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Avengers: The Initiative #21: Review

Jan 2009
Christos N. Gage, Humberto Ramos

Story Name:

Avengers: The Initiative disassembled part 1

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers: The Initiative #21 Review by (February 8, 2017)
This issue is part 1 of the 5-part Avengers: The Initiative Disassembled. For this issue only the cover borrows the insignia from the Avengers Disassembled event.

Christos Gage has been co-writing this series with Dan Slott, but now he takes over scripting solo. Humberto Ramos takes over pencils and inks with Edgar Delgado on colours, and they do the cover too. And Jeanine Schaeffer becomes editor. About the only person to provide continuity is letterer Joe Caramagna.

Hydrobase was a fake island created as a base by villain Dr Hydro. Its inhabitants, Hydro's victims turned into amphibians, featured for a while in the 1968 Sub-Mariner series. Stingray got involved and it became *his* base, which he later let the Avengers use. It is this 'island' which Sunspot turns into the base for his AIM in the 2016 New Avengers.

Typhoid Mary was created by Ann Nocenti and John Romita Jr in Daredevil #254. She started a romance with Matt Murdock in her Mary Walker persona but her Typhoid persona was hired by Kingpin to kill Daredevil.

Norman Osborn wants the Ms Marvel costume for Moonstone to use in the Dark Avengers.

Melee disappears from view in this series here. She only makes 1 more showing in Fear Itself: Youth In Revolt #1.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers: The Initiative #21 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
After Henry Pym declined to take up the role of his Skrull imposter last issue that leaves Gauntlet/Sgt Joe Green in charge of the Initiative, but he's still trying to persuade someone else to take the job. Hellcat says she's got to get back to Alaska where she's the only team member. Tigra has to return to the Arkansas team to train up the real Razorback, who we saw last issue as 1 of the returned abductees who had been replaced by Skrulls during Secret Invasion. Stingray was only a trainee but he used to run Hydrobase - but he's now been appointed leader of Hawaii's Point Men after the loss of Devil-Slayer, Magnitude and 3-D Man in the last few issues. Gargoyle is an old man (he fought in WWI) and he's retiring. And no-one wants the job now they'll have to answer to Norman Osborn ...

... except maybe Baron Von Blitzschlag, but Gauntlet's not giving the job to an ex-Nazi. Who at this moment wakes from a nap in his lab to see that Ragnarok the cyborg/clone of Thor has woken up.

SHIELD is flying the Shadow Initiative (Bengal, Constrictor, and Mutant Zero) and their new leader Taskmaster and temporary add-on Komodo on their covert mission to Madripoor. Taskmaster is worried about MZ's loyalty since he worked out her identity last issue. He promises not to tell anyone, but she just takes her mask off and announces her name Typhoid Mary. The rest of her team found out during SI (in #17), so only Komodo is unaware that she the person who did crazy things like sleeping with Daredevil as well as fighting him. Komodo says the target of their mission is her ex-boyfriend terrorist Hardball, so she's in no position to criticise Mary.

TMaster asks TMary why she joined the Initiative instead of Hood's villain gang. She says she was granted a pardon, and they promised to help integrate her 4 personalities. Which she says has not been too successful so far.

Back at the Camp Hammond HQ the latest batch of graduating Initiative trainees get their assignments. Red 9 is going to join the Georgia team. Annex and Geiger are destined for New Mexico. Batwing will be in the Shadow Initiative. Melee will stay behind as a martial arts instructor. Gorilla Girl has been allowed to go on reserve status - she's just thankful she's survived this long and doesn't expect her luck to continue. Ex-cons Prodigy and Sunstreak are kept back on probation. Prodigy complains to Diamondback (a fellow trainee who seems to have joined the Camp staff) that he's not a real criminal like Sunstreak, just an anti-Registration protester.

In his basement lab Blitzschlag wants to know how Ragnarok recovered from his damage. But the cyborg ignores that and just demands his hammer. The Baron says it's locked in a vault but he only has 1 of the 2 keys needed to open it. However the Thor clone just rips the door off and grabs his mallet. The scientist tries to use command codes to control the errant machine but they have no effect (presumably all part of Skrull-Yellowjacket's revenge-from-the -grave plot as seen last issue). The clone seems to believe it is the real Thor, and when Blitzschlag tells him he's an android Ragnarok smites him with a lightning bolt from the hammer.

Meanwhile Ultragirl has been called to the Admin Building where a lawyer tells her she must hand over her costume, an old Ms Marvel thing that Carol Danvers gave her as a graduation present in #12. Apparently Carol had signed over the rights to the name and costume to the Avengers for charitable purposes. Now Norman Osborn has inherited those rights and he wants the costume back. The lawyer reminds Suzy Sherman that she used to be a New Warrior, and the current members are deserters from the Initiative and are now wanted fugitives. Suzy protests that Iron Man agreed to their unofficial role (#12 again), but the lawyer replies that Osborn is reversing a lot of Tony Stark's decisions.

In the counsellor's office SI abductee Thor Girl has come to see Trauma. But she doesn't seem to have any psychological problems he can help her with. Actually she just wants to know what bad things her Skrull replacement did, and she heard that Terry Ward knew her well. Terry tells her that it would be inappropriate for him to be her counsellor because that Thor Girl had a crush on him. But Tarene doesn't really hear him because she reacts to the sound of Ragnarok's attack.

They rush outside to see the clone blasting the place with repeated thunderbolts. Thor Girl immediately attacks, and both Thor people accuse the other of being an imposter. Tarene starts to lose the battle because her power is much less than the clone's since she gave most of her power to Odin to defeat Surtur in Thor (1998) #40. Ragnarok is about to (possibly) kill her when other heroes take a hand.

Sgt Green blasts the cyborg with his gauntlet. He tells gamma-powered Doc Samson to stay with him to fight, and sends others to evacuate civilians. But Trauma says he'll take on this battle alone. He becomes the clone's greatest fear - the real Thor. Doubt assails Ragnarok as the 1st mighty hammer blow decks him. But then he realises that 'Thor' isn't throwing his magic hammer or using it to hurl lightning - he's an imposter. And a mighty blow KO's his opponent who reverts to Terry Ward.

Gorilla Girl was leaving in a taxi when she saw and heard Ragnarok's thunderbolts. She stopped the car and headed back to the Camp. She's had to struggle through fleeing citizens who as usual were protesting outside the gates. Now she grabs Ragnarok to stop him killing Trauma.

But the cyborg easily throws her off, and Fahnbullah Eddy figures her luck's finally run out as the easily-distracted Thor-clone turns to kill her. Except the New Warriors pop up to distract him again.

Humberto Ramos
Humberto Ramos
Edgar Delgado
Humberto Ramos (Cover Penciler)
Humberto Ramos (Cover Inker)
Edgar Delgado (Cover Colorist)


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