Damn I love this comic. I honestly don't know how Christos Gage does it, but in this one issue he manages to set up both heroes and villains in ways that make them awesome. The most impressive part is that for most of them, he does it with only a few seconds of panel time.
After Prodigy and his Heavy Hitters (except Outback, a hilariously re-named Boomerang) secede from the Initiative, Norman Osborn is having none of it. He dispatches a few other villain-teams and a bunch of trainees out to destroy the Las Vegas based team. At the same time, Justice, Tigra, and the other Rebel Avengers are on the way to try and extract the Hitters from trouble. Prodigy gets the best moments in this. He's willing to take the rap for working for Osborn, even knowing that he was a villain. Prodigy had figured he could do good even while working for evil, but after finding out he was wrong, he's doing the right thing. There is a huge mass of villains called down on him, but he takes his lumps like a man, in full public eye, so that the public of the Marvel U sees how corrupt the Initiative has become. Things don't go smoothly though, as Taskmaster manages to shoot Night Thrasher II upside the head. The Rebel Avengers are forced to leave him behind. Now Osborn has a tempting offer concerning the original Night Thrasher. If Gage is planning on bringing back Thrash and Namorita, I will be one happy dude.
In an interesting revelation, Tigra sets up a few heroes with escape plans to get out of the country. I like that Tigra and Hank Pym (I still can't call him Wasp) are both working against the Dark Avengers, but separately so they can't compromise each other. Nice in-comic reasoning for a publishing decision.
Other developments in D-tier Marvel characters: Komodo is stripped of her powers. Constrictor, Penance, Hardball, and Butterball are media darlings and Osborn is milking it for all he can. The U-Foes and Force of Nature are both part of Osborn's hit squad. Justice and Ultragirl sort of break up. Debrii quits the Rebel Avengers. Obviously, this is one packed comic.
Rafa Sandoval is doing a great job with this enormous cast. He has a clean style that tells the story clearly, he's a good fit for the title.