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Avengers: The Initiative #7: Review

Nov 2007
Dan Slott, Stefano Caselli

Story Name:

Triple threat

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers: The Initiative #7 Review by (November 3, 2015)
Stefano Caselli's back as artist after 1 issue off. Senator Woodman is the man who got Hardball to steal a SPIN sample in #3-4. I don't think SAGE is mentioned again. The Vulturions were enemies of Spider-Man in Web Of Spider-Man #1-3. Their leader Honcho got the required flying tech from Vulture in prison, then recruited 3 mates as his gang. He's now got 2 new wing-persons. But he and his team will never been seen again. It will be revealed that Baron Blitzschlag was a Nazi super-'hero' in WWII, with a lightning power that suits his name. His power has waned with age. Action Pack will make a few more appearances. The only character with a Marvel life outside the team is Frog-Man, who's been bouncing around since Marvel Team-Up #121. But #19 will unveil the version here as a Skrull imposter. Spider-Man is deep in his Back In Black story arc, here (with some other apps) between Sensational SM #40 and Amazing SM #543 (according to the Official Index). Peter Parker revealed his super-id in Civil War to support the Superhuman Registration Act, but later switched sides and thus became an outlaw when Iron Man's side won. Aunt May was shot in ASM#538 by an assassin hired by Kingpin. This will all lead up to One More Day and Mephisto rewriting Peter's life.

After this Henry Peter Gyrich will go for a meeting with Senator Woodman in the 1st story in Annual #1. The flashback in that story will tell us how 2 aliens fought in space and their weapons fell to Earth. Sgt Green's troop got to 1 alien's gauntlet and sword and fought off Hydra. The gauntlet fused to Joe Green, making him Gauntlet, and he brought the sword back. The 2nd story features Violet Lightner (ex-Armory) under psychiatric care for her suicidal tendencies. More flashback reveals that her Tactigon was the weapon of the other alien. There's a review of her brief superheroine career, but Violet doesn't tell her psychiatrist what actually happened in the Initiative. The doctor contacts HPG to tell him the secret of MVP's death is still safe. In the 3rd story we learn that Woodman is actually part of Hydra, and we get Roger Brokeridge (Hardball)'s back story. His brother Paul was crippled in the super-wrestling game, and his parents can't afford medical treatment. Roger goes to kill the new Power Broker who gives the super-wrestlers their powers, but instead allows PB to power *him* up. He intends to use his powers for crime but accidentally does something heroic and gets recruited to the Initiative. Hydra bought HB's contract from PB and intend to make him a full Hydra agent. The 4th story shows us Von Blitzschlag creating the MVP clones. The 1st clone is sent back home to his family (where Justice and Cloud 9 find him in #4) to pretend that Michael has been rejected. We are told that although related to Abraham Erskine who created the Captain America serum, Michael just became the perfect physical specimen through diet and exercise. We also see Taskmaster learning all MVP's moves so he can train later clones, and learning Iron Spider's moves so he can train them to be the Scarlet Spiders.

Finally in story 5 we meet Philadelphia's Initiative team the Liberteens.. It turns out their leader Revolutionary is a Skrull infiltrator. He reports to a Skrull in Camp Hammond (who we don't know is Yellowjacket) and we discover a plan to have a Skrull in every Initiative team.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers: The Initiative #7 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Avengers Tower was destroyed in World War Hulk. Now Dr Von Blitzschlag takes Senator Woodman there to emphasise the importance of his Scientific Advisory for Gamma Emergencies (SAGE). They are with a bunch of gamma scientists and some top secret documents, protected by SHIELD Capekillers, en route to a secure bunker for a meeting.

Woodman pretends to be worried about the risks to the scientists and documents out here in the open, but Blitzschlag says he's arranged extra security. This causes the Senator to signal 'abort' to 3 circling fliers. But the Vulturions are already committed to the attack.

1 of them grabs Blitzschlag's briefcase. The Capekillers fail to shoot the villains down. Blitzschlag tries to fire an electric blast from his hand, but it fizzles out. His extra security is the 3 cloaked Scarlet Spiders. But they are more concerned with the well-being of their 'father', until he sends them after the thieves. Woodman objects that the Spiders aren't supposed to be seen in public, but Blitzschlag ignores him.

Back in Initiative HQ and training base Camp Hammond, Justice, with Cloud 9 in tow, has demanded a meeting with War Machine and Yellowjacket. He wants to know if MVP is really dead, and if so why is there a Michael Van Patrick at home in Kentucky (as they discovered in #4)? This is news to James Rhodes, but Henry Pym hides behind 'national security'. WM may be director of the base but he works for the international SHIELD agency, while the Initiative is a US military program.

The 'discussion' is interrupted by an emergency that needs Henry and Jim in the War Room. Justice is unhappy, and tells Cloud 9 they should take matters into their own hands.

Henry Gyrich's emergency is the public appearance of his stealth agents the Scarlet Spiders - part of his special forces team. This is something else Rhodes wasn't aware of.

Meanwhile Peter Parker is (literally) hanging around outside May Morgan's hospital room - his Aunt May registered under a false name because she's in danger from Spider-Man's enemies since Tony Stark convinced him to reveal his identity during Civil War. In fact that's why she was shot and is now dying. And Peter can't visit her because he's a fugitive.

Just then he sees the Vulturions flying past - and realises they can't be quite the ones he's fought before because 1 of these is a female. And when the Scarlet Spiders swing past in pursuit, wearing the Iron Spider costumes Stark designed for Peter, Parker finally has someone he can take his anger out on.

We now cut to the HQ of the Kentucky Initiative Team Action Pack (Frog-Man, Prima Donna and Vox). Every Initiative site, including the training camp, has a portal to the Negative Zone prison. Justice and Cloud 9 make an unauthorised entry through the portal and out through a new hole in the wall. Action Pack report this to the Stamford HQ, but they're too busy with the Scarlet Spider problem.

But when Justice and Cloud 9 get to the Van Patrick farm they find it deserted. Vance Astrovik sends Cloud 9 back to base, but he's not coming with her. He persuaded Michael to join the Initiative (in #1), and now he sees it as his responsibility to uncover the truth about what happened to him.

The Spiders are firing at the fleeing Vulturions when PP in civvies lands on top of 1 of them. 1 of the other Spiders turns back to help his teammate. But that leaves the 3rd Spider to get ganged up on by the Vulturions. The battle is televised and watched by Tony Stark, and by J Jonah Jameson with Betty Brant.

The 2 Scarlets persuade Parker to help them fight the villains. Next thing we know a guy in a standard Spidey costume attacks the Vulturions while they're beating up the 3rd Scarlet. The V's scatter, and the female 1 runs into someone in a black Spidey suit. The 1 named Honcho with the briefcase gets web-zapped by Peter Parker.

It turns out that the Spidey 'costumes' are an illusion generated by the Scarlet Spider suits. The 3 Spider-people reconvene with their captives around the injured Scarlet. Peter hands over the briefcase and the 3 Scarlets do him a favour.

They use their suits' mimetic properties to all adopt Parker's civilian outfit, in front of the TV camera. They say that he is 1 of their government-sponsored team with special suits that can imitate Spider-Man and his powers - but due to his recent actions he's now going to be dropped from the roster. This sows doubt in the public's mind as to whether Peter was really Spider-Man when he unmasked in Civil War. (And Betty Brant reminds Jonah that Peter once pretended to be Spidey, way back in Amazing SM #11.)

The Capekillers take the Vulturions into custody. The Scarlet Spiders return to Blitzschlag's lab where he has the body of MVP on ice. When they unmask we learn that they are clones of MVP, who Blitzschlag has named Michael, Van and Patrick.

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


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Peter Parker)
War Machine
War Machine

(James Rhodes)

> Avengers: The Initiative: Book info and issue index

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