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Avengers: The Initiative #25: Review

Jun 2009
Christos N. Gage, Humberto Ramos

Story Name:

Avengers: The Initiative disassembled conclusion

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers: The Initiative #25 Review by (July 12, 2017)
This is Humberto Ramos' last issue - he's pencilled and inked the whole of this Avengers Initiative Disassembled arc. His style is highly distinctive but has never really clicked with me.

Dr Burke and her Wellness Center were also seen in the Annual doing similarly dodgy psychiatric work under orders from Henry Gyrich, making sure Armory didn't tell anyone about accidentally killing MVP in the training session in #1. She isn't seen again.

In New Avengers #46 during Secret Invasion Hood discovered that the source of his power is the demon Dormammu.

On the last page there are 2 mystery figures. Going by his appearance next issue with some of the other chars here I would guess that the pale-haired figure with its back to us is Vampiro. The flaming flying figure isn't Living Laser who's standing below, and it can't be Hood's demon form because Hood is in the picture too.

The heroes here are mainly from earlier issues of this series. MVP's father and the clone he accepts as his son were told about what happened to MVP by the New Warriors in #10-12. The Great Lakes Initiative (formerly GL Avengers, etc) were last seen in #19 during SI. Penance was dumped from the Thunderbolts in their #126, before Norman Osborn created his Cabal (including Hood) in SI: Dark Reign. Nevada's Heavy Hitters appeared in the Av:I Special. Then the NW plus Diamondback, Prodigy and Trauma were at the end of the old Initiative and Camp Hammond in #23. Taskmaster and Komodo were part of the Shadow Initiative team rescued by HAMMER from Madripoor in #24. Komodo agreed to stay with the Initiative then, and appeared since with her Arizona Desert Stars team in Marvel Assistant-Sized Special #1. That was when Osborn created his Dark Avengers in DAv#1. Later Gauntlet cameoed in Guardians of the Galaxy #10, Justice met old friend Nova in his #20, and Tigra joined some old chums from West Coast Avengers to help their pal War Machine fight Ultimo in his #8-10.

Some of the villains haven't been in Hood's group before:- The U-Foes were last as a group before World War Hulk in She-Hulk #17-18, although Vector and X-Ray have very recently been in War of Kings: Darkhawk #1. Scorcher was last seen before SI in Last Defenders #1. But Brothers Grimm, Cutthroat, Griffin, Living Laser and Razorfist were all with Hood in NAv#50, and all but Laser were in Hood's tale in DR: Cabal. Hood himself then organised a hunt for Tony Stark in Iron Man #12-13. Norman Osborn was in those IM issues, and in most of WarM#1-10. Ares was in some of those WarM things too. After Ms Marvel #37 Moonstone joined NO and Ares in Captain America #48, and she and NO were last in Thor #600 as the hero got thrown out of Asgard.

Norman Osborn kicks off future apps with Agents of Atlas #8 then he's joined by Ares and Moonstone for WarM#11-12 and the whole DAv for Dark Wolverine #75-77. He's with Moonstone for MsM#38 and most of the DAv for the DR: Hawkeye mini-series. They have too many apps after that to continue with. But meanwhile Hood and his gang, including Brothers Grimm from here, get involved with Marvel Zombies 4, then Hood pops in to Deadpool: Suicide Kings with a few other gangers. And villain/hero Taskmaster is in a Deadpool #9/Thunderbolts #131 crossover also including NO. Then NO, TM, Hood, Brothers G plus Cutthroat, Diamondback, Razorfirst, Scorcher and the U-Foes from this issue will be in the flashback section of next issue (#26) as NO announces some new Initiative teams. Griffin and Living Laser will reappear in the Hood mini-series which follows immediately after.

The heroes will wait until the main section of #26 to show up:- The Avengers Resistance (Gauntlet, Tigra and the New Warriors) plus Komodo, Penance and Trauma. The Heavy Hitters will appear in #28 but the members of the Great Lakes Initiative will have to hang on until the Age Of Heroes mini. And we've never seen MVP II and his dad again.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers: The Initiative #25 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The New Warriors bring Michael Van Patrick's body to his father Brian's Mississippi farm. They retrieved it from Camp Hammond in #23 where it was kept since he died in an Initiative training session in #1 - and his body was cloned to produce the 3 Scarlet Spiders and the MVP who took his place at home (Annual #1). Patrick is now the only surviving Spider since #22.

Brian had come to terms with his son Michael's death, and accepted the identical clone MVP as a replacement. But modified Patrick reminds him of the fact that his son's body was experimented on. And the Warriors remind him of the whole affair. So he asks them all to leave.

The Warriors welcome Patrick into *their* fugitive family. And Night Thrasher says that as Donyell Taylor he can use Taylor Foundation money to fund the next stage of their mission to keep tabs on Norman Osborn and his version of the Initiative.

(The other Warriors are Debrii, Justice, Rage, Slapstick plus Ultragirl who joined them from the Initiative in #23.)

Meanwhile Osborn takes Taskmaster to see Penance in the San Francisco Burke Wellness Center. NO has been recruiting villains as his new Initiative members, and TM's task is to train them to appear to be heroes while surreptitiously continuing their criminal careers. But he needs some actual heroes to make it seem legit.

Penance (Robbie Baldwin) is still in his self-punishing outfit trying to atone for his part, as Speedball in a previous New Warriors, in the disaster that killed so many people in Stamford - and sparked off the superhero Civil War. Since Osborn terminated his employment as a Thunderbolt in their #126 he's been heavily drugged and thrown into this psychiatric facility. Now Norman has a use for him again.

He reminds Robbie how he helped the 'Bolts save Washington in Secret Invasion. But he also reminds Baldwin of Stamford. But he promises Penance another chance to make up for that. He must do whatever Taskmaster tells him - and Robbie Baldwin is pathetically grateful.

Later Gauntlet and Tigra are ordered to come see Osborn in his Avengers Tower HQ. Sgt Green is ready to accept whatever punishment NO dishes out - he feels guilty for helping cover up the original MVP's death. But he's not sure he can stomach working for the man. Tigra also hates Osborn but is willing to continue in the Arkansas Initiative team, doing whatever good she can.

Tigra is called in to be interviewed. She finds Osborn flanked by Ares and the Dark Avengers' Ms. Marvel (Moonstone). Karla Sofen demands to know if Greer Grant knows where Carol Danvers (the real Ms. Marvel) is. (She's presumably (and correctly) not certain that Danvers really did die in MsM#37. But that won't stop her from taking over MsM's mag for the next few issues.) But NO seems more concerned that Tigra went AWOL recently. She explains it was to help a friend (James Rhodes in War Machine v2 #8-10 - but Norman should know all about that because he was involved as Iron Patriot).

But what NO is really interested in is that Greer is pregnant with a half-Skrull baby after sleeping with the Skrull replacement for Henry Pym leading up to Secret Invasion. The confidential file he read says she intends to have an abortion. But he wants the hybrid foetus for scientific experiments. Although he's not too bothered whether he gets it by abortion now or waits for her to deliver it alive.

Ares stops her from attacking Osborn, who responds by offering her the carrot of being a paid government superhero but allowed to operate totally independently. And then adds the stick in the form of the Hood, the Initiative's new Chief Operating Officer, who with his gang terrorised her in New Avengers #35 and Annual #2. Hood says he can do it again if she doesn't go along with the plan.

Osborn sends Tigra home to think about it, and Ms. Marvel to stay with her while she does.

Then he calls in Joseph Green who accepts his dismissal as instructor for the Initiative cadets. He's also happy to be sent back to his old unit in the Middle East. But Norman wants him to leave behind his alien Gauntlet - something else to be scientifically dissected. Green points out that it won't come off, it's bonded to his arm. Osborn offers the services of Ares and his axe.

Outside Karla Sofen is bitching about the revealing old Ms. Marvel costume she's forced to wear, which as usual is attracting the paparazzi. Then they see Ares plummet from the top of the Tower. Tigra suggests Moonstone go help him, but Sofen's not leaving her side. So the werecat slashes the front of her costume and escapes while the press surround Karla to photograph her bare breasts.

Gauntlet too escapes by jumping out of the window he threw Ares through. NO tells Hood to send some men after the pair - some of his supervillains who are now official Initiative members. Parker Robbins contacts Griffin, Living Laser, Razor-Fist and Scorcher. He sends them some items with their quarry's scent for Griffin to track. They are to bring back Tigra alive, but they only need Gauntlet's arm.

Meanwhile Osborn and Hood continue with their interviews. Next up is Diamondback. Hood briefly reviews her mixed career as both villain and heroine. But he thinks she's always just been looking out for Number One. And she fulfils his expectations by agreeing to work for them.

Trauma arrives with his resignation as Initiative counsellor. Many of the new intake have personality disorders, especially Penance who was improving under Doc Samson's care at the Thunderbolts HQ before Osborn took him away. And Norman wants Trauma to just make them obedient, not cure them.

But Hood seems to threaten his family and Terrence Ward responds by trying to use his power to show the villain his greatest fear. But it doesn't work. Hood claims Trauma's power is magic-based and the source of his own power has a non-aggression pact with the source of Terry's. Ward doesn't understand what he's talking about.

Hood says Terry's real father is Nightmare. And his mother isn't in a psychiatric ward because of something Terry did, as he's always thought, but because of her liaison with the demon. However Hood's 'sponsor' may be able to cure his mom if Trauma will do what they say. Terry gives in.

Next day Osborn flies Prodigy to Las Vegas. Ritchie Gilmore is ready to work for Norman because he always felt the previous Initiative administration held it against him that he opposed the Registration Act and Iron Man in Civil War. NO says any enemy of Tony Stark is a friend of his, and promises that Prodigy will be free to be as heroic as he wants as long as he also obeys whatever orders Norman gives him. And then he of course adds a threat - Gilmore can always go back to prison.

Osborn introduces Prodigy to the rest of the Nevada Initiative:- Gravity, Nonstop and Telemetry. Then he drops a bombshell. Prodigy will take over from Gravity as the Heavy Hitters' leader. And Greg Willis is moved to lead the team in his home state Wisconsin - the Great Lakes Initiative (Big Bertha, Doorman, Flatman, Mr Immortal and Squirrel Girl), usually considered a joke rather than a super-team.

Back in New York Gauntlet and Tigra are together and still on the run - in the sewers. Hood's 4 villains track them down and attack. But they're saved by a cave-in that spares the heroes because it's controlled by Justice. The duo accept an offer to join the New Warriors, but Tigra insists on renaming them all the Avengers Resistance.

Later Osborn welcomes his Initiative to their new Camp HAMMER HQ in the New Mexico desert. As well as Hood and the 4 gang members mentioned earlier we see the Brothers Grimm, Cutthroat and the U-Foes (Ironclad, Vapor, Vector, X-Ray). And as well as Diamondback, Penance and Taskmaster we see Komodo.

Humberto Ramos
Humberto Ramos
Edgar Delgado
Humberto Ramos (Cover Penciler)
Humberto Ramos (Cover Inker)
Edgar Delgado (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos.
Editor: Jeanine Schaefer.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Rachel Leighton)

(Karla Sofen)

(Greer Nelson)

Plus: Gauntlet, Gravity (Greg Willis), Griffin, Initiative, Komodo (Melati Kusuma), New Warriors, Night Thrasher (Donyell Taylor), Penance, Prodigy (Richard Gilmore), Razor-Fist, Scorcher, Trauma.

> Avengers: The Initiative: Book info and issue index

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