Avengers: The Initiative #13

    Avengers: The Initiative » Avengers: The Initiative #13 - Washout released by Marvel on July 1, 2008.

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    There's a contract out on The Taskmaster, and no shortage of villains willing to fulfill it. But what'll kill him first -- the bad guys, or his latest class of recruits? Welcome Annex, Prodigy, Gorilla Girl, Sunstreak and Batwing to the Initiative. But are they -- is anyone -- ready for the coming of...Butterball??


    • A new group of cadets makes its way to Camp Hammond. Their reasons for coming to train as part of the Initiative Program are as varied as their powers. The potential recruits include anti-registration figure Prodigy, former villains Sunstreak and Batwing, Gorilla Girl, Annex, and newcomer Emery Schaub, who calls himself Boulder.


    • Upon their arrival, they are greeted by Hank Pym, one of the masterminds behind the Initiative and the founding Avengers known as Yellowjacket. Boulder is at a loss for words at meeting Pym, and blubbers on and on about his achievements. Others are not so impressed...


    • Pym disregards the comment, but he loses his cool when Boulder asks him what it was like to pull Captain America out of the ice.

    • The recruits are then introduced to Taskmaster, who will be their drill instructor over the months to come. He quickly puts them in their place, most notably by dubbing Emery "Butterball," telling him he has to earn his codename.

    • Over the next few weeks, the young cadets train and the Initiative Staff assess their performance. Emery is the focus of most of their discussions. Pym and War Machine feel that his power of invulnerability is too valuable to go to waste, but Taskmaster points out that the kid doesn't excel in any way...he's not strong, or fast, or smart or even skilled.

    • And what's worse...he just doesn't "get it." When Emery points out that Taskmaster isn't qualified to train them because, due to his photographic reflexes he himself has never had to train at anything, Taskmaster decides to punish the other cadets to try and motivate him. But that doesn't work either...when the cadets try and give Emery a beating like Private Pile in 'Full Metal Jacket,' his invulnerability lets him sleep right through it.

    • Pym tells Taskmaster to keep working to see what he can do with the boy. He also points out that they have increased security because there is a price on Taskmaster's head. It seems that the criminal community doesn't appreciate that the Taskmaster has decided to work with the Initiative.

    • One night, bored and restless, the cadets decide to sneak off base for a little fun. They head to the beach to relax and do some drinking. When Prodigy suggests that they go skinny-dipping, he is surprised when Gorilla Girl agrees. He quickly pulls off his uniform...and finds her naked, as well, although it's not quite what he expected...


    • While the others go swimming, both Emery and Sunstreak stay on the beach. Discussing his powers, she realizes that he can't be hurt...which means he can't be burned. Since she is always red hot, she realizes that she can touch him without hurting him. Excited by the idea, she comes on to him, but he can't quite deal with it and he runs off.

    • He takes off in the jeep that they took from camp, leaving them all behind. He is quickly confronted by the Initiative Staff, who have come looking for him. He tells them that he snuck off base alone, and the other cadets overhear this. They are impressed that he didn't rat them all out...but they don't have long to reconsider their feelings for him as a group of super villains show up to collect the bounty on Taskmaster.

    • Led by King Cobra, Mauler, Firebrand and Mr. Hyde attack the Initiative Staff with Emery standing by realizing how out of place he is...


    • The other cadets leap into the fray, which throws the staff members off their game. Despite the distraction, Yellowjacket still manages to take out Mr. Hyde, their deadliest foe. Realizing that they had better retreat, the Mauler decides to take one of the kids hostage so that he and his allies can make their escape. He grabs Emery and puts his energy cannon to the boys head, telling Pym and the others to back off...


    • With no risk to Emery due to his invulnerability, the staff members take Mauler out. The remaining villains flee, and War Machine pursues them. Yellowjacket stays and keeps the cadets from rushing off after the villains to avoid any other potentially disastrous situations. He also tells the kids that he is impressed.

    • The next day, Yellowjacket and War Machine tell Emery that they've decided to send him home. They realize that despite his ability, he isn't cut out for combat. As Emery packs up his things, the other cadets tell him how jealous they are that he is going home. But Emery is not happy about leaving at all.

    • Watching the display, Taskmaster and Constrictor realize how upset the kid is and they decide to give him a parting gift...a picture that will help him remember his time at Camp Hammond...



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    Avengers: The Initiative 13 0

    I must admit, this didn't look good on paper.  Firstly this was the first issue without a writing byline from comic book genius Dan Slott, who has handed the reins over to Chris Gage, a writer who I haven't been overly sold on to date.  Secondly, the underrated Stefano Casselli isn't on this issue either, art being handled by the Luna Bros-esque Steve Uy.  Thirdly and most importantly, this issue introduces a totally new set of characters, all our favourites (Cloud Nine, Komodo, Hardball) having...

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