Avengers: The Initiative - Shadow Initiative

Shadow Initiative

Cover art for Avengers: The Initiative #5 featuring the Shadow Initiative, and Hulk.
Art by Jim Cheung.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Avengers: The Initiative #4
In-story information
Base(s) Camp Hammond
Member(s) See List of Shadow Initiative members

It has been revealed that there is a special "black ops" team within the Initiative, answerable only to Gyrich and known as the Shadow Initiative. This team consists of Bengal, Trauma, Constrictor, Mutant Zero, and for a time, the Scarlet Spiders.

The Initiative program denies all knowledge of a special Black Ops Team. There is no pardon on file for the super-villain known as the Constrictor. No record of any dealings with the Vietnamese national codenamed Bengal. Tony Stark cannot recall what became of his designs for the Iron Spider armor. And, most importantly, the Superhuman Armed Forces wishes to dispel all rumors of a 199th mutant. We repeat, there is no Mutant Zero. Mutant Zero does NOT exist. That is all.

This Shadow Initiative was sent out by Henry Gyrich to free the Initiative members captured by the Hulk's Warbound; Rage, Cloud 9, Ultra Girl, Thor Girl, Slapstick and Hardball. (On this assignment Bengal showed to be a perfect field leader of this Shadow Initiative.) The black ops group successfully rescues these captured trainees, while Trauma, their "secret weapon" tries to use his powers to scare the Hulk (becoming, in turn, the Abomination, Juggernaut, Brian Banner, and Bruce Banner). He fails to beat the Hulk, and the Hulk beats him into unconsciousness, leaving Terrance alive to pass the message on to the others. Trauma is later seen recuperating in the Initiative's medical bay.

It is later revealed that the Scarlet Spiders are clones of Michael Van Patrick (MVP), a deceased initiative recruit accidentally killed. The Scarlet Spiders are later taken off the Black Ops team after revealing themselves to the public and placed with the other trainees.

Gyrich called them to protect him from K.I.A., but they lost and one of the Scarlet Spiders was killed, and Constrictor was badly maimed. Mutant Zero saved Gyrich and Scarlet Spiders continued the battle for their brother. After KIA was defeated, the two remaining Scarlet Spiders left the Initiative to join Counter Force, a team of former New Warriors led by Justice, while Constrictor was healed with two bionic hands.

During Secret Invasion, the Shadow Initiative stayed at Camp Hammond while most others at Camp Hammond went to fight the Skrulls in New York. Later the Skrulls used Camp Hammond as a base, which Ant-Man (Eric O'Grady), discovers, having stayed behind out of cowardice. The Shadow Initiative tries to assassinate the Skrull Queen Veranke, but is defeated and captured, except for Ant-Man. During this story it was revealed Mutant Zero is a red haired woman.

After Secret Invasion, Taskmaster is added by Gauntlet to the Black-Ops team as their field leader. The Shadow Initiative, joined by Komodo, are assigned to take down a HYDRA cell, led by former Initiative member Hardball, in Madripoor. After the mission briefing, Taskmaster senses something familiar about Mutant Zero and later confronts her. A fight ensues and Taskmaster goads Mutant Zero into revealing her true identity: Typhoid Mary.

The Shadow Initiative are dropped into in Madripoor by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. During the mission, Taskmaster, Constrictor, Bengal, Typhoid Mary and Komodo are confronted by Hardball, Scorpion and HYDRA agents. Komodo is shot with HYDRA modified S.P.I.N technology by Hardball, forcing the Shadow Initiative into a hasty retreat. They manage to escape, but are forced to leave a depowered Komodo behind. Taskmaster decides to call off the mission in the light of HYDRA gaining S.P.I.N Tech. But before they can pull out of Madripoor, the Shadow Initiative learn that S.H.I.E.L.D. has since become defunct, leaving the team alone with no way out the country. They then infiltrate HYDRA, send a wire for help, and continue their mission to capture Hardball and shutdown the HYDRA cell. During the fight, Typhoid Mary relapses into her dangerous personality and escapes, leaving the rest of the Shadow Initiative in trouble. But then help arrives in the form of Ant-Man and H.A.M.M.E.R. agents. Hardball then surrenders himself to Constrictor, citing that everything that he has done was to protect Komodo. Constrictor understands, given his similar relationship with his daughter, and arrests Hardball.

Batwing graduates from the Initiative programme and is assigned to the Shadow Initiative.

Read more about this topic:  Avengers: The Initiative

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