The following issues have been added to the Conundrum: Avengers: The Initiative #5, New Warriors volume 4 #4, Loners #5, and Nova volume 5 #6. Lots happened. Prepare for lots of SPOILERS. Click through for the details.
Avengers: The Initiative #5 focused on the Shadow Initiative, a black ops style team for the Initiative program. The group consists of Bengal, an estranged ally of the Warriors from way back, and a mysterious trio of Spider-Men called the Scarlet Spiders. Whether any of them turn out to be Ben Reilly remains to be seen. The team is sent in to free the kids, a group of rogue Initiative trainees, from a botched attempt at helping the heroes against a rampaging Hulk from the end of the last issue. Half of the trainees are former New Warriors Rage, Slapstick and Ultragirl. The three get plenty of face time but the issue really isn’t essential beyond depicting how they get out of the mess they got themselves into at the end of the last issue. Slapstick appeared the most – 3 panels of his butt getting handed to him at the hands of Hulk’s Warbound, a small army of powerful aliens helping the Hulk, 2 panels showing his escape, and 3 panels on the final page as he visits Trauma, another member of the Shadow Initiative and a former Initiative trainee, in the hospital. Rage has 3 silent panels of video footage of him trying to take on the Hulk, and about 3 other panels showing the Shadow Initiative breaking him free. Ultragirl has 2 panels of her defeat at the hands of one of the Warbound and 2 panels (1 in silhouette) of her escape. Justice also appears for a page (4 panels and plenty of dialogue) in a scene that acknowledges the New Warriors graffiti. Speaking of which…
New Warriors #4 reveals the identity of two more team members and the code names of two more. The issue also contains more clues but still no answers to the question of who is wearing the Night Thrasher armor. This Night Thrasher appears throughout the issue (about 25 panels), training the team, pushing their buttons, reprimanding Wondra and leading them into battle against Zodiac. Wondra also appears consistently (about 20 panels), getting trained, getting fed up with Night Thrasher, recognizing who he might really be, and then heading into battle. Meanwhile, Sofia happily returns to her waitress job at the diner, which becomes collateral damage to Zodiac’s assault. She doesn’t appear until the second half of the issue and appears in 10 panels. Blackwing appears for about 7 panels during the training and battle scenes. Right after the training session, Tempest is revealed to be Blackwing’s wife Angel Salvatore, a former student of the X-Men. She appears in about 6 panels including the battle with Zodiac. Decibel is revealed to be Jono Starsmore, formerly Chamber of Generation X. He appears in 8 panels following the training and during the battle but says very little. Longstrike also appears in 8 panels, but doesn’t look too good in the last one. Her brother Phaser also shows in 8. Ripcord is seen in 5 panels, and Skybolt only in 4.
Pages for the new New Warriors have been added and/or updated accordingly. Many thanks to the Marvel Chronology Project for helping me put up preliminary chronology listings for Wondra and Decibel. Also thank you to the readers who post with additions and corrections. Keep them coming!
The Loners #5 focuses on Turbo, who narrates the issue and appears on 15 pages. Part of the issue deals with her relationship with Darkhawk, who appears in 13 pages. The issue ends with the power of the Darkhawk being taken from Chris and concludes with next issue’s final part of the mini-series.
Nova #6 once again focuses more on the new Nova, Ko-Rel. But we see more of Richard Rider (Nova) in this issue as he works with Gamora and the Phalanx to help capture Drax, and he and Gamora reacquaint themselves with each other. The issue ends with the two Novas clashing in hopes to either purge the Phalanx from Richard or kill him to keep it from infecting the WorldMind. Richard appears in 14 pages.
A good round of New Warriors appearances, all worthwhile additions to the canon.