Civil War: Initiative #1: Review

Feb 2007
Brian Michael Bendis, Marc Silvestri

Story Name:

Civil War: the Initiative

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Civil War: Initiative #1 Review by (January 21, 2015)
Brian Bendis, the current writer of New Avengers, scripts most of this issue, but Warren Ellis does the duties for his Thunderbolts. Eric Basaldua and Michael Broussard do backgrounds behind Marc Silvestri's pencilling. They are part of the Top Cow team which also provides inking and lettering. This issue is really a collection of promotions for post-Civil War series (as Decimation: The Day After was after House of M). The new material obviously points to Omega Flight and the new Thunderbolts era. But Spider-Woman being told Captain America is still alive will lead in to New Avengers #28, and the last bit prefigures Mighty Avengers. Also after the specially-written stuff there are extracts from Iron Man #15, Mighty Avengers #1, Captain America #25, Omega Flight #1 and Avengers: The Initiative #1. Note that Cap's been shot before this story, but his assassination in CA#25 is advertised above. (It came out some time in the same month as this.)

Michael Pointer figured in NAv#16-20. The energy of the mutants depowered at the end of House of M entered him to create the Collective. Somehow the villainous Xorn (previously killed on (New) X-Men #115) took over the new being. He's referred to here as Weapon Alpha, but will actually join Omega Flight as the new Guardian. Later he'll be known as Weapon Omega, and join the Dark Avengers. Guardian-style uniforms have been worn in Alpha Flight by James Hudson as Guardian and Heather Hudson as Vindicator. They've sometimes been in the team together, and confusingly sometimes used each other's codenames. Mr Fantastic's medical questions are presumably about creating the special version of the Guardian suit Michael will wear in OF to control his power. The Omega Flight lineup shown in a pinup here is Arachne, Beta Ray Bill, Guardian, Sasquatch, Talisman and US Agent, but Bill never really joins the team. Sasquatch and Talisman are old Alpha Flight members. Arachne is Julia Carpenter, a substitute Spider-Woman. She took the new name in Ms Marvel #6 during Civil War. Beta Ray Bill is a Thor substitute last seen in his own limited series Stormbreaker. US Agent was a Captain America substitute last seen in Civil War: Choosing Sides where he accepted this job.

Hurricane claims to have been active for 9 months, but this is his only appearance. The Thunderbolts pinup shows the lineup with Green Goblin and Songbird as well as those seen in this story. This is the group starting from #110. The Official Index has some of them going after Nova in his #2-3 before their regular series apps start. But I have a proposal before the Marvel Continuity Project that will bring their early cases starting from #110 to soon after this issue. Strangely this is part of a scheme to explain away lots of Dr Doom apps while he's supposed to be in prison after Mighty Avengers #11. Moonstone, Radioactive Man, Songbird and Swordsman are carryovers from previous Thunderbolts teams. Bullseye and Venom (Mac Gargan, ex-Scorpion) were part of the controlled-villain Thunderbolts squad used during Civil War to hunt the anti-registration forces. Penance is Speedball's new guise, seeking redemption after the Stamford Incident. Green Goblin will actually appear as Norman Osborn, running the team for Tony Stark after the events in CW: Front Line. Ms Marvel was a regular on Iron Man's team of pro-registration heroes during CW, despite some sympathies with members of the opposition. She'll help him choose the Mighty Avengers team (including herself) in the flashbacks in MAv#1-2, and accept leadership of a secret Operation: Lightning Storm team within SHIELD in MsM#13. Let us not forget that Jarvis and Spider-Woman are at this time are really Skrulls, but they are very good at playing their roles.

Ms Marvel says Spider-Woman was there for the worst moment in her life. This was probably Avengers Annual #10 after Carol had escaped from Marcus Immortus and had her memories and powers stolen by Rogue. Spider-Woman saved her life and took her to Prof X for help. Spider-Woman thinks Iron Man hates her because of her quadruple-agent status revealed in NAv#14 - secretly working for Nick Fury while an Avenger, and pretending to work for Hydra and SHIELD. (They don't even know about the 5th strand - being a Skrull infiltrator.) She'll take the news about Cap's supposed non-death to the New Avengers in NAv#28. Nick Fury hired Spider-Woman before he was fired from SHIELD after his Secret War, and I believe she started working for Hydra/SHIELD before the Skrull Queen Veranke took her over. But she's been Veranke throughout NAv. Nick Fury's been behind the scenes in many issues, currently working with Winter Soldier a lot. Grey Gargoyle started life as an enemy of Thor but has popped up infrequently all over the place. He escaped from the Raft in NAv#1 and Spider-Man: Breakout. Since then he's been in Fantastic Four: Foes and She-Hulk (2005) #10. He'll attain probably his peak in Fear Itself as 1 of the Worthy. The OI says next major event Iron Man will be involved in after the formation of the Mighty Avengers in the MAv#1-2 flashbacks is the Fallen Son mini-series involving Cap's funeral. But I have proposed to the MCP that part of the NAv#28-30 flashbacks will happen before FS, and the proposal has been accepted. More on that in comments on FS#1(Wolverine) and NAv#28. I will include more general comments on the Initiative era in the FS series.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Civil War: Initiative #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
While flying towards Avengers Tower Iron Man reviews a recording of an interview with the incarcerated Michael Pointer, the Collective. Reed Richards runs through a medical checklist and then hands him over to another guy, who tries to verify that he's not still under the influence of Xorn. And then tortures Michael by playing a video of him murdering Alpha Flight in New Avengers #16.

The erstwhile Alaskan postman was an unknowing mutant with the power to absorb mutant energy. He absorbed the power of Xorn and  was taken over. He destroyed his home town then crossed into Canada where he had the fateful encounter with Alpha Flight.

His interrogator gives his name - Walter Langkowski. Then of course transforms into Sasquatch, the only survivor of the massacre. He offers Pointer a chance to redeem himself by donning a version of the Guardian/Vindicator costume and joining the new Omega Flight.

Continuing on his way Iron Man taps into an ongoing mission for the Thunderbolts in New York, taking down an unregistered hero Hurricane. He's attacked by Venom, then Radioactive Man. Penance passes him on to Bullseye. Moonstone has been controlling the operation. She now blasts a hole in the floor below their prey, who falls to the waiting Swordsman. As they drag away the battered hero to meet the waiting TV cameras Moonstone tells Bullseye to disappear as they're not supposed to admit he's part of the team.

Then Iron Man arrives at the Tower to be greeted by Ms Marvel, who tells him she found Spider-Woman fighting Grey Gargoyle. Carol Danvers flew in to supply the finishing punch. Unregistered Jessica Drew tried to escape but Ms Marvel just wanted to talk. Carol asked good friend Jessica to register, but Jessica wouldn't join the side that killed Captain America. Ms Marvel responded that Cap isn't dead - he's undergoing life-saving surgery in the Raft prison.

Jessica also thought Tony Stark hates her. Carol reassured her that Tony just wanted her and Nick Fury to come in from the cold. She also asked Spider-Woman what she and Fury were up to, but Jessica confusedly denied they were up to anything. And Ms Marvel let her fly off.

Now Ms M faces up to the Golden Avenger's disapproval for letting Spider-Woman go. Stark still believes Fury is plotting against him and SW is working for him, which makes her a traitor. Carol reminds him that 'once an Avenger always an Avenger', and her parting shot is that Jessica isn't completely wrong.

Inside the Tower Avengers' butler Jarvis suggests that the world still needs Avengers, and Tony has the chance to build the team he wants. Stark asks Jarvis who he would suggest. Jarvis says anybody but Tigra. Tony reviews loads of files (including Tigra).


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> Civil War: Initiative: Book info and issue index

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Marc Silvestri
Joe Weems
Frank D'Armata
Marc Silvestri (Cover Penciler)
Marc Silvestri (Cover Inker)
Marc Silvestri (Cover Colorist)


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)

Plus: Alpha Flight, Omega Flight, Xorn.