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for Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Avengers Initiative 20

Two years past Marvel's Civil War storyline, I still consider Tony Stark a villain. However, while it was monstrously stupid for him to put Camp Hammond, the training compound of the Initiative right smack dab in the already damaged community where the New Warriors and several hundred citizens died, the concept of training heroes to use their powers responsibly and then serve the country in each of the 50 states is a good one...just as long as such service is strictly voluntary. That said...

The ongoing Avengers: The Initiative [$2.99] definitely came into its own during the Secret Invasion event. Those were some of the best comics of the event. They felt like war comics and they showcased a large number of super-heroes in interesting ways. Issues #20-23 reveal the aftermath of the invasion and hint at what lies ahead for the Initiative now that Norman Osborn has become the "top cop" of the United States.

Hank Pym was a prime mover of the Initiative, but it wasn't really Hank Pym. It was a Skrull who replaced him well before the coming of the Superhuman Registration Act that led to the Civil War. Now returned to Earth, Pym has to deal with what's become of his life in the wake of Skrull treachery that included impregnating Tigra and murdering his ex-wife.

In issue #20's "Acceptable Losses," writers Dan Slott and Christos N. Gage begin Pym's journey to recovery in surprising fashion while also nicely moving along other elements of the overall Initiative storyline. Terrific art by penciler Steve Kurth and inker Drew Hennessy earn Avengers: The Initiative #20 an impressive four out of five Tonys.

Tony Tony Tony Tony

Gage goes solo with issue #21 as new penciler Humberto Ramos comes on board. A last bit of Skrull Pym nastiness comes to light with the revival of the Thor clone that killed Bill Foster during the Civil War. It's followed in issue #23 by a team of undercover Initiative heroes going to Madripoor on the trail of a hero who has defected to Hydra. All three issues are well-written with neat action bits, neat character bits, and surprising plot developments. Not to mention Osborn beginning to put his own mark on Stark's "50 State Initiative." I'm not wild about the art, but it didn't keep from enjoying the issues. Avengers: The Initiative #21-23 earn three out of five Tonys.

Tony Tony Tony

Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. I'll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

Tony Isabella

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Zero Tonys
ZERO: Burn your money before buying any comic receiving this rating. It doesn't *necessarily* mean there's absolutely nothing of value here - though it *could* - but whatever value it might possess shrinks into insignificance before its overall awfulness.

ONE: Buy something else. Maybe I found something which wasn't completely dreadful in the item, but not enough for me to recommend it when there are better comics available. I only want what's best for you, my children.

TWO: Basic judgment call. I found some value, but not enough to recommend it. My review should give you enough info to decide if you want to take a chance on it. Are you feeling lucky today, punk? Well, are you?

THREE: This denotes something I find perfectly respectable. There are better books out there, but I wouldn't regret buying this item. Based on my review, you should be able to determine if it's of interest to you. Let the Force guide you.

FOUR: I recommend anything earning this rating. Unless you don't like the genre, subject matter, or past work of the creators, I believe you'll enjoy this item. Isn't it uncanny how I can look right into your soul that way?

FIVE: Anything getting this rating is among the best comicdom has to offer. You should buy/read this, even if the genre/subject matter doesn't appeal to you. It's for your own good. Me, I live for comics and books this good...but not in a pathetic "Comic-Book Guy" sort of way.

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