This was a pretty sad little story. Long-time readers of The Initiative have known about new-hero Hardball's ties to Hyda, but just like his girlfriend Komodo, we all probably thought he had a good heart and was just in a rough spot. Hardball really shows his true colors this issue. We get some nice character moments with the Heavy Hitters and the Desert Stars, the heroes of Nevada and Arizona, with most of the time spent on Hardball and Komodo. I think the character intriguing me the most right now is Super Max, the Apache-Chief style growing hero who attempts to wrassle Zzzax in this issue (never a good idea). I'm wondering if this was written more by Christos Gage than Dan Slott, since we don't get a lot of Two Gun Kid, and I always thought he was a fave of Slott's. In any case, the book provides a neat glimpse in to the headquarters and operations of two of the Initiative teams. I'd love to see more of these.
However, the art is another story. I'm not a fan of Steve Uy's art. I don't like the soft pencil-look or the washed out colors we get here. All of the faces he draws are oddly puffy and small-eyed, to the point it detracts from the story. If series regular Stefano Caselli drew this, I could have easily bumped it up a grade. As it is, I kind of had to force myself to read it. So a decent story bogged down by art that isn't my style makes this comic nowhere near as good as a regular issue of the Initiative.