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Review of Avengers: The Initiative 11 (4.5 stars) April 17, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews.
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Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Just when I think this series can’t get any better, I’m proven wrong. This, along with Thor, has become my favorite ongoing. The issue starts with a brief flashback to shortly before last issue ended, with Cloud 9, Hardball, and Komodo using the 42 jump point. Here they run into War Machine, who elects to stay behind and hold off KIA. (But not before showing us the insanely awesome gadgets that give the suit its name.) Unfortunately, even his best is no match for the Tactigon, as KIA disables him quickly.

Back in Tennessee, KIA makes a dramatic entrance before we cut back to Camp Hammond. Here, we get some more cryptic information about Mutant Zero involving a “Zero Room,” and the two remaining Scarlet Spiders leave to enter the fray. Whilst en route, they run into a tattered War Machine, who has to take off his mask to breathe. Here, we see that he is actually some sort of cyborg. I’ll admit, I’m fairly new to the finer points of Marvel continuity, and if this is a new revelation, I’m just as eager to find out more as the rest of you. What could have happened to require this major change? Does Tony know about this? Just another mystery that’ll keep bringing me back…..

The story cuts back to the massive fight, and we get to see an act of bravery from almost all of the major characters. Perhaps even better, each “act” really fits each character, further proving that despite the large cast, Slott and Gage know how to create characters that aren’t 2D. At this point, the cavalry arrives in the form of the Avengers (half of them anyway). While this really added to the coolness level of the issue, I do have two gripes about this part. Apparently none of the creators of A:TI read Mighty Avengers, as Simon is still in his old costume (which seems to happen everywhere but MA; this is getting as annoying as the Black Widow long hair/short hair conundrum), and Iron Man is giving the orders instead of Ms. Marvel. But this isn’t the first the time Marvel has thrown continuity out the window, and it unfortunately won’t be last, so that doesn’t affect my feelings toward this issue too much.

Of course, sealing the utter awesomeness of this issue, is that Cloud 9 is the one to save the day (okay, with some help from MVP clone 1.0), further proving that she is the coolest character in this series, and I hope that she stays around for a long time. (Seriously, causing someone to choke on a cloud while kissing them? How cool is that? Cloud 9 mini-series please!)

At the end of the issue, Cloud 9 and MVP clone 1.0 resolve the romance between them that never happened, and they pretty much decide to go their separate ways (at least that’s how I took it). But that is pretty much the only resolution that this arc gets, as I am left with three burning questions. First, most obviously, when and where will the “KIA memory helmet” resurface again? Will Slapstick really use it? (I’m not sure whether to be amused by his character, or creeped-out by him.) Second, what will happen to the Tactigon now? Surely Gyrich will remove it from KIA, but is it going back into storage? Are they going to be stupid and try to use it again? Or (preferably) will Armory return? (Seriously, she could probably help to turn the tide in Secret Invasion if they just let her fight.) Lastly, the one question that is bugging me is, what happened to Hank Pym? Surely one of Marvel’s oldest characters hasn’t been killed off without Marvel making a big deal about it. So was the Pym that was “killed” the Skrull? If so, how did he survive? Or was Hank quickly replaced after his “death”? If so, did he really survive somehow (like shrinking extra small like he did in that one explosion?) This is the question that is bugging me the most, and I’m hoping that we’ll find out soon.

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