For the past few years I have been one of the more vocal supporters of Avengers the Initiative. A series that came out of the Marvel Civil War. A few weeks ago the series that I love ended. I've decided to go back and read the series from the beginning to see if it how it's held up. I could do this in the Avengers group thread but since it doesn't get a lot of activity I'll just do it on the message board. I'll probably read anywhere from 1 to a few issues and night and hopefully post my thoughts and a brief synopsis fo the issue. Feel free to join in if you have read any of the issues or just want to throw your two cents in.

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Draft surely?

Cloud 9 just wanted to fly around doing her own thing, but had no choice. Well, she could join or be hunted down as a criminal...

I read up to the end of Civil War, so I'll follow along Jason. Might get some of the later books from the library.
It was a choice but a completely unreasonable and unethical choice: train at Camp Hammond or have your powers stripped.
Cavalier said:
It was a choice but a completely unreasonable and unethical choice: train at Camp Hammond or have your powers stripped.

Or c) go to prison* indefinitely.

*not just any prison, but one way outside the remit of the law.

and outside reality as we know it, come to that!
Which made those that resisted, refused and rebelled more heroic!
Philip Portelli said:
Which made those that resisted, refused and rebelled more heroic!

Its always a good general rule to stick it to the man!
Mark S. Ogilvie said:
What of those who capitulated? I've thought that Camp Hammond should have produced more supervillains than superheroes because the entire atmosphere was laced with cynicism.

I don't think most of the people drafted into the Vietnam conflict became villains
Mark, Avengers the Initiative was an interesting series. You would think that being forced to be a hero by the government would make you cyncial and in this series many characters became cynical. But others rose to the occasion and found the inspiration to be heroic.

I'm happy to see all the responses so far. I'll probably start on this project next week, likely June 1.
The main inspiration for Camp Hammond was that these kids needed training. But it was the wrong kind of training. It should have been ethical not miliatary. The disaster at Stamford wasn't due to misuse of powers but a lack of judgement. Not how to use your powers but when to. They weren't being trained to be heroes but as weapons, and expendable weapons at that.

No one instructed the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, the Avengers, etc when they first started. They learned as they fought. It that risky? Yes. Were mistakes made? Yes. (Alien cows! Dissing the Hulk! Testing shrinking potions on yourself! Letting your girl make googly eyes at a pointy-eared guy in a Speedo!) The Avengers should have already had a place for new heroes to go. They tried to have an Avenger-in-training thing before.

The Initiative was a good idea but at the wrong time, led by the wrong people!
Mark S. Ogilvie said:
True, but I don't think it produced a lot of bright eyed idealist either. The kids were taught to kill, they saw the worst of the government, were treated like dirt, constantly under the threat of some sort of power removal... Kid sidekicks were always inspired by heroes to become heroes. Where was the inspiration to be a hero in camp hammond?

I'd say the inspiration is to come out of the experience with a desire to live a better life and a commitment to ensure that places like that, and the circumstances that lead to their creation, don't happen again.
Jason, I have the first 21 issues of Avengers: The Initiative, so I'll be joining in and chiming in up to that point. I did enjoy the series and look forward to this discussion; I dropped it only to switch to trades, which I'm behind in picking up.
Glad you can join us, John.

Since most following along will probably be reading the trades of the series, I'll post my reactions by story arc. The first six issues are collected in a trade called Basic Training. Even though I think the first six issues are more stand alone issues than a cohesive arc. There's even a World War Hulk tie-in in the middle.

Here's the break down of the trades and issues contained within from Wikipdia:
Avengers: The Initiative vol. 1: Basic Training Avengers: The Initiative vol. 1 #1-6
Avengers: The Initiative vol. 2: Killed in Action Avengers: The Initiative vol. 1 #7-13, Annual #1
Avengers: The Initiative vol. 3: Secret Invasion Avengers: The Initiative vol. 1 #14-19
Avengers: The Initiative vol. 4: Disassembled Avengers: The Initiative vol. 1 #20-25, Avengers: The Initiative feat. Reptil
Avengers: The Initiative vol. 5: Dreams & Nightmares Avengers: The Initiative vol. 1 #26-31
Volume 6 isn't listed yet but it will have issues 32-35 and will be the Siege tie-in.

I will probably discuss the special issues in seperate posts. Also issues 7 & 13 were definite stand alone stories and I'll probably devote a single post to them.

I'm excited about re-reading this series and glad that several of you want to following a long.
To me it flew in the face of what I understand about human reactions

Not at all. You're assuming that everyone is going to react in the same way. The reality is that individual people react differently to the same set of circumstances.

Some characters would share your reaction of revulsion at this government-imposed requirement. And we saw that depicted in the comics. Many heroes went underground, including new heroes who refused to report in. Others retired from active service.

But other characters might have such a strong desire to become heroes that they would see Camp Hammond as a necessary obstacle to overcome on the way to fulfilling their goal. My brother-in-law is a police officer in Canada. The province of Ontario had exactly one police academy. All police recruits had to move to that one city and attend that one academy. They didn't have any choice, not if they wanted to become police officers. But my brother-in-law and a bunch of other people did it because that's what they had to do.

You might say that it's different because most of the Marvel characters didn't choose to have powers. True. But some (not all, some) of the characters might not see it as being all that different. They want to be heroes and if they have to attend Camp Hammond in order to become heroes, they're willing to do that. I can see why an established hero wouldn't want to have a new set of rules imposed on him. But I can also see how somebody just starting out would be willing, if not eager, to undergo official training.

Again, I'm not saying everyone is going to have that same reaction. Some may attend Camp Hammond for very different reasons or even in spite of their cynicism. And some didn't attend Camp Hammond at all. But we shouldn't expect all fictional characters to react in the same way, any more than real people.

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