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Review of Avengers: The Initiative 14 (4.5 stars) June 27, 2008

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

With issue 13 being mediocre at best, and the original cast graduating in issue 12 (c’mon, you know you miss Cloud 9 already), I was really worried about where this series was going to go. Such worries look to be in vain. This issue takes the awesomeness from the earlier WWH tie-ins, and then steps it up a notch. Much like recent issues of Mighty and New Avengers, the story opens by giving us full light on many of “Hank Pym’s” actions. We learn that he used Super-Skrull abilities to survive his two recent near death experiences, not his lame “I shrunk real small” excuse. It also seems that he was indeed opposed to the creation of the “MVPeople.”

From here, the story shifts to Camp Hammond’s other resident Skrull (at least, the only other one we know of), as Crusader makes a rather odd lunch choice. For those who haven’t been following this series, Crusader is a Skrull who has defected from his people and wants to live on Earth as a superhero. He does not know anything about the current Skrull invasion, he has not told anyone about his true nature, and uses his ultra-powerful “Freedom Ring” to keep from being detected. When he sees that “Hank” has made the same peculiar cuisine choice (pickles mixed with strawberries, apparently it is reminiscent of a favorite Skrull dish), he knows that Hank must also be a Skrull. But before we can see how he acts on this newfound knowledge, the story moves onward once again.

The new 3-D Man, introduced as a graduate in issue 12, arrives in Hawaii to lead that state’s chapter of the Initiative: the Point Men. But before he left, he was bequeathed a gift from the original 3-D Man: the original 3-D Man suit, which includes goggles that can see Skrulls in their true form. Swapping these goggles for his own, he meets the rest of the Point Men, only to discover that member “Magnitude” is nothing but a Skrull spy. Upon revealing this, a battle results which injures two members of the Point Men, before Devil-Slayer enters and together, he and 3-D Man are able to “slay” the Skrull. (Okay, bad pun, sorry.) (By the way, anyone else become an instant fan of Devil-Slayer in this scene?) Devil-Slayer elects to remain behind and look after the injured teammates, but 3-D Man insists on travelling to Camp Hammond to sound the alarm on the invasion. Devil-Slayer uses his cloak to open an interdimensional portal to send him there.

Meanwhile, back in Stamford, Crusader continues to struggle with what to do about Hank. He is unaware of how to expose Hank’s true nature without revealing his own. As 3-D Man appears, his first warning is “We’ve been invaded!” With the knowledge that the original 3-D Man had Skrull detecting goggles, Crusader is terrified of being discovered, and in a hasty decision, decides he must use the Freedom Ring to interfere with the goggles. In a flash of light, 3-D Man is knocked down, and as he looks up, he sees that he is surrounded by Initiative cadets and staff … all Skrulls. This moment made me jump back in my seat. It’s like when you’re watching a movie, and the hero makes a really stupid choice, and you wanna yell at the screen even though he can’t hear you. I realize that Crusader wanted to protect himself, but if he’s just interfered with the only way of detecting the invading Skrulls, he may have just unintentionally doomed Earth.

This issue has been my favorite Secret Invasion tie-in so far, and has once again proved that A:TI is one of the three best books that Marvel puts out monthly (the other two being Fantastic Four and Thor, of course!) It could be real easy for a book so full of obscure and new characters to be confusing, but Slott and Gage juggle them around and make them likable as easily as if they were tying their shoes. Not mention that Caselli gives each one of them a very distinct look. I could go on for an entire post about how awesome this series is. If there is anyone not reading this, this is the perfect jumping on point, take it! And I’d highly advise getting 1-12 in TPB, ‘cause those stories were also purely awesome. Seriously, get in on this series (and write a letter to Marvel, asking them to allow subscriptions to this already!)




1. Tony - July 1, 2008

Any word on whether or not this ties in with September’s new Devil Slayer Dead of Night series?

2. lotrking - July 2, 2008

That series is a reimagination of the Devil-Slayer character and is not “616” canon, so it does not tie-in to A:TI.


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