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Avengers: The Initiative #4: Review

Sep 2007
Dan Slott, Stefano Caselli

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Story Name:

Green Zone

Review & Comments

3 stars

Avengers: The Initiative #4 Review by (February 15, 2010)
A tie-in the WORLD WAR HULK, this story takes place during the events of WWH #1-2. The issue is collected in WORLD WAR HULK: X-MEN. The actual battle with the Warbound is seen in flashback in the next issue.

Avengers: The Initiative #4 Review by (February 15, 2010)
This issue and next are part of World War Hulk, but they still manage to progress the Initiative's own storyline (unlike Iron Man #19-20). p1-6 are considered part of the WWH Prologue, where Hardball steals the SPIN bullet. p7-17 occur during WWH#1, up to Iron Man's defeat. The encounter with the Warbound in p18-22 coincides with WWH#2 and will be continued in a flashback next issue. We see Hardball stealing and handing over SPIN sample A-1. He must have replaced it with a correctly-labelled dummy (how did he know what they would look like?) because that's the 1 we see Iron Man using against Hulk. This explains why the SPIN tech doesn't depower Hulk in WWH#1. We learn that Hardball's betrayal has got his family's debts erased. But last issue it seemed like he was being blackmailed over how he got his powers (which we don't know about yet). Von Blitzschlag makes a joke about his work being Un-American because it's the opposite of the motto 'E Pluribus Unum' - 1 from many. This is presumably a reference to the cloning of the dead MVP to make several Scarlet Spiders - which we are only starting to get hints of. Justice takes Cloud 9 with him to tell Michael Van Patrick's family about his death, but they find Michael there and apparently alive. But they get called away to the WWH situation before they can find out what's going on. Henry Gyrich and James Rhodes didn't know about the Illuminati and SHIELD sending Hulk into exile in space. But apparently Yellowkacket did, and sends War Machine with the SPIN bullets to where Tony Stark is readying the Hulkbuster armour. It seems Stark set up the Initiative partly as a defence against Hulk's possible return.

We also learn that Dr Strange has rallied fellow non-registered heroes to the cause, as seen in WWH#1. We specifically see Luke Cage, She-Hulk, Spider-Man and Spider-Woman. WM is surprised that some of them agreed - the Initiative tried to use SPIN against Spidey last issue, and IM himself used it to remove Shulkie's powers in her #18. Tony mentions that he's restored them for the duration of the emergency, which explains why she suddenly appeared in WWH#1 in Shulk-form. Luke Cage and Spider-Man are part of the New Avengers with Dr Strange. This issue suggests that Spider-Woman is too, confirmed by comments in WWH#2 from other NAv'ers. At the time this was published she was, but just about to defect to the Mighty Avengers. But the Official Index places WWH after that whole sequence of NAv and MAv issues, so SW is actually in the MAv here. This is not the only connection between WWH and early MAv that the OI and Marvel Chronology Project had to ignore. See my comments on Sentry in WWH#1. Drill-Sergeant Gauntlet sends the trainees with instructor-in-training Triathlon to help with the evacuation. They witness Iron Man's defeat and the destruction of Avengers Tower at the end of WWH#1. Then Rage persuades all but Komodo to disobey Triathlon and go join the fighting. Then they run up against Hulk and his Warbound just after they've defeated the Avenging group in WWH#2, which here (as there) adds Ares, Doc Samson, Ms Marvel and Wonder Man. We also see Henry Gyrich readying a team he calls the Shadow Initiative to go on their 1st mission - to rescue the disobedient trainees. We'll learn who they are next issue.

Slapstick is a teen with cartoonish powers who had his own 4-issue mini-series. Then he teamed up with New Warriors in Marvel Comics Presents #159-163, and in She-Hulk (2005) #8 he helped ex-NWers after the Stamford disaster. Teen Rage was an Avenger in their #329-342, then a New Warrior in #22-75 of their original series. He bopped around the Marvel Universe after that, culminating in some minor apps on the anti-Registration side during Civil War, including the aforementioned SHu#8. Triathlon (with powers derived from the 1950's 3-D Man) is a later addition to the MU, becoming an Avenger in their 1998 series. He was never a New Warrior, but did serve on the anti-Registration side in Civil War.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers: The Initiative #4 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro
The Initiative is a group of young superheroes being equipped by the Avengers to serve in various parts of the United States; their trainer is Jim “War machine” Rhodes. As the story opens, one of the recruits, Hardball has been pressured by an outside agent to steal a piece of Stark’s new S.P.I.N. technology. Hours later, the Hulk’s ultimatum is broadcast to the world and the Initiative is dispatched to support the Avengers in Manhattan, restricted to crowd control and stopping looters. Stark’s new S.P.I.N. technology is used to try to weaken the Hulk, but it fails, and only Hardball knows that it is because of the missing part which he stole. When Iron Man is defeated, one Initiative member, Rage, talks some of this teammates, Hardball, Cloud Nine, Komodo, Thor Girl, Ultra Girl, and Slapstick, into joining the battle against the invaders. They rush downtown, turn a corner, and find themselves face-to-face with Hulk and the Warbound, standing over the bodies of the defeated Avengers.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Stefano Caselli
Stefano Caselli
Daniele Rudoni


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)


> Avengers: The Initiative: Book info and issue index

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