Civil War: The Initiative

Issue Date: 
April 2007
Story Title: 

Brian Michael Bendis & Warren Ellis (Writers), Marc Silvestri (Penciler), TOP COW PRODUCIONS (Art & Letters), Frank D’Armata (Colorist), Rich Ginter (Production), Molly Lazer & Aubrey Sitterson (Assistant Editors), Tom Brevoort (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor-in-Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

For Top Cow Productions: Michael Broussard & Eric Basaldua (Background Artists), Joe Weems, Marco Galli & Rick Basaldua (Inkers), Troy Peteri (Letterers), Rob Levin (For Top Cow)

Brief Description: 

In Canada, Sasquatch, apparently the only survivor of the Collective’s attack on Alpha Flight, interviews the Collective a.k.a. Michael Pointer, asking him how much he knows about the Xorn energy that he absorbed and so on. Sasquatch forces him to watch SHIELD’s recording of him killing Alpha Flight, and an obviously upset Michael is presented with a version of Guardian and Vindicator’s battle suit as Sasquatch informs him he is going to be part of Omega Flight. Elsewhere, A relatively new hero going by the name Hurricane tries to escape from the Thunderbolts in yet another of their viscous attacks in front of the media. Meanwhile, Ms. Marvel interrupts a fight between Spider-Woman and the Grey Gargoyle, and has a chat with Spider-Woman, trying to convince her to come back to her side, and informing her that Captain America is not dead. Spider-Woman doesn’t seem to believe Carol and leaves. Later, Iron Man is unimpressed that Carol let Spider-Woman escape, but Carol stands by her decision. Iron Man has a chat with Jarvis, who points out that the world still needs the Avengers, and Iron Man begins to review his candidates.

Full Summary: 

This is the story of the new world…The war is over. And there is a winner. It’s Anthony Stark, Iron Man. Tony’s belief that the world was right to want its super heroes to be functioning members of authority and not answering only to themselves was so strong that he fought against some of the most powerful heroes in the world. The governments of the world rewarded Tony by appointing him the leader of SHIELD, the world peacekeeping task force. Which now oversees every registered super hero in America. Which makes Tony the leader of all super heroes.

Not too long ago, Tony made a massive technological breakthrough - Instead of physically putting on his shinning suit of armor, the armor is now a part of him. He is an Iron Man. And because of this, Tony has access to every satellite and computer network, and energy source in the world. It’s a new Iron Man and a new era…Now he has to figure out what to do….

Zooming across the city, Tony watches various goings-on across the world, before beginning to watch some new footage which has just become available - “Weapon Alpha Didfile 2424-22-24”.

A holding cell in Ottawa, Canada. A man sits at a table, a device clamped around his arms, he sits and looks back at his reflection in the window. Suddenly, the door to the holding cell opens and a man walks in. ‘Michael Pointer a.k.a. “the Collective”?’ the new man asks as he enters the room. ‘Y-yes’ Michael nervously replies. The new man introduces himself as Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four. ‘Oh my God!’ exclaims Michael. A clipboard in hand, Reed begins asking Michael some questions: ‘Have you ever had polio?’ Confused at first, Michael eventually replies that he hasn’t. ‘Smallpox?’ Reed asks. ‘No’. Michael replies. ‘Herpes?’ ‘No!’ Michael exclaims, slightly perturbed by the question.

Reed declares that Michael used to work for the post office in North Alaska, and asks if his government medical record from his last physical correct. ‘Yeah, I guess’ Michael replies. ‘Do you drink?’ ‘No’. ‘Do you smoke?’ ‘No’. ‘Did you ever at a time?’ ‘No’. ‘Is that your natural hair color?’ Reed asks with a smirk. His head shaven, Michael replies ‘Yes - I mean it was’ before asking what this is all about. Reed ignores the question and informs Michael that if he wears cologne or aftershave that he is going to have to stop, adding that he will be given a list of hair conditioners and body lotions he can use. ‘What?’ Michael asks. The door opens and another man stands in the door way. ‘Good luck’ Reed remarks, not clear as to who he was saying it to, as he leaves the room.

A well-dressed man wearing glasses places a box on the table and greets Michael, who asks where he is. Unknown to Michael at this point, the other man is Doctor Walter Langkowski, and ignoring Michael’s question, Walt asks him what was going through his mind when he destroyed Alpha Flight. ‘Oh my God…’ is all Michael can utter. Changing the subject, Walter asks Michael ‘Who is Xorn?’ Michael replies that he doesn’t know, to which Walter asks ‘Are you in there, Xorn?’ ‘Who are you? What is this? Where am I?’ And what do you want from me?’ Michael asks.

Walter narrows his eyes at Michael, who hangs his head and remarks that if he is going to be on trial for what happened to Alpha Flight, then so be it, as he cannot make what happened not happen again. Walter holds a remote up to a screen and declares that they should watch the file footage from SHIELD. Wide-eyed with horror, Michael exclaims ‘Please, don’t!’ But Walt does anyway, although he turns away from the screen.

On Visual Recording:

‘You guys ready?’ Walter Langkowski in his Sasquatch form asks his teammates. ‘Yeah, right,’ mutters Dr. Michael “Shaman” Twoyoungmen. Heather McNeil Hudson a.k.a. Vindicator points out that it is moving awful fast, to which Eugene Judd, better known as Puck declares that he will do the talking. James “Guardian” MacDonald Hudson stands ready at the front of the group, while Louis Sadler a.k.a. Major Mapleleaf and Zuzha Yu - another Puck - round off the team. Sasquatch asks if it is anyone they know, before Judd remarks that it looks like he has stopped. Sasquatch shouts to the man, ‘Excuse me! Sir? We’re Alpha Flight, Canada’s premiere super team! On behalf of the Canadian government, we’d like to ask you to turn your naked self around and back away!’

Guardian…Heather…Sasquatch…Shaman…Major Mapleleaf…the two Pucks,’…. They didn’t even get the chance to put up a fight. Their blood stains the white snow. Their bodies are bruised and broken as they lie in the wake of the mysterious being from outer space.


‘Stop. Stop it! Stop it! STOP IT!’ Michael screams, before informing his interrogator that it wasn’t just Alpha Flight, but his entire home was destroyed - the entire town he lived in and everyone that he loved - his Mom, his girlfriend, his best friend. ‘Everyone I have ever known in my life! Strangers! People I hated! All because I’m a mutant and I didn’t even know it!’ Walter just stares at Michael, who continues, claiming that he was used, as people say, and that Iron Man said he is a mutant who absorbs other mutants’ energy, and without knowing it, absorbed a power he could not control.

Michael exclaims that he absorbed the Xorn thing that took his body, and Xorn used him to do that. Michael remarks that all the good thing in his life, all the good things he wanted to do, they mean nothing now. ‘Because now I’m the guy who killed Alpha Flight’. Walter’s eyes narrow further at Michael, who adds that he is the guy who blew up Alaska. ‘You can hate me all you want…but I would do anything in the world to make this right!’.

‘Yeah? Like what?’ Walter asks. Eyes to the table, Michael replies that he doesn’t know. ‘You don’t know? Wah, wah, wah and you don’t know?’ Walter asks, taking off his glasses. ‘Who are you?’ Michael asks. ‘I’m the man who’s going to tell you what you’re going to do!’ Walter declares, before introducing himself to Michael, firstly as Doctor Walter Langkowski, then, as his form begins to shift into that of a furry “monster”, as the only survivor of Alpha Flight. ‘So listen to me very carefully!’ Sasquatch orders.

Wide-eyed and scared, Michael watches as Sasquatch opens the box and pulls from it a suit. Walter informs him that Reed Richards made it for him and that it is one like Heather and James Hudson wore. ‘Good people!’ Sasquatch remarks, before explaining that the suit represents something to himself and to his country, and informing Michael that it will help him control his powers and help him to learn how to use them. Sasquatch explains to Michael that when his training is done, he will honor the deaths of both their family and friends. ‘How?’ Michael asks, to which Sasquatch replies: ‘As a member of Canada’s new premiere super hero team…OMEGA FLIGHT!’

Tony Stark finishes the “Weapon Alpha” recording, and switches to another, something that is currently in process…a Thunderbolts operation!

Lower Manhattan: The target is Hurricane, who has in-human resistance to damage and unusual technical intellect, and also designed his own “hurricane gear”. His career as a super hero has been nine months and three days, and is an unregistered superhuman vigilante. His “takedown” commenced three minutes ago, and he is still out-running his pursuers. Until now, as Mac Gargan a.k.a. the current Venom bursts through a wall and lunges at Hurricane, grabbing his head and shoving it against another wall, until he is ordered to disengage, which he does by tossing Hurricane down to the other end of the building.

‘You shouldn’t have thrown me away!’ Hurricane exclaims, when suddenly Radioactive Man appears before him, and grabs Hurricane by the throat, before also being ordered to let him go. Hurricane rushes through the abandoned building and up some stairs, leaving a radioactive energy trail in his wake, while Radioactive Man smiles from inside his containment suit and exclaims ‘You should have let me kill you, stupid American boy!’

Arriving at the top of the stairs, Hurricane is confronted by the new Penance, formerly Speedball of the New Warriors, who is ordered to commence the second stage. ‘Please stand aside, I don’t want to hurt you. I’m a super hero!’ exclaims Hurricane. ‘I want you to hurt me!’ Penance replies. ‘Just get out of the way!’ Hurricane exclaims, but Penance remarks that pain is what activates his powers, and that he is already in pain. ‘Pain you can’t imagine. And I want more!’ Penance shoves his fingers against the back of Hurricane’s head, then tosses him through a brick wall into the next room.

Hurricane tells himself to get to the roof so he can take off, and wearily, he walks through the room, unaware that the deadly Bullseye is following him - that is until Bullseye throws three darts at him, hitting him in the back of the knees and his lower back. Bullseye is ordered to back off, but he stands over Hurricane’s broken body, declaring that they won’t let him kill Hurricane, not this time. ‘But one day I’ll be out of range of their little electric gadgets - and then I’ll come looking for you and all your buddies!’ Bullseye exclaims that then they will have some fun. ‘You keep thinking about that. Tell your friends!’

Hurricane exclaims that he cannot feel his legs, not that it matters, all he needs is to get to the roof, to get some space. Hurricane goes wide-eyed as Moonstone appears before him. The sultry Doctor Karla Sofen orders her team to all points, as playtime is over. ‘It’s sad, I know’ she tells Hurricane, before warning Andreas “Swordsman” Strucker to be ready to catch Hurricane as she uses her powers to force Hurricane through the floor.

He lands hard, and before he can move, Hurricane finds a sword slice so close to his face that it rips his mask off. Moonstone, Bullseye, Venom, Radioactive Man and Penance group around the handsome Swordsman, who tells Hurricane that people like him made their lives a misery for years. ‘Self-important dirt bags in masks getting in the way of what we want! Now the sword’s in the other hand!’

Moonstone tells Bullseye to head out the back, reminding him that the cameras are not supposed to see him. ‘Yeah, yeah’ mutters Bullseye as he leaves. Moonstone informs Bullseye that there should be two crewmen with a cloaking device should be waiting at the South exit. Karla then grabs Hurricane by his hair and drags him along the ground. ‘Everyone else, let’s go and see the nice TV people!’ An unseen television reporter exclaims “The Commission on Superhuman Affairs’ special marshals have captured another dangerous unregistered vigilante…but that’s all in a days work for…the THUNDERBOLTS!”

Iron Man arrives at his destination - Avengers Tower - and lands on Stark Tower East, where he sees his friend and teammate Carol Danvers a.k.a. Ms. Marvel, formerly Warbird and Binary. The long-serving Avenger informs Iron Man that she has something to tell him, and knows he isn’t going to like it. ‘I found Jessica Drew!’ she reveals. From behind his armor, Tony’s eyes narrow. ‘Tell me!’ he exclaims.

Carol informs Tony that Jessica Drew - Spider-Woman - was beating the snot out of Paul Duval a.k.a. the Grey Gargoyle. Tony remarks that the Grey Gargoyle’s touch turns anything to stone for about an hour, and can turn himself into a stone form with super human strength and durability, before asking Carol about Drew. Carol explains that Drew caught the Grey Gargoyle in what she later found out was a paid assassination attempt on a movie studio executive. Tony asks which one, to which Carol asks him if it matters. ‘One of the six’ she remarks. Tony asks who hired the Grey Gargoyle, and Carol informs him that the police are working on it. ‘She had it under control, but I was in the neighborhood…’ Carol begins…

…Civilians stand and watch as the original Spider-Woman smashes the Grey Gargoyle across the street. Vehicles and some people have been touched by the Grey Gargoyle, who tries to punch Drew in return, but she dodges, before kicking him in the face, then unleashes her venom blasts on him - until Ms. Marvel swoops down and forces Grey Gargoyle across the street and into a car. With the Grey Gargoyle unconscious, Ms. Marvel turns to Spider-Woman and tells her that she likes it when you hit them before they even know what is happening, then they wake up in jail and someone has to tell them what happened. ‘That’s the best!’

A police officer holds a gun towards Spider-Woman, who leaps out of reach up the side of a wall. ‘Come on, don’t run!’ Carol calls after her, before flying up to the rooftop and meeting Drew there. ‘I’m not going to fight you!’ Drew exclaims. ‘Yeah, good. You’d lose!’ Carol tells her, before asking her to come back, as the war is over. ‘There’s a lot to do, and you could do it a lot better from over here than from over there’.

‘How could you be with them?’ is Spider-Woman’s reply as she climbs up another wall. Carol follows her in flight. ‘With them? Who’s them?’ she asks. ‘It used to be us. Now it’s them?’. Jessica tells Carol to take away everything - the politics, the egos, ‘Take all that away, and you know what’s left? Tony Stark killed Captain America! Captain America is dead! And he died fighting for freedom, right here in America!’ Drew tells Carol to listen to the words: ‘Captain America is dead!’ Now tell me again what you’re doing!’

Ms. Marvel suddenly replies ‘He’s not’. ‘WHAT?’ Drew exclaims. ‘He’s not’ Carol says again. Drew accuses Carol of lying, to which Carol reveals that Captain America is tucked away safe on the Raft and no one knows. She adds that they are trying to save his life as they speak. ‘How is he not dead?’ Jessica asks. ‘What am I? A Super-Soldier Serum expert? He’s not dead!’ Ms. Marvel exclaims. Carol assures Drew that she isn’t just talking her. ‘Nick Fury too. The both of you - come back to work!’ Carol hovers alongside Drew as she remarks that it feels to her, ‘Maybe to you as well’ that these are truly important times for them.

Carol tells Spider-Woman that it is time to make the decisions that will define them, perhaps forever. ‘And I just think that I’d hate to see you throw your life away when there’s so much more you could be doing! Other than running and hiding!’ Spider-Woman points a finger at Carol and declares that this is bull. ‘Tony Stark hates me!’ she exclaims. Carol informs Drew that before all this started, Tony was asking her a lot of personal questions about her. ‘I think he was going to ask you out’ Carol remarks. ‘What?’ asks a surprised Drew.

Carol smirks and exclaims ‘But…this thing with you and Nick Fury - whatever it is you’re up to -’ ‘What we’re up to?’ Drew exclaims, interrupting Carol. ‘What are you up to? Carol asks. ‘What are you talking about?’ Jessica exclaims, clearly exasperated. ‘Just come back in, Jessica!’ Carol remarks. Drew doesn’t respond to that, she just thanks Carol for not beating her up.

Ms. Marvel tells Spider-Woman that she is one of the most important people in her life, reminding her that she was there for her at the worst moment in her life. ‘Please, please don’t get killed for something that you can’t control!’ Jessica just looks at Carol, before gliding away, leaving Carol to ponder their future….

….’I didn’t approve that!’ Iron Man bellows at Carol, who replies that she knows. Tony tells her it was a bad move, to which Carol replies that it was worth a try. Tony informs Carol that if Drew comes in, then he is arresting her for treason. ‘Stop it!’ Carol tells him. Tony reminds Carol that Drew is taking her orders from Nick Fury - Nick Fury who is not a figure of authority, which makes her a traitor. Carol reminds Tony that Drew was an Avenger. ‘Once an Avenger, always an Avenger. And she wasn’t wrong!’ Carol adds, before flying away.

Entering his tower, Tony Stark asks his long-time aide Edwin Jarvis what he thinks. ‘I think, in all of this, something important was forgotten’ the old man replies. ‘What’s that?’ Tony asks. Jarvis remarks that it is a time of rebuilding and that the world needs a symbol for that - a team that represents working together for a better future - people of different walks of life, of different values fighting together… ‘Sir, the world needs the Avengers. You, Sir, if I may, need the Avengers!’

Jarvis points out to Iron Man, that with all the heroes in the world now working for him, it seems that he gets to cherry-pick the very best team of Avengers the world has ever seen. ‘Who would you pick?’ Tony asks. Jarvis replies that, the good news is, he doesn’t need to make such lofty decisions. ‘The Fates have given you that responsibility’. Jarvis remarks, before warning him Tony that if he lets that Tigra %^#$ back on the team, then he can find someone else to do his laundry. Tony just smiles, before looking up at a large photograph of himself in one of his early armors and alongside five very important people in the Avengers history - Captain America…the Scarlet Witch…Hawkeye…Quicksilver…and the mighty Thor.

‘Show me the Initiative Files. Avengers candidates’ Tony remarks, and a computer displays headshots of a few dozen heroes, ranging from the Fantastic Four, the Beast, Crystal and Darkhawk to Mantis, Stingray, Wonder Man and Moon Knight. Tony Stark is now the protector of the world, with every hero in the world at his disposal… ‘And the world still needs the Avengers!’….

Characters Involved: 

Iron Man (Director of SHIELD)

Mr Fantastic

Ms. Marvel



Michael Pointer / The Collective

Bullseye, Moonstone II, Penance IV, Radioactive Man, Swordsman III, Venom III (all Thunderbolts)

Hurricane V

Edwin Jarvis

Grey Gargoyle


Visual Recording on Computer Screen:

Guardian, Major Mapleleaf II, Puck, Puck II, Sasquatch, Shaman, Vindicator II (all Alpha Flight)

Michael Pointer

In Photograph:

Captain America, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Thor (all Avengers)

On Computer Screen headshot images:

Arana, Beast, Big Bertha, Blackout the Lilin, Black Knight IV, Black Panther, Black Widow, Luke Cage, Chainmail, Crystal, Darkhawk, Doc Samson, Falcon, Firebird, Firestar, Flatman, Hawkeye III, Hellcat, Hercules, Hulkling, Human Torch II, Invisible Woman, Justice, Living Lightning, Machine Man, Mantis, Mister Immortal, Moon Knight, Mr. Fantastic, Ms. Marvel, Patriot, Sentry, She-Hulk, Silverclaw, Speed, Stingray, Stature, Stingray, Storm, Sub-Mariner, Thing, Tigra, Triathalon, Two-Gun Kid, Vision II, Wasp, Wiccan, Wonder Man and one unidentified

In Illustrative Images:

Arachne III, Beta Ray Bill, Michael Pointer, Sasquatch, Talisman II, USAgent (all Omega Flight)

Bullseye, Green Goblin, Moonstone II, Penance IV, Radioactive Man, Songbird, Swordsman III, Venom III (all Thunderbolts)

Story Notes: 

Civil War: The Initiative is an arch between Marvel’s recent event Civil War, in which Captain America and his followers (the anti-registration heroes a.k.a. the Secret Avengers) fought Iron Man and his followers (the pro-registration heroes) over whether or not all super beings should be registered. Iron Man’s side “won”, and the United States is set for a big change in the super hero community, with a proposed 50 teams in 50 states.

Iron Man was appointed Director of SHIELD in Civil War #7, much to Maria Hill’s displeasure.

The file that Iron Man watches of Michael Pointer is called “Weapon Alpha”, suggesting that perhaps Michael’s codename will be Weapon Alpha, which was the first codename James MacDonald Hudson (most commonly known as Guardian) went by.

Walter Langkowski is drawn a lot smaller than he usually is, after all, he may have the mind of a brilliant scientist, but he has the body of a buff 245lb football player.

The recording of Alpha Flight’s apparent deaths that Michael Pointer is forced to watch took place in New Avengers #16, and these are the actual scenes taken from that issue.

The Alpha Flight slain in New Avengers #16 consisted of Guardian (Mac), Vindicator (Heather), Shaman, Puck, Major Mapleleaf II and Puck II. However, it is unclear whether the Mac, Heather, Shaman and Puck slain were the real, present versions, or those pulled to the present from the past at the end of Alpha Flight (3rd series): The All-New, All-Different Alpha Flight #12. In Alpha Flight (3rd series): The All-New, All-Different Alpha Flight #6, the present Mac, Heather, Snowbird, Shaman, Puck and Earthmover left for space, and no return has been seen or mentioned. In addition to the aforementioned previous versions pulled from the past, three other Alphans were pulled from the past: Snowbird (who married Yukon Jack), Northstar and Aurora, all three whose status is unknown.

Michael Pointer acquired the Xorn energy in New Avengers #20.

This issue marks the supposed first appearance of the character Hurricane, however, the issue mentions that he is the second person to go by the name Hurricane, when in fact there have been four others before him: An enemy of Two-Gun Kid, Makkari of the Eternals, an enemy of Captain Britain and of course the now-deceased Dark Rider.

Cap was shot in Captain America (4th series) #25, first by Crossbones, the sniper, and then up close by Sharon Carter, who had been subliminally influenced by Doctor Faustus.

This issue contains several previews of upcoming issues, all part of “The Initiative”

- Iron Man (4th series) #15

- Mighty Avengers #1

- Captain America (6th series) #25

- Omega Flight #1

- Avengers: The Initiative #1

Thanks to Monolith for character identification.

Thanks to Homer Jay for info on the Xorn energy.

Issue Information: 
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