Wednesday, April 07, 2010


Alright, so the end of "Dark Reign" and the beginning of "The Heroic Age" is nearly here, so I think it's entirely appropriate to take some time and go over as complete a list as possible of the Initiative's successes and failures. I'll try to be as organized about this as possible given the subject matter:

-Failure to capture Ghost Rider (or is it Ghost Riders? Are there more than one now?)
-Failure to capture the Runaways
-Failure to capture Moon Knight (an out of control murderous vigilante? Isn't that exactly what the Initiative should be cracking down on? And he has no powers? Really, it's that hard?)
-Failure to apprehend Daredevil, thus allowing him to consilidate his power and become head of a criminal cartel (the Hand) known to cause incidents of terror and assassination, along with a team of super-powered vigilantes. Failure to prevent multiple incidents of murder, death and mass insanity in Hell's Kitchen.
-Successfully dismantling the post-Civil War "New Warriors", with some lethal casualties* (Point for Stark)
-Successfully bringing down the Punisher (Point for Osborn)

*(Weird subtext - it strikes me as disconcerting that lethal methods have only been shown being used against the youngest superhumans - machineguns against Patriot in "Civil War", cops killing teenagers in "New Warriors" and my favorite - using TOW missiles against kids in "Civil War: Young Avengers/Runaways. Also, what is up with calling the troops "Capekillers"? Aside from being a bad name, it's weird in the context of the Marvel Universe because the vast majority of Marvel Superheroes don't wear capes to begin with).

Now let's move on to the bigger items shall we?
-The Hulk(s) - escaped captivity, plus the additional creation of Red Hulk, A-Bomb, Red She-Hulk, and others. She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters) is reported MIA after breaking into federal property and nearly causing an international incident abroad.
-Ms. Marvel: Endangerment of a minor (Arana),Failure to prevent many female superbeings from being kidnapped for auctioning. Dismantling of Operation: Lightning Storm, defection from Initiative and subsequent rogue actions.
-Infiltration of Camp Hammond by HYDRA, the Skrulls, and finally, a criminal cabal controlled by the Hood. Subsequent defection of key Initiative leaders to form Avengers Resistance.
-Loss of Prison 42 under Stark, reclaimed under Osborn (Point for Osborn)

-Using portals to the Negative Zone for transport, even knowing it weakens the barriers between universes, possibly threatening all of existence
-Failure to prevent multiple non-registered beings from escaping to Canada
-Failure to prevent formation of supervillain criminal cartel created by The Hood. Subsequent failures to protect Initiative member secret identities from said cartel and allowing their escape from Initiative custody.
-Failure to protect American against Atlantean terrorism, and subsequent failure of SHIELD to contain Atlantis. Failure to prevent Namor/Doom Alliance and Atlantean Sleeper cells from going global.
-Failure to protect nuclear launch codes and government secrets and government properties from a rogue Initiative member Penance

-Failure to stop Menace from killing a Mayoral candidate.
-Failure to apprehend the patrons of known supervillain bars
-Failure to stop a bio-terror attack and thus, creating the conditions for a gang war
-Failure of Initiative personal to prevent assault on high-profile individuals, public and private property, as well as innocent lives by super criminals. All those assaults were stopped by "unregistered combatatants".
-Failure to capture perpetrators of an Alaskan village from Purifiers and Marauders (X-Men: Messiah Complex), which subsequently lead to a cross-country mutant war and the deaths of Sentinel Squad O.N.E., among others. Subsequent failure to police the mutant population and keep them from creating a mutant base camp with easy access to US soil to perpetuate mutant extremist actions, including but not limited to terrorism and assassination.
-Failure to prevent Symbiote Bomb. International incident created by invasion of Latveria. Subsequent failure to maintain Dr. Doom in federal custody. Dropping of all charges.
-Failure to prevent major loss of life in California due to superhuman terror. Multiple deaths of Initiative members (The Order)
-Failure to capture rogue "Captain America", subsequent defection of Black Widow
-Failure to prevent Helicarrier fleet from being stolen by Nick Fury and enemy superhuman forces.
-Failure to prevent world-wide terrorism strikes by Ezekiel Stane. Subsequent failure to prevent Tony Stark from carrying out massive destruction of federal property.
-Number of Helicarrier fleet crashes: Three - Once the entire fleet got grounded by Ultron, a second time by Amadeus Cho, and finally, the Skrull invasion.
-Number of massive alien invasions : Two - World War Hulk and Secret Invasion, both the product of actions taken by Initiative heads Tony Stark and Reed Richards

And Finally: Massive loss of life in act of superhuman terrorism in Chicago, and massive loss of life in Asgard.

Anyone still care to say it was a good idea? Because, no, it wasn't - it was a bad idea conceived poorly because it does break the back of the superhero genre (as it would most other action genres, make no mistake). It's even more laughable because the brain trust at Marvel wanted us to by "No, really, this is the realistic response" and then go back and say "well, of course Tony Stark only kept two copies of all the SHRA's secrets, and one of them was his own magnificent brain". That's eating your cake and having it too; because in a realistic situation, there would have been back ups for that kind of data - some of them on paper, and not all of them under the control of a single human being, because no human being could be trusted to wield that level of secrecy unaccounted for.

But of course, if we're talking realism, then this whole thing would have been scrapped from the get-go.

Oh well. I for one am glad to be done with this final list of the many, many failings of the concept. RIP, SHRA.

No comments: