This is, without a doubt, the last issue of “Avengers: The Initiative” that I am going to read. Of course, Marvel is making that declaration easy for me since this is the last issue of “The Initiative” that they are going to publish.
As far as final issues go, this one had a lot of dangling plotlines to wrap up from both “Siege” tie-ins and Slott start-ups. Nearly three years of new characters, concepts, and ideas had to be tidied up to be put away for other people to play with later. That said, this issue is quite jittery, bouncing from the peak of the Siege of Asgard to days/weeks/months after. Thankfully Gage does the bouncing in a more or less straight-forward pattern, giving us patches of existence between what was and what is.
Gage manages to tug out a few new threads to tease ideas that aren’t quite done. What happens to the Initiative? Where do the first recruits and drill sergeants go?
“Siege” gets spoiled a little bit here, but Gage’s story is worth it in the long run. He doesn’t retell every detail from the battle, but the broad strokes of who wins and who loses are delivered with little to no warning.
Jorge Molina’s art is solid, but inconsistent and unspectacular. Characters seem to metamorphose in close up shots, as their faces and features change from just panels before. The Diamondback that Cap helps up doesn’t look like the Diamondback who is lamenting Constrictor’s flight. I like the energy Molina brings to this book, but that energy needs to be consistently applied.
As an experiment, I would dub “The Initiative” to be a success, albeit a success that had a slow start. Gage managed to maintain the unpredictability that Slott established while growing the cast substantially. This was a solid read month in and month out, even if some months its only tie to the world of the Avengers was in the title of the comic. Gage leaves the end of the series with a message looking towards the future. Based solely on the strength of the work Gage presented here, I’ll be checking out “Avengers Academy.” I do, however, hope that some of the other questions and open items get addressed in the meantime.