Avengers: The Initiative
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (February 2008)|
|Avengers: The Initiative|
Avengers: The Initiative #1 solicited cover
|Publication date||April 2007 – June 2010|
|Number of issues||35|
Baron Von Blitzschlag
Avengers: The Initiative was a comic book series from Marvel Comics. Written by Dan Slott and Christos Gage with artwork initially by Stefano Caselli, Steve Uy and Harvey Tolibao, the series dealt with the aftermath of Marvel's Civil War crossover (It should not be confused with "The Initiative", a banner running across Marvel books from February 2007 to May 2007, similar to Marvel's earlier Decimation banner after the House of M event, or the Civil War: The Initiative special by Brian Michael Bendis). A preview of the title was shown in Civil War: The Initiative.
- 1 Publication history
- 2 Fictional biography
- 3 Shadow Initiative
- 4 Characters
- 5 Details
- 6 Collected editions
- 7 In other media
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The series was originally solicited as a six issue limited series, but prior to the publication of the first issue, Marvel announced that this had changed and that Avengers: The Initiative would become an ongoing series, the third regularly published 'Avengers' title from 2007 onwards, after The New Avengers and The Mighty Avengers.
In the aftermath of the Civil War, the pro-registration side stands victorious and has launched the Fifty State Initiative which calls for one S.H.I.E.L.D.-sponsored superhero team for each state. The series will focus on the training facility located at Camp Hammond, in Stamford, Connecticut. In addition the series will explore the people on those line-ups and the unique situations that come with these new locations. Each issue will reveal more about the teams from each state. It will also show these teams adapting and growing through different situations.
The first group of young heroes has been sent to hero boot camp in Stamford, the site of the explosion that launched the whole Civil War. The issue largely follows the young heroes MVP, Cloud 9, Armory, and Trauma, as well as their drill sergeant Gauntlet. MVP is established as one of the most capable young heroes there, and begins to express some feelings for the shy and self-conscious Cloud 9. During a training exercise, however, Trauma's powers accidentally cause Armory to lose control of her powers, and MVP is apparently killed pushing Cloud 9 out of the way. In response, they get rid of Armory's powers, and kick her out of the camp. Henry Peter Gyrich, who is overseeing the entire project, informs everyone present that the mishap "never happened."
While the recruits struggle to deal with the aftermath of MVP's death and Armory's wash out, Justice continues to be unhappy with Gauntlet's constant use of "New Warriors" as an insulting term. As the young heroes finish the obstacle course, Trauma again loses control of his transformation, first feeding off of Cloud 9's guilt at being responsible for the death, and then transforming into an image of a beaten and bloody Janet Van Dyne when Yellowjacket (Henry Pym) attempts to intervene. As Justice and Gauntlet clean up the situation, Pym is called to the lab where Baron Von Blitzschlag informs him and Gyrich of MVP's anatomy; instead of being enhanced by the Super Soldier Serum as everyone believed, he is actually an "Übermensch", the ultimate human specimen. As Blitzschlag and Gyrich laud the benefits of such a test subject, Pym again has a crisis of conscience, only enhanced when the German scientist recounts his past "villainous" acts (such as the creation of Ultron) and remarks "I am your greatest fan."
A crisis over Texas occurs involving the President and HYDRA. Cloud 9, Komodo, Hardball, Gauntlet, War Machine, Justice and Yellowjacket all arrive on the scene (with Hardball, Gauntlet and Komodo donning jet packs and Cloud 9 being revealed as the best marksman of the bunch when she receives a pulse rifle). As the attack escalates, Yellowjacket deploys a secret weapon he developed to infiltrate the shields of HYDRA's Terrorcarrier: a small vibranium capsule inside of which he hides. When he breaches the shields, he grows to enormous size and forcibly redirects the carrier to crash, intentionally remaining onboard. Meanwhile, Trauma, who had wanted the program to strip him of his powers and become normal again, is instead escorted by Gyrich to a room holding Beast and a "specialist" who can help Trauma learn to control his powers: the former mutant Danielle Moonstar, who possessed powers similar to Trauma's.
Hardball speaks to Komodo about Justice apparently having learned of MVP's fate. While he talks, he turns to see not Komodo but a strange girl sleeping next to him. Though the locals give Hardball a decidedly cold reception, a mysterious individual takes him aside and asks for information on S.P.I.N. Tech on which Komodo is currently being briefed. As the most promising of the new recruits, she is being given an official assignment to defeat Spider-Man. S.P.I.N. Tech is a new type of nanotechnology that, when fired in projectile form, can cause a superhuman to lose access to his or her superpowers instantly. One of the Scarlet Spiders spots Spider-Man fighting members of the Sinister Syndicate: Hydro-Man, The Shocker, and Boomerang. War Machine and Komodo head to the scene of the battle, and their arrival cause the Sinister Syndicate to flee. Spider-Man battles the duo. He quickly incapacitates War Machine with a blast of webbing that shuts down his armor, but not before War Machine mysteriously states that even though Spider-Man will be stripped of his powers, another Spider-Man will exist. While Komodo fares much better, Spider-Man's wit and a threat that her failure will result in her losing her powers helps him defeat her and slip away easily.
A mysterious third party, which War Machine calls "Red Team" and which has been cloaked during the fight, is revealed to be a group of people in duplicate versions of Tony Stark's Spider-Man armor. The story ends with Komodo's desperate plea not to be stripped of her powers, as she dislikes being normal and considers her other self to be a nobody.
World War Hulk
Gyrich tries to persuade Trauma to join his Shadow Initiative, thinking he could be a powerful member. However, Trauma's trainer, the former mutant Danielle Moonstar, objects to Gyrich's claims.
Shortly after the Hulk returns from space with his Warbound, Hardball becomes involved in a covert operation to steal a piece of the S.P.I.N. technology. Meanwhile, Justice takes Cloud 9 to the Van Patrick home as part of her therapy, after the death of MVP. Upon reaching the home, both are shocked to discover MVP answering the door; though Justice and Cloud 9 are dispatched to where the Hulk's battleship appeared before inquiry can be given. With the missing cartridge of S.P.I.N. technology going undiscovered by Tony Stark; Stark's attempt to remove Hulk's powers during their conflict fail and Hardball is directly responsible for the early failure to contain the Hulk and prevent massive amounts of damage and casualties. Initiative members are assigned to protect the crowd and refrain from engaging the Hulk, though after Iron Man's failure; Rage instructs the team to disregard orders and engage Hulk and his Warbound, while Henry Peter Gyrich orders his secret team containing Bengal, Trauma, Constrictor, an unknown female Initiative recruit called Mutant Zero and the Scarlet Spiders to the conflict to save the Initiative trainees.
The Shadow Initiative sneaks into Madison Square Garden, where the Hulk has built an arena to deliver captured heroes for their punishment. It is there where they are confronted by some of the Hulk's Death's Head guards, and Mutant Zero defeats them all. Across Manhattan, Hank Pym, along with Justice and O*N*E Sentinels, who left the X-Men, were setting up the devices that is a part of Iron Man's plan to fully send all of Manhattan and those who live in it into the Negative Zone. Trauma then transforms himself into Thor; this was due to Korg's fear of the Thunder God, who had battled him in an attempted invasion of Earth by his race. While Cloud 9 nearly kills Elloe by filling her lungs with smoke, however, she is stopped by Trauma who sees this.
Soon the team is confronted by the Hulk, who then defeats almost all of the Shadow team members. Trauma tries to defeat the Hulk in various forms of the Hulk's enemies, but when the Hulk won't flinch at the sight of his old foes; this leaves Trauma as a weak human. He is thrown at a car by the Hulk, who tells him to tell the others 'I'm not afraid of anything.' Later on in the hospital where Trauma is recovering, he makes amends to his former teammates, especially Hardball and Cloud 9, while Danielle Moonstar shows Gyrich of Trauma's failure. In that move Gyrich then demotes Trauma from an Omega threat, which Gyrich first saw him as, to a Class 50.
Post World War Hulk
After World War Hulk, the camp's drill instructor, Gauntlet, was brutally attacked. His attacker left a mark on his body: 'NW'. Gauntlet had made several nasty remarks about the dead New Warriors, leading to speculation that the attacker was an Initiative recruit who was a former New Warrior. Justice, Debrii, Slapstick, Ultra Girl and Rage were imprisoned and interrogated. When Gauntlet awoke he claimed he was attacked by the Ghost, so the suspects were released. However, in a flashback it was revealed the attacker was a former New Warrior: Slapstick.
Second recruit group
Several new Initiative recruits arrive at Camp Hammond, including Ant-Man (Eric O'Grady), Crusader (Skrull version), Melee, Geldoff, Dragon Lord (Tako Shamara), Geiger, Red Nine, and Diamondback. These recruits will mainly be trained by the instructor Taskmaster.
Since the results of the previous clonings of MVP impressed Initiative administrators enough to attempt to fill places within the Fifty State Initiative with further clones of MVP.
Killed in Action
In Avengers: The Initiative's first multi-part story Killed in Action (starting issue #8), a new Michael Van Patrick clone is fitted with the Tactigon, Armory's former alien weapon and sets forth, under the name "KIA", on a murderous rampage throughout Camp Hammond in an attempt to seek revenge for MVP's death. The KIA clone causes destruction killing Dragon Lord (Tako Shamara), Trauma (who is later revealed to have survived) and Van (one of the Scarlet Spiders). KIA also caused injury to many initiative trainees and staff like Thor Girl, Gauntlet, Constrictor and Crusader. He also killed eight S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in his rampage.
Some of the first installment trainees made it to graduation. The graduating class and their assignments were as follows:
- Cloud 9: Montana - Freedom Force
- Hardball: Nevada - Heavy Hitters
- Thor Girl: Georgia - The Cavalry
- Komodo: Arizona - Desert Stars
- Trauma: remains on base as a counselor
- Triathlon (now going by 3-D Man and sporting the costume of his namesake): Hawaii - Point Men
- Ultra Girl (now wearing Ms. Marvel's original costume): Georgia - The Cavalry
Justice, Debrii, Slapstick, Rage, MVP and the two remaining Scarlet Spiders left the Initiative to form Counter Force, described as a counter-initiative that will dedicate themselves to keeping the government program honest.
Starting with issue #13, the series features new recruits that will join the squad assembled before the coming of KIA. They are: Annex, Prodigy, Gorilla Girl, Sunstreak, Batwing and Boulder. Less enthusiastic than the first recruits, most of them with criminal records (except Butterball/Boulder who wanted to be there, and Batwing, who was just looking for a cure for his condition) they are there because their alternative to Camp Hammond is the Negative Zone prison (however, the criminal charges against all but Sunstreak appear to be limited to non-registration). Taskmaster quickly renames Boulder "Butterball" in reference to his size. He has been challenged to make Butterball into a good soldier; but because of his invulnerability powers, his physical appearance could not be altered. The recruits break out of the camp due to boredom and decide to go to the beach where they drink and skinny dip, since they would be recognized anywhere else. Sunstreak attempts to have relations with Butterball who refuses and takes their ride and heads back to the camp but encounters Constrictor, Taskmaster, War Machine and Yellowjacket. He lies, claiming to have gone AWOL alone. Although the recruits plan to use this distraction to sneak back on base, they instead help defeat Firebrand, King Cobra, Mister Hyde and Mauler, all of whom wanted revenge on the Taskmaster. Butterball washes out of the program when it is deemed he does not have the appropriate attitude to be a superhero. To ease his disappointment, Taskmaster and Constrictor allow him to take a picture that makes it look like he has defeated them.
The Revolutionary, a member of Pennsylvania's Liberteens, is actually a Skrull in disguise. He's part of a plot to put "a Skrull in every state" by infiltrating each superhero team of the Initiative. During Secret Invasion Crusader discovers that camp director Yellowjacket is actually a Skrull impostor; he almost tells the camp's counselor Trauma but changes his mind. When 3-D Man arrives in Camp Hammond to announce to everyone assembled that the Initiative has been infiltrated by Skrulls, Crusader fears that he will be exposed as a Skrull despite his good intentions. Crusader uses the Freedom Ring to reverse the goggles' power so that they cause 3-D Man to see Crusader as human and all humans as Skrulls.
Later 'Yellowjacket-Skrull' gives orders to Gauntlet to dispatch the cadets to help the Young Avengers fight the Skrulls, and Proton is killed during the battle. The Skrulls defeat the cadets and Young Avengers, but then Nick Fury arrives with his "commandos." Meanwhile Ant-Man (Eric O'Grady), the only cadet still on Camp Hammond witnessed how "Yellowjacket" welcomed a Skrull commander to the base and during the big fight against the Skrull army, Crusader, (a Skrull who lives on Earth and an Initiative cadet) decided to fight for Earth.
After defeating a Skrull imposter looking like 'She-Thing', 3-D Man joined up with the Skrull Kill Krew and found out that in every Initiative state team is one Skrull-imposter and decided to kill them all. Komodo joined the team as well, and they then added her lover Hardball. The Skrull Kill Crew thought they would not be able to track through all the states on time, but then former Avenger Jocasta appeared with Devil-Slayer, who is a member of the Hawaiian Initiative team, the Point Men. Devil-Slayer's teleportation ability will aid them in killing all Skrull imposters within the Fifty State Initiative.
The group move on to other Initiative bases, killing the Skrull imposters, Delroy Garret's goggles also identify Equinox as a Skrull who is then killed by Cloud 9 and adding Cloud 9 and Gravity to their group. The Skrull then send a broadcast throughout the world, telling their sleeper agents to activate themselves, which sows even more distrust among the remaining heroes. While in Philadelphia, the Revolutionary is revealed as a Skrull and defeated by Gravity and Hope. When they come across a fight between Thor Girl and Ultra Girl, Delroy's goggles identify Thor Girl as a Skrull. With help from Gravity, Delroy uses Thor Girl's own hammer to kill the Skrull imposter. Ant-Man manages to escape the Skrulls on the back of a Shock Trooper, and reveals to the Kill Crew the Skrulls' last resort plan; to use all the Initiative bases to create a massive Negative Zone portal that will take the entire country. With six bases left, the Crew splits up, and uses the still-living heads of Moonstomp, Catwalk and Dice to help point out Skrulls. Devil-Slayer teleports them to the bases, but collapses under the strain.
The Initiative members combat their Skrull opponents who have received their mission to activate themselves to start distrust amongst the teams. At the Battalion's HQ, Tigra, Ryder, and Cloud 9 fight a Skrull posing as Razorback. Hardball and Moonstomp help Action Pack fight a Skrull posing as Frog-Man. Gravity and Catwalk help the Great Lakes Avengers fight a Skrull posing as Grasshopper. Komodo and Riot help the Command fight a Skrull posing as Conquistador (who assumed a Skrull/Devil Dinosaur-like form). Dice and Jocasta fight their way through activists to get to the Skrull posing as Skyhawk who succeeds in his part of the mission. Delroy Garrett and Ant-Man join the Rangers in fighting a Skrull that posed as Red Wolf's wolf companion Lobo. After it's shot by Shooting Star, a crowd uprising occurred when Delroy's goggles identify some of the crowd members as Skrulls. Delroy's goggles are hit by a thrown rock giving Delroy's allies a hard time figuring out who's a Skrull and who is not. During the struggle, Delroy discovers that he can see who is a Skrull without his goggles. This turns the tides against those Skrulls disguised as crowd members. During the fights across the USA, Spinner and Whiz-Kid both apparently die in various fights. At the final fight at Camp Hammond, Crusader kills Criti Noll and then 3-D Man shoots Crusader (who hid his Skrull heritage from the others, but was fighting for Earth). Before he disappeared, Crusader stated that it could've ended differently.
Those that had been replaced by Skrulls (namely Dum Dum Dugan, Edwin Jarvis, Frog-Man, Mockingbird, Razorback, She-Thing, Thor Girl) alongside Alicia Masters meet with Doc Samson at Camp Hammond as part of a support group. While noting the hostilities of Red Nine, Annex, Geiger, Batwing, and Prodigy over the shooting of Crusader, Delroy states that he is leaving the Initiative and joining up with Ryder to hunt down any Skrulls still hiding out on Earth. Taskmaster confronts Mutant Zero and discovers that she is really Typhoid Mary. The Gauntlet takes control as head of Camp Hammond because his position as the highest ranking officer left. Despite an offer by the Gauntlet, Hank Pym chooses to leave the camp, because he "was never here".
Next some of the latest recruits graduated and were assigned to different teams. Batwing became a member of the Shadow Initiative, Melee was assigned to additional training to become a Camp Hammond instructor for martial arts, Annex became a member of the Mavericks (New Mexico) and Red Nine of The Cavalry, Georgia. Geiger also graduated, but it was not mentioned where she was to be stationed. Camp Hammond instructor Stingray became the new leader of the Point Men (Hawaii). Because of their villainous past Sunstreak and Prodigy were not assigned to an Initiative State Team yet, but have to remain under training at Camp Hammond. Since Gorilla Girl felt she was typical cannon fodder she decided to go home and be listed as a reserve member.
Meanwhile Baron von Blitzschlag encountered the Thor-clone (now dubbed Ragnarok), which was reactivated by a failsafe programmed by the Hank Pym Skrull, which required his access code to keep him contained. The clone apparently killed the Baron within a couple of minutes. Thereafter, Ragnarok was attacked by Thor-Girl who he beat after a long and heavy fight above Camp Hammond. Even a trick of Trauma (posing as the real Thor) was ineffective. Outside Gorilla Girl, on her way back home, got out of her car and opposed Ragnarok. As she was about to lose the fight a light appeared. The former New Warriors (now called Counter Force) appeared, ready to fight.
The fight with the Thor clone rages on as Justice tells Ragnarok that he had worked with the REAL Thor and that Ragnarok is unworthy of that name. After Ragnarok knocks out Rage and Slapstick, Debrii has the Scarlet Spiders hack into Ragnarok. However, Ragnarok kills Michael the Scarlet Spider. Ragnarok is about to vanquish Von Blitzschlag with pure physical force, when the crafty Baron dismisses the notion as futile. He states that while he could easily kill everyone here and everyone in the world, he would not change the fact he is, in fact, an android-clone based on the real Thor. Unconvinced, Ragnarok is shown proof that such methods are possible when one of the Scarlet Spiders reveals he and his "brothers" are all clones as well. Blitzschlag tells Ragnarok that the real Thor is living in Asgard, which is now physically in the realm of Earth (or Midgard) where it is floating above Oklahoma. Ragnarok resolves that it matters not whether he is or isn't a clone, but rather that his warrior's resolve is true. He flies off to presumably confront Thor and his fellow Asgardians.
Following Ragnarok's attack, Counter Force decides to bury Michael Van Patrick's body and confess to the world about Michael's death and the clones. This gives Norman Osborn the opportunity to shut down Camp Hammond.
Following the Taskmaster’s fight with Hardball's HYDRA faction, Norman Osborn hires him to help run the camp. 
Norman Osborn announces to the media that he has reopened the Initiative training camp under the name Camp H.A.M.M.E.R. in New Mexico away from any populated areas. Osborn then begins to mould the Initiative to match his own vision. He transfers Gravity to the Great Lakes Avengers with Prodigy taking his place as leader of the Heavy Hitters. He assigns the Force of Nature to Oregon, the U-Foes to North Carolina, the Psionex to Maryland and the Women Warriors to Delaware. Penance, brainwashed at Osborn's command, is sent to Camp H.A.M.M.E.R. to assist Taskmaster. Trauma is kept on as the Camp H.A.M.M.E.R. counsellor. Gauntlet and Tigra leave their posts at the Initiative and join with the New Warriors to form the Avengers Resistance against Norman Osborn's new regime.
Cover art for Avengers: The Initiative #5 featuring the Shadow Initiative, and Hulk.
Art by Jim Cheung.
|First appearance||Avengers: The Initiative #4|
|Member(s)||See List of Shadow Initiative members|
It has been revealed that there is a special "black ops" team within the Initiative, answerable only to Gyrich and known as the Shadow Initiative. This team consists of Bengal, Trauma, Constrictor, Mutant Zero, and for a time, the Scarlet Spiders.
|“||The Initiative program denies all knowledge of a special Black Ops Team. There is no pardon on file for the super-villain known as the Constrictor. No record of any dealings with the Vietnamese national codenamed Bengal. Tony Stark cannot recall what became of his designs for the Iron Spider armor. And, most importantly, the Superhuman Armed Forces wishes to dispel all rumors of a 199th mutant. We repeat, there is no Mutant Zero. Mutant Zero does NOT exist. That is all.||”|
This Shadow Initiative was sent out by Henry Gyrich to free the Initiative members captured by the Hulk's Warbound; Rage, Cloud 9, Ultra Girl, Thor Girl, Slapstick and Hardball. (On this assignment Bengal showed to be a perfect field leader of this Shadow Initiative.) The black ops group successfully rescues these captured trainees, while Trauma, their "secret weapon" tries to use his powers to scare the Hulk (becoming, in turn, the Abomination, Juggernaut, Brian Banner, and Bruce Banner). He fails to beat the Hulk, and the Hulk beats him into unconsciousness, leaving Terrance alive to pass the message on to the others. Trauma is later seen recuperating in the Initiative's medical bay.
It is later revealed that the Scarlet Spiders are clones of Michael Van Patrick (MVP), a deceased initiative recruit accidentally killed. The Scarlet Spiders are later taken off the Black Ops team after revealing themselves to the public and placed with the other trainees.
Gyrich called them to protect him from K.I.A., but they lost and one of the Scarlet Spiders was killed, and Constrictor was badly maimed. Mutant Zero saved Gyrich and Scarlet Spiders continued the battle for their brother. After KIA was defeated, the two remaining Scarlet Spiders left the Initiative to join Counter Force, a team of former New Warriors led by Justice, while Constrictor was healed with two bionic hands.
During Secret Invasion, the Shadow Initiative stayed at Camp Hammond while most others at Camp Hammond went to fight the Skrulls in New York. Later the Skrulls used Camp Hammond as a base, which Ant-Man (Eric O'Grady), discovers, having stayed behind out of cowardice. The Shadow Initiative tries to assassinate the Skrull Queen Veranke, but is defeated and captured, except for Ant-Man. During this story it was revealed Mutant Zero is a red haired woman.
After Secret Invasion, Taskmaster is added by Gauntlet to the Black-Ops team as their field leader. The Shadow Initiative, joined by Komodo, is assigned to take down a HYDRA cell, led by former Initiative member Hardball, in Madripoor. After the mission briefing, Taskmaster senses something familiar about Mutant Zero and later confronts her. A fight ensues and Taskmaster goads Mutant Zero into revealing her true identity: Typhoid Mary.
The Shadow Initiative are dropped into Madripoor by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. During the mission, Taskmaster, Constrictor, Bengal, Typhoid Mary and Komodo are confronted by Hardball, Scorpion and HYDRA agents. Komodo is shot with HYDRA modified S.P.I.N technology by Hardball, forcing the Shadow Initiative into a hasty retreat. They manage to escape, but are forced to leave a depowered Komodo behind. Taskmaster decides to call off the mission in the light of HYDRA gaining S.P.I.N Tech. But before they can pull out of Madripoor, the Shadow Initiative learn that S.H.I.E.L.D. has since become defunct, leaving the team alone with no way out the country. They then infiltrate HYDRA, send a wire for help, and continue their mission to capture Hardball and shutdown the HYDRA cell. During the fight, Typhoid Mary relapses into her dangerous personality and escapes, leaving the rest of the Shadow Initiative in trouble. But then help arrives in the form of Ant-Man and H.A.M.M.E.R. agents. Hardball then surrenders himself to Constrictor, citing that everything that he has done was to protect Komodo. Constrictor understands, given his similar relationship with his daughter, and arrests Hardball.
Batwing graduates from the Initiative programme and is assigned to the Shadow Initiative.
Butterball, Ringer, Doctor Sax, Johnny Guitar, Badd Axe, Firearms, Slaughter Boy and Heavy Mettle (Barracuda, Blackwing, Riot, Stronghold and Warbow) join Bengal, Komodo and Batwing in a new look Shadow Initiative. But as Norman Osborn already has a covert team in the shape of the Thunderbolts, the Shadow Initiative is turned into a "cannon fodder" unit, purposely sent on suicide missions, a fact that is hidden from the Shadow Initiative members.
Before their first mission to take back Prison 42 from Blastaar's alien forces, Johnny Guitar overhears the Taskmaster and learns the Shadow Initiative's true purpose. After some consideration, he bravely goes through with the mission. But not before guaranteeing his family's compensation in the event of his death and deliberately injuring his best friend Doctor Sax, washing him out of the Initiative and in turn saving his life. During the siege to take back Prison 42 along with several other members of the Shadow Initiative, Johnny Guitar is killed in action. Also confirmed to be killed are Blackwing, Slaughterboy, and Firearms. Bengal, Komodo, Batwing, Butterball and the surviving members of the Shadow Initiative fight against the odds and manage to take back prison 42. They are aided by Hardball, a Prison 42 detainee forced to join Blastaar's army, who suggests to Dr. Arthur Nagan that they should release Dragon Man, knowing that the creature would side with Komodo. Taskmaster, Constrictor, Penance, Living Laser and Scorcher arrive shortly after to finish off the enemy. Bengal and the rest of the Shadow Initiative become painfully aware of the true nature of their mission.
Osborn orders members of the Shadow Initiative (Badd Axe, Ringer, and Warbow) to attack the Heavy Hitters after they secede from the Initiative. They help the other Initiative teams to defeat and capture the Heavy Hitters' leader, Prodigy. The attack upon Prodigy is then uploaded onto YouTube by Telemetry and Non-Stop.
Several members of the Shadow Initiative take part in Osborn's invasion of Asgard. During the battle, Warbow of Heavy Mettle is apparently killed by a hail of arrows. Badd Axe and Ringer are among those defending Camp HAMMER when it is invaded by the Avengers Resistance.
- Cadets are trained in combat, search and rescue, power control, first aid, and superhuman ethics.
- The training that Initiative cadets undergo is structured like basic recruit training.
- Cadets are issued uniforms consisting of palm gloves, traction boots and military fatigue cargo pants. A t-shirt with some kind of logo (often with the first letter of the cadet's codename) on it is provided if the cadet does not already have a costume. If the cadet has a secret identity they are required to somehow conceal their identity (i.e. a mask, goggles, a helmet, shape-changing or some form of concealment).
- While the "Avengers Assemble!" battle cry is used by instructors and cadets in battle and many instructors and cadets are former or current members, being a recruit does not automatically award one membership in the Avengers. Use of the Avengers name is an informal one meant to act as an inspirational tool.
|Title||Material collected||Softcover ISBN||Hardcover ISBN|
|Avengers: The Initiative vol. 1: Basic Training||Avengers: The Initiative vol. 1 #1-6||ISBN 0-7851-2516-7||ISBN 0-7851-2160-9|
|Avengers: The Initiative vol. 2: Killed in Action||Avengers: The Initiative vol. 1 #7-13, Annual #1||ISBN 0-7851-2861-1||ISBN 0-7851-2868-9|
|Avengers: The Initiative vol. 3: Secret Invasion||Avengers: The Initiative vol. 1 #14-19||ISBN 0-7851-3167-1||ISBN 0-7851-3150-7|
|Avengers: The Initiative vol. 4: Disassembled||Avengers: The Initiative vol. 1 #20-25, Avengers: The Initiative feat. Reptil||ISBN 0-7851-3168-X||ISBN 0-7851-3151-5|
|Avengers: The Initiative vol. 5: Dreams & Nightmares||Avengers: The Initiative vol. 1 #26-30||ISBN 0-7851-3905-2||ISBN 0-7851-3904-4|
|Avengers: The Initiative vol. 6: Siege||Avengers: The Initiative vol. 1 #31-35||ISBN 0-7851-4818-3||ISBN 0-7851-4817-5|
In other media
- The Initiative was referenced in The Super Hero Squad Show episode "Tales of Suspense." War Machine tells Iron Man that he had to cover for him when handling the Initiative.
- "New Joe Fridays". Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2008-01-23.
- "Marvel Makes Avengers: The Initiatve (sic) an Ongoing". newsarama.com forum. Retrieved 2008-01-23.
- Gage: Taking The Initiative Under a Dark Reign, Newsarama, December 10, 2008
- George, Richard (January 15, 2010). "Siege Ends the Avengers". IGN. Archived from the original on 19 January 2010. Retrieved January 15, 2010.
- Dan Slott (w), Stefano Caselli (p), Stefano Caselli (i). "Happy Accidents" Avengers: The Initiative 1 (June 2007), Marvel Comics
- Dan Slott (w), Stefano Caselli (p), Stefano Caselli (i). "Hero Moment" 'Avengers: The Initiative' 2 (June 2007), Marvel Comics
- Dan Slott (w), Stefano Caselli (p), Stefano Caselli (i). "Bug Hunt" Avengers: The Initiative 3 (August 2007), Marvel Comics
- Dan Slott (w), Stefano Caselli (p), Stefano Caselli (i). "World War Hulk" Avengers: The Initiative 4-5 (September–October 2007), Marvel Comics
- World War Hulk: X-Men 1 (2007), Marvel Comics
- Avengers: The Initiative #5
- Dan Slott (w), Tom Feister (p), Carmine Di Giandomenico (i). "Born To Serve" 'Avengers: The Initiative' Annual 1 (January 2008), Marvel Comics
- Dan Slott & Christos N. Gage (w), Stefano Caselli (p), Daniele Rudoni (i). "Killed In Action" Avengers: The Initiative 8 (December 2007), Marvel Comics
- Dan Slott (w), Stefano Caselli (p), Daniele Rudoni (i). "Triple Treat" Avengers: The Initiative 7 (December 2007), Marvel Comics
- "Initiative Initiation: The New Class". Marvel.com. Archived from the original on 2 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-02.
- Dan Slott (w), Patrick Scherberger (p), David Meikis (i). "State of Readiness" Avengers: The Initiative Annual 1 (January 2008), Marvel Comics
- Avengers: The Initiative #14
- Avengers: The Initiative #15-16
- Secret Invasion #3
- Avengers: The Initiative #16
- Avengers: The Initiative #17
- Avengers: The Initiative #18
- Avengers: The Initiative #19
- Dark Reign #1
- Avengers: The Initiative #20
- Avengers: The Initiative #21
- Avengers: The Initiative #22
- Avengers: The Initiative #23
- Avengers: The Initiative #24
- Avengers: The Initiative #25
- 'Avengers:The Initiative' 4 (2007), Marvel Comics
- "Details-- AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE #5". Marvel.com. Archived from the original on 26 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-23.
- Avengers: The Initiative #10
- Avengers Initiative #24
- Avengers: The Initiative #26
- Avengers: The Initiative #27
- Avengers: The Initiative #28
- Avengers: The Initiative #32
- Avengers: The Initiative#34
- Avengers: The Initiative #1 at Marvel.com
- Avengers: The Initiative #2 at Marvel.com
- Avengers: The Initiative #3 at Marvel.com