Saturday, January 3, 2009

Avengers: The Initiative #20

This is a nice cap on Dan Slott's run on this title. The book wraps up almost all of the status quo since issue 1, and leaves us with a lot of uncertainty as we move into Christos Gage's upcoming solo run on the title. We see the returnees from the Skrull kidnappings (including Frog Man, Razorback, Thor Girl, and Dum Dum Dugan, I didn't see Lobo!) 3-D Man heads out with the last man standing from the Skrull Kill Krew, as Crusader's classmates are not pleased at 3-D for killing their friend. In a fascinating twist, we find that Tigra is pregnant with Skrullojacket's baby, and she's leaning towards not keeping it. Since she's a cat-lady and he was an alien, she's justifiably concerned that she may end up with a litter of aliens! Not to mention that she never knew he was an alien imposter anyway. I think this is a neat opportunity for the character, I'm really hoping she becomes one of the main heroes in the book, there is a lot of story potential and she's not headlining anywhere else. While I'm at it, let's hope Wonder Man, Stingray, and Hellcat are main cast members moving forward too.

Gauntlet is stepping up to lead The Initiative (at least for now) and he puts Taskmaster in charge of the The Shadow Initiative in a pretty cool development. I really dig how Taskmaster susses out who Mutant Zero is too. I saw it coming, but it was still neat.

The bulk of the issue is spent with Hank Pym talking to Jan. I won't explain how, but this leads to some neat scenes where Hank is trying to find some sense of closure and say goodbye since he never saw the Wasp after his abduction. Hank admits his blame for "the slap" too, it wasn't an imposter, it was him. I'm hoping that the character will be able to move forward now, although since he leaves the book with a certain someone, I'm not sure how he'll move past his wife's death.

The art on this issue is average. The title is in desperate need of a consistent, good artist. Steve Kurth does an ok job on some parts of the issue (the Hank/Jan scenes were strong), but really can't handle other parts (Tigra's scenes especially). I think Humberto Ramos will be an upgrade starting next issue as the remaining team faces off against Clor/Ragnarok. That said, the art is not poor enough to hurt the rating that much.


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