Written by Chris Gage
Art by Humberto Ramos
This issue promised a great many things, most prominent of which was the bold new direction in which the book would be going in. While the idea of Norman Osborn taking over the Initiative and turning it into a super villain training ground sounds great in theory, it lacked a great deal in execution.
In fact, it was mostly just a whole lot of talking and very little actual doing for this new direction. We're treated to page after page of exposition filled promises of this new direction and can see a lot of the potential being set up, but nothing ever really happens here that we already didn't know was happening or going to happen. Add in how far behind the timeline of the rest of the Marvel Universe this storyline and title has been of late and it just seems odd reading about these events that are supposed to be Earth shattering when they should have happened months ago.
Another problem I had with this issue was the overt actions of the Hood and Norman Osborn. Why is the Hood showing up so brazenly and making himself known to so many people, such as Tigra, when he's a well known and wanted criminal? I was under the impression he'd mostly be hiding in the shadows working with Norman or other high ranking Initiative personel to further their goals, not sitting in on recruiting meetings with heroes and former Initiative members.
One thing that also hurts this new direction is that the book spends so much time on Norman Osborn and trying to show us how corrupt and evil this new regime is when anyone that has been reading the book since its conception will already know that it's been about as corrupt as it could possibly be from the start. This current HAMMER driven Initiative actually seems less corrupt than the previous incarnation so far.
While the issue wasn't terrible or outright bad, I'm just not feeling the love for it anymore and had been looking for a reason to stay for a while. I'd honestly been hoping this issue would be the one to finally make me want to stick around, but it's just lost the magic the book once had. Shame, really.
Verdict - Check It. This is a good jumping on point for people interested, but the new direction is also a good jumping off point for others, such as myself. While not a bad book or issue, I feel it's served its purpose and it's time to move on.