By Eric Drumm
Fall in, grunts! Strap your boots on and report for duty. After the CIVIL WAR, Tony Stark--Iron Man--had some big plans on how to prevent another Stamford disaster. Built on the ruins of the school destroyed in the tragedy, Camp Hammond is the training ground for THE INITIATIVE. It's a facility where all registered heroes must train in the use of their powers, producing soldiers, not amateurs. Writer Dan Slott stopped by to drill us on what's coming up.
THE INITIATIVE has introduced some new faces into the Marvel Universe. Kids such as Cloud 9, Hardball, Trauma, Komodo and MVP are still at sidekick status, but with instructors like Hank Pym, Gauntlet and Justice they're on the right track to hero status. Do they have what it takes? "Some yes, some no. That's going to be the fun of the show," says Slott. "Who does have what it takes? The answers might surprise you. They haven't made the HeroClix yet, so no one is safe!"
So far, the drill sergeants have been merciless in turning these "New Warriors" (the new derogatory term for an inexperienced hero) into full-fledged Avengers. THE INITIATIVE #2 had War Machine stopping by to offer some field tactics. Will we see other instructors coming in and out of Camp Hammond? "All the time," boasts Slott. "In fact, in issue #3 expect Mr. Benjamin J. Grimm to stop by, and our first mystery X-character to step into the light." Slott also said to keep an eye out for a wide variety of other characters to appear in issue #3, such as Hellcat, Black Widow and Stingray. "You gotta know your water safety!" cracked Slott. According the veteran writer, the Initiative is meant to teach the total package, not just obstacle courses. These kids need training in everything a growing hero needs, such as first aid and superhero ethics.
However, it's clear that these youngsters have a whole lot to learn about using their powers. In INITIATIVE #1, we saw just how quickly someone can get killed when they don't know what they are doing. With rising star MVP getting his face shot off, the recruits got quite a shock into seeing how real this really is. With so much promise, have we seen the last of MVP? "I'm not letting any cats out of the bag quite just yet. But in upcoming issues people might be like 'Heyyyy'!" shrieks Slott. With his body laid out on a slab and being mysteriously looked over by a less-than-perfect Henry Gyrich, there may be some secret stuff going on.
Out of all the new recruits, Trauma has proven to be perhaps the most powerful. Able to induce terrifying images on his opponents, he had a hand in MVP's death and petrified fellow recruit Cloud 9 in THE INITIATIVE #2. Trauma has the potential to be a major player--too bad he has no way of controlling his powers. "One of the fun things that people have been [talking about], is that none of these characters are mutants. Since M-Day, there have been no new mutants in the Marvel Universe. Most of the mutants on the face of the Earth have lost their powers. The recruits at Camp Hammond all got their powers through 'happy accidents,' the old-fashioned way. Whether it be radioactive beams, alien probes from space, who knows? For me, one of the fun things is when people find out how these characters got their powers, where they came from and how they tie into the Marvel Universe. For me, Trauma is a fun one. So, we have not even scratched the surface of who and what Trauma is about," explains Slott.
Already jumping into their superhero education and taking down some bad guys along the way, the recruits at Camp Hammond are going to eat their guts and ask for more. Dan Slott says to expect some shockers and tons of surprise guests to play drill sergeant. "One of the fun things about THE INITIATIVE is bringing in obscure characters, bringing in headliners and bringing in all-new characters. Its been a while since we've seen new characters in the Marvel Universe. In issue #3 there is going to be a big reveal, we'll hint at more in #4 and we'll the meet the Initiative's black ops team. Some of the characters we've seen floating around in the panels, walking around in the background, but there are some surprise character that will freak out fans from all over the Marvel Universe." And if all the new faces throw you off, THE INITIATIVE #3 will have our recruits taking on current king of the box office and the #1 rouge hero in the country, the amazing Spider-Man!
Get the lead out and get your butt in gear, soldier! THE INITIATIVE is the big show. THE INITIATIVE #3 by Dan Slott and Stefano Caselli, on sale June 6.