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Review of Avengers: The Initiative 13 (3 stars) June 6, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews.
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Overall rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Unfortunately, this issue sees a rather noticeable drop in quality (perhaps due to Dan Slott taking some time off of with issue). Seeing as how our main group of recruits (except Trauma, who we don’t even see this time) left Camp Hammond last time, we are introduced to a new set of characters. Unfortunately, none of these characters are anywhere near as interesting as the last group. In fact, there wasn’t even a significant event to launch the new storyline, like MVP’s death last time. The “main character” of this issue does end up getting “washed out” of the Initiative, but it certainly seems nothing significant and the character was rather annoying anyway, so while I feel sorry for him, I sure won’t miss him.

This character’s name is Emery Schaub (sounds like a mix between an emery board and a cotton swab if you ask me) aka Boulder, though Taskmaster quickly gives him the name Butterball due to his rather pudgy appearance. We come to learn that he is completely invulnerable, but the downside of this is that he is permanently locked in his current state, which is weak, slow, clumsy, and chubby. I realize they are trying to represent the stereotypical comic book nerd, which has been done before, but at the same time is understandable. If Emery had a fun supporting cast, this would probably be an enjoyable issue, but he doesn’t. But as mentioned earlier, none of them really seem to have a good “team dynamic.” That isn’t to say they need to get along, they just need have personalities that make for an entertaining match up, and with the exception of Gorilla Girl (who has lame powers), they all seem to be loners, and a group of loners is never fun.

Still, this issue has some redeeming qualities. We get to see development in Taskmaster’s character as it seems he is actually starting to care about his job. There is an interesting scene between Yellowjacket and new recruit Prodigy in which is sounds like Yellowjacket is trying to convince Prodigy to leave the Initiative (in a subtle and sly way mind you), or if not, he says several things that opponents of the SHRA will be able to quote and use to prove their point (I even winced a bit, being a fan of the SHRA, and thought “boy I wish he wouldn’t have said that.”) Though you have to remember, he is a Skrull. What is his motivation, if any, for trying to get Prodigy to leave? Does he pose some kind of unknown threat? (At least we get the comfort of knowing that if someone tries to quote him, we can say they were quoting a Skrull, and it is therefore a moot point.)

There is also the obligatory (yet still entertaining) fight scene this issue as the new recruits help to stop some villains from taking out their hit on Taskmaster. Perhaps the surprising compliment from this issue has to go to Steve Uy who has really improved his artwork. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be celebrating the day that Caselli returns to art, but until them Uy has finally learned to draw (somewhat) realistic faces and how to make action scenes dynamic. So as I said, this issue is far from the best that Avengers: The Initiative has to offer, but since Slott and Caselli are returning for the Secret Invasion issues, I’m sure there is still a lot to look forward in the coming months. Pick this one up if you’ve been reading since the beginning, but if you’re looking to jump on one of Marvel’s best ongoing series, wait until the Secret Invasion issues start up.




1. Review of Avengers: The Initiative 14 (4.5 stars) « LOTRKing’s Comic Book Reviews and Other Random Stuff - June 26, 2008

[…] issue 13 being mediocre at best, and the original cast graduating in issue 12 (c’mon, you know you miss […]

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