stops him. Void has reverted to Bob Reynolds who tells them to kill him before Void returns. Thor kills him with lightning bolts as he's turning, and the Watchtower disappears from atop Avengers Tower. Thor drops the body in the Sun. Many villains are arrested included Osborn and Victoria Hand. Steve Rogers gives his shield back to Bucky Barnes, telling him to continue as Captain America.

This is not the end of Siege #4, but the rest belongs more to the aftermath of the event, which I will summarise in Dark Avengers #16.

There are a few other tie-ins to this part of Siege #4:-

The 1st half of New Avengers #64 is flashbacks to before Siege began. But the rest is Hood and Madame Masque's view of the events, with more details of their escape from Asgard. The issue ends with Masque persuading powerless Hood that he can recover from this. Which leads directly into NAv: Finale 1-shot.

Most of Siege: Embedded #4 is the events from the viewpoint of Ben Urich and Volstagg. The rest will be part of the aftermath.

Most of Thunderbolts #143 was within Siege #3. There's only a little bit  of it here, but there are some epilogues for the aftermath.
The other part of the crossover is only represented by the very end of Mighty Avengers #36 where Wasp joins the rest of the MAv for a heroic charge.

Although I'll use DAv#16 to cover the aftermath, a flashback in the issue fits here. It covers the arrest of villains at the end, but includes a failed escape attempt by Bullseye and Moonstone. Daken avoids capture and escapes by killing a US soldier and using his uniform as a disguise.

This is the end of the Initiative series. But the Avengers Academy is set up with its own series to train new young heroes, and some of our characters will be teachers there. We don't see much of the 50-State Initiative teams after this but in Fear Itself: Youth In Revolt Prodigy will be appointed to organise them to oppose the hammer-wielding Worthy.

Of the villains in this issue only Badd Axe has no further apps at all. Baron Von Blitschlag will only appear in flashbacks but they will be to unseen stuff. Norman Osborn was recruiting new teen heroes who will be future Academy members, and Blitzschlag will be seen in some of their origins.
But strangely heroes Bengal and Night Thrasher (Donyell Taylor) have no apps either. A new New Warriors will reform without him in a 2014 series. (But NT (Dwayne Taylor) will turn up in Contest Of Champions (2015) having been whisked through time before the moment of his death by the Collector. At least that's 1 post-Secret Wars III resurrection that got an explanation.)

Trauma has only had 1 non-flashback app so far, a cameo in Iron Man #600 as part of Leonardo Da Vinci's organisation.
Gauntlet has a tale in Afghanistan in Age Of Heroes #2 and then has to wait years to become Baintronics head of security in Tony Stark: Iron Man #2.
Hood's wife and child will see him in Illuminati (2016) #7 and then fade into obscurity again.

Ringer will be in Secret Avengers v1 #29 and v2 #2, then nothing.
Man-Killer shows up in Amazing X-Men #16-17 (2014) and Thunderbolts (2016) #10,12 so far.
Scorcher will be more visible, next in Amazing Spider-Man #668-669 and most recently in ASM(2018)#6-7.

Hood will escape from the Raft before Academy #8 where some of the students go after him for what he did to Tigra in New Av #35. Then he'll get the Infinity Gems in Av(2010)#7-12. In Av#9 he'll use the Gems to remove Madame Masque's facial scars, but then they'll part ways. Her following app will be Moon Knight (2011) #10-11.

Taskmaster and Constrictor won't stay together. But TM will stay in Japan for a story in AGEOH#3 but return to the US for his secret origin in his 2nd 4-issue mini-series. Then he'll meet possibly is daughter Finesse in Academy #9 before wandering off for many other adventures including the above-mentioned SecAv #29.
Constrictor won't be seen for a while. He'll turn up with TM in SecAv #29. Diamondback won't take up Steve Rogers' offer of the job of running the Initiative. She will be equally invisible for a time until she resurfaces in Captain America (2011) #11-14. (CA: Sam Wilson #5 will reveal that Constrictor and Diamondback eventually get back together again but Frank dies of an illness.)

Some of our chars will be in the Academy series from the beginning. Justice and Tigra with Wasp (Henry Pym) will rescue Reptil from HAMMER scientists in an Enter The Heroic Age tale, and he'll go on to be an Academy student. Steve Rogers will invite J&T to be teachers there in Av#1 (and Pym to be the headmaster). Before taking up the post Justice will meet with old flame Firestar for a 3-part story within I Am An Avenger #2-4 (plus Speedball (ex-Penance) and some other friends in #2) and then as part of general Avengers get-together in the Ant-Man part of #4. The Justice, Tigra and Speedball will start work in Academy #1.
Later Ultragirl is interviewed in NAv(2010)#7 (alongside Tigra among others) for the post of nanny to Luke Cage and Jessica Jones' daughter Danielle, and then visits her boyfriend Justice in Academy #5. We see Tigra's child William Nelson again in Academy #7-8. And Batwing, Butterball, Hardball and Komodo join the 4 heroes for the school Prom in #13.
After that more of our cast pile in for Fear Itself. Justice will sit it out. Speedball and Tigra will be in the FI: Home Front mini. The other 5 will be gathered by Prodigy in the FI: Youth In Revolt mini. He will involve Cloud 9 who gave up superheroing and her costume in a tale in Age Of Heroes #4. Debrii, Rage, Scarlet Spider and Slapstick will also answer the call.
All the chars mentioned in this last section will go on to have more apps, except FI:YIR is the last hurrah for Debrii and Scarlet Spider.

I'll also mention here that Loki will of course be resurrected as Kid Loki in Thor #617.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers: The Initiative #35 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This issue again closely parallels events in the Siege mini-series. It starts off overlapping the end of Siege #3 and continues through Siege #4, but that issue and this both end with Siege aftermath stuff. And again this issue is split between events in Asgard from the Siege series and the Camp HAMMER activities of the Avengers Resistance.

Asgard has collapsed (due to Sentry burrowing through it). Iron Patriot (Norman Osborn) tries to escape, leaving Taskmaster to dig himself out of the ruins and rescue Constrictor who was also partially buried. Frank Schlicting's 1st thought is where Rachel Leighton is, but Diamondback is actually found by her old boyfriend Captain America (Steve Rogers). Frank sees them walking off and figures that was always on the cards, so he goes with TM to find some Goblin Gliders to escape on.

However Rachel tries to persuade Cap to help her find Frank, because she loves him and he's been good to her while she was undercover in Osborn's Initiative. But then they see the other 2 flying off on Gliders. Those 2 meanwhile spot Cap and Luke Cage catching up with Iron Patriot and knocking his facemask off to reveal Osborn's face painted Goblin green. Tony Masters says he just *knew* Norman was going crazy, and he and Constrictor make good their escape.

Now Osborn has lost the whole of his IP armour (because Iron Man disrupted its system in Siege #3). He's faced with Cap, Luke, IM , Thor and Spider-Man, and he's gibbering that he was the only 1 who could save them from *him*, as the Sentry appears - now under the control of the Void persona. (And Siege #3 ends with him changing into the demonic Void.)

The Asgard action continues with Hood and Madame Masque. Suddenly the Norn Stones disappear from Hood's hands as Loki takes them back and transfers the power they gave Hood and his gang to the heroes instead. (In Siege #4 Loki realised the Void was too dangerous so he empowered the heroes to be able to hurt him.) Masque drags Parker Robbins away from Asgard and they steal an army vehicle. On the way out Hood feels the Norn Stones destroyed and Loki dead (true, by the Void's hand in Siege #4).

Meanwhile in Camp HAMMER Osborn's Initiative villains are fighting the Avengers Resistance. But suddenly the villains here lose their extra power too when Loki takes it away. The Resistance (Gauntlet, Justice, Night Thrasher, Rage, Scarlet Spider, Slapstick, Tigra and Ultragirl) now including more members of the pre-Osborn Initiative (Batwing, Bengal, Butterball and Penance) freed last issue. Facing them I see Badd Axe, Man-Killer, Ringer, Scorcher and some H.AM.M.E.R. troops.

But we cut away from what is now a massacre by the heroes to Baron Von Blitschlag's lab. As he listens to news reports of the end of the battle for Asgard, with Sentry/Void dead and Norman Osborn arrested (Siege #4 again) he's destroying records that would incriminate him. But Melati Kusuma (legless and in a wheelchair without her Komodo powers) finds him and pulls a gun on him. Blitzschlag is about to see if his electric power is faster than her trigger finger when the arrival of Cloud 9 tips the balance and he surrenders.

But Cloud 9 is followed by Melati's hated ex-boyfriend Hardball. Abigail Boylen has to stop Melati from shooting him until Roger Brokeridge gets the chance to inject her with something which neutralises the SPIN Tech which took away her powers. And she turns into the reptilian Komodo, complete with legs. But she's still angry with Roger (for betraying the team and her love by joining Hydra (in the Initiative Special), and for making her a captive of Hydra (#23-24)). Abigail reminds her that he kept her safe (while she was a captive) and also he released Dragon Man to save her in the Negative Zone Prison (#27), and she urges Melati to listen to him. But we don't find out what he's going to say because the Baron butts in with a data stick containing damning dirt on Osborn that he wants to trade for a softer sentence.

Outside Gauntlet and Justice accept the surrender of some HAMMER troops, promising a fair deal for any who didn't commit war crimes. The Resistance celebrate, but Tigra is just concerned that not all Osborn's gang have been arrested. And we know her thoughts centre on Hood.

Days later Hood has been caught (in New Avengers: Finale). Tigra visits him in his holding cell. (She used her police credentials to get in. She became a cop in her 2002 mini-series.) She wants revenge for what he did to her in NAv#35. She threatens and strikes him, but doesn't go further. This is because she met his ex-wife and baby daughter and knows that he'll never get to see them again - while *she* can go home to *her* child.

Later there's a party on the roof of Avengers Tower (also seen at the end of Siege #4 and the beginning of NAv(2010)#1). Cloud 9, Hardball, Justice, Komodo, Night Thrasher, Rage, Scarlet Spider, Slapstick and Ultragirl attend (and Melati and Roger seem to be friends). Gauntlet isn't there because he's gone as a soldier to Afghanistan. The Superhuman Registration Act has been repealed, so the NAv and the resistance can come out of hiding. Steve Rogers has been appointed to replace Norman Osborn as head of all law enforcement. Night Thrasher suggests reforming the New Warriors. Justice thinks there should be a replacement for the Initiative to train new young superheroes, like ones he knows Osborn was recruiting (as mentioned in #31).

Tigra joins them with her baby son William and a Cat-People nanny. (We've known she's pregnant since #20, but she doesn't mention here that the father was the Skrull replacement Henry Pym in the lead-up to Secret Invasion.) She says she had a 2-month pregnancy (like a cat) and gave birth between SI and Osborn taking over the Initiative, and she left the baby with the Cat People because Osborn wanted to experiment on it. (This doesn't quite tie in with #25, the last time her pregnancy/child were mentioned. There Osborn had already taken over, Tigra was still pregnant and Osborn threatened to take the child when it was born. So she went AWOL.)

Steve Rogers talks to Diamondback about keeping the 50-States Initiative teams going on a voluntary rather than conscripted basis. He asks her to run it but she asks for time to think it over. Steve correctly guesses Rachel's concerned about her relationship with Constrictor who hasn't been in touch. We see Frank Schlichting in Japan with Taskmaster contracting for mercenary work. He too is distracted, and carries 2 of Rachel's exploding diamonds with him.

There's a last page round-up of news about other characters:- Butterball has taken Batwing to replace the U-Foes as North Carolina's Initiative team. Bengal has returned to his family and opened a martial arts school. The others are chars not in this issue:- Debrii has stayed in Paris and become a judge on a TV super-talent show. Prodigy has become a motivational speaker and is trying to reform the Slingers. There are only rumours about what Trauma is up to.


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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

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Loki
Loki

(Loki Laufeyson)
Luke Cage
Luke Cage

(Power Man)
Spider-Man
Spider-Man

(Peter Parker)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)

Plus: Badd Axe, Baron Blitzschlag (Wernher Von Blitzschlag), Batwing (James Santini), Bengal (Duc No Tranh), Butterball (Emery Schaub), Cloud 9, Debrii (Deborah Fields), Diamondback (Rachel Leighton), Gauntlet, H.A.M.M.E.R., Hardball, Iron Patriot (James Rhodes), Justice (Vance Astrovik), Komodo, Man-Killer, Night Thrasher (Dwayne Taylor), Penance, Prodigy, Rage, Ringer, Scarlet Spiders (Michael Van Patrick clones), Scorcher, Slapstick (Steve Harmon), Taskmaster, Trauma, Ultragirl.