Avengers: The Initiative 20 review

Writers Dan Slott and Christos Gage start wrapping up the current storylines of a book that’s gotten better with every issue. This comic was, hands down, the finest thing to come out of Civil War and almost justified the waste of paper that was Secret Invasion. Month after month we’ve had intrigue, action, suspense, twisted romance . . .

. . . which brings us to this issue. I’d assumed the lovely Mark Brooks cover was symbolic of Yellowjacket’s suffering after the death of the Wasp but this issue does indeed feature present day interaction between Hank and Jan. Knowing what’s coming up in terms of Hank’s Marvel Universe future, you’ll likely guess what’s going on here, but it’s still creepy and doesn’t bode well for the future. Before that, wonder if Slott and Gage have watched the Tony Curtis/Larry Olivier scene in Spartacus one time to many . . .

Tigra, meanwhile, has her own problems, having learned that her fling with Yellowjacket has left her likely carrying a litter of Skrull-kittens. Can you say ewwww?

In a nice nod to Fantastic Four history, Alicia Masters turns up to counsel former Skrull kidnap victims as the Shadow Initiative vow to round up the traitorous Hardball and someone gets a promotion. And that’s not all – find out who Mutant X is! What’s next for the Skrull Kill Krew? What is the Skrulls’ final act of vengeance?

If every comic was this packed to the rafters with incident you wouldn’t find me ruing the likely rise of 32pp books to $3.99; this is a rich read indeed.

It also looks pretty decent, thanks to the art of Steve Kurth and Drew Hennessy, who produce some sterling facial expressions, vital in a comic so interested in the relationships between its characters.

I feared this book was disappearing as the Dark Reign storyline takes over the Marvel superhero line. As it happens, Slott is leaving as he takes on Mighty Avengers, while Gage remains and I couldn’t be happier that a comic that’s carved a unique niche on the racks survives.

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