World War Hulk Review – “Avengers: The Initiative #4-5”

The second of three comic reviews for the long weekend is now ready. Tomorrow’s review will be of “Silver Surfer: Requiem.”

General Information

Title: Avengers: The Initiative #4-5
Author: Dan Slott
Illustrator(s): Stefano Caselli and Daniele Rudoni
Original Publication Date: These issues cover dated September and October, 2007
Cover Price: Each issue $2.99 US, $3.75 Can

Past comic reviews can be found here.


A small group of trainees in the Initiative defy orders and take on the Hulk in New York. It doesn’t work out so well, forcing Gyrich to take some drastic action.

High Point

“I’m in hell. And it’s a bad Abbott and Costello sketch.”

Low Point

Given what we’ve seen of Henry Peter Gyrich in the past, I’d really doubt that’s actually his greatest fear.

The Scores

This is one of the most original titles Marvel is putting out right now, and is easily my favourite Avengers title. Slott’s got a very different take on the team dynamics, and has essentially created a Marvel boot camp. I give it 5 out of 6.

The artwork is very strong. Faces are emotive but on model, characters are individual, and the action is clear. That’s exactly what I look for in the art on titles I collect. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story is well plotted by Slott, moving in a slightly non-linear fashion that serves the overall story structure. I’ve been collecting since the first issue, but if I hadn’t been, I’d have gone back to catch up. This is very well done. I give it 5 out of 6, only because these two issues are not entirely independent of the rest of the series during this crossover.

The characterization is at the core of the plot. There’s very little time to establish characters in this selection, so it doesn’t come across that well in just these two issues. If you were to start with the first issue, though, you’d see a lot of subtlety that plays off the groundwork already established, which is a very impressive feat when you consider the sheer number of new characters introduced in those first three issues. I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response is great. It’s loads of fun, and it plays out in a very compelling fashion from start to finish. I was smiling as I read pretty much every page. Sometimes that’s because of the jokes that are here, sometimes it’s because of the genuine and interesting surprises that I ran across, and sometimes it’s just because of those little lines of dialogue that fit the characters so perfectly I just can’t hold back a smile. I give it 6 out of 6.

The flow is great, moving the story rapidly while using non-linear timelines in an interesting manner without hampering the plotlines in any way. Dan Slott’s already gained a reputation for fun, continuity aware comics through his work on She-Hulk and other titles. This is proving he can do action and team books just as well. I’m really, really pumped to see his work as member of one of the rotating creative teams on the forthcoming trimonthly Amazing Spider-Man. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, the main problems with these two issues is that they are a much better reading experience when you start with the first issue of the title. Don’t let that stop you from reading them, though. Instead, I strongly and heartily encourage you to proceed directly to the collected edition; do not pass “Go,” do not collect 200 dollars. I give this smaller piece of the package 5 out of 6.

In total, Avengers: The Initiative #4-5 receive 37 out of 42.

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