Avengers: The Initiative 21 review

Why this book has a ‘Disassembled’ tag on it I don’t know; are we going to have one of these every time an Avengers team changes from now on? I hope not, it’s taken years for me to get over the horrors of the Avengers 500 debacle.

Never mind, ignore it, move on. This is Christos Gage’s first solo issue of the regular Initiative title, now Dan Slott’s moved on to Mighty Avengers, and what a splendid issue it is. It’s the aftermath of the Skrull Secret Invasion and members come and go. One associate, Ultragirl, even gets told to give up her costume, as Moonstone is now wearing in over in Dark Avengers (and thank God for that, Suzy looked just great in her own outfit).

The adjustments are interrupted when the cloned Thor (I am not calling him Clor – I’m just not!) from Civil War shows up and starts smiting everyone, for no particular reason. I dunno, maybe because he was born in a senseless crossover, he’s fated to do senseless things. Luckily, Thorgirl (a name as stupid as Clor – why not the simple Thora?) is back from Skrull captivity and filled with ye righteous wrath. She’s magnificent here, a real heavy hitter, and backed up by resident therapist Trauma, who does surprisingly well. And just as things start to go badly, the cavalry arrives . . .

New penciller Humberto Ramos provides some nice quiet panels, and stunning battle scenes – there’s a standout splash featuring Faux Thor (Edgar Delgado’s dynamic colour choices pull their dramatic weight). But mainly, I wish he’d tone down the odd proportions, such as in this image of Not-Thor (click on it for a close-up fright). I never know whether he’s trying for foreshortening and coming up short, or simply has bad eyesight, but panels such as this spoil the goodwill generated by the great stuff. Plus, the mouths. Always with the massive mouths!

That apart, this is the best Avengers Disassembled/Civil War/Secret Invasion/Dark Reign tie-in I’ve read this week.

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