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30th November 2023


The Fifty State Initiative was an idea emerging from the Superhuman Registration Act. After the New Warriors failed to prevent Nitro from detonating in Stamford, Connecticut (leading to the deaths of over 600 people), Congress passed a law declaring that masked vigilantes and super-powered individuals must be registered with the government and trained in the use of their abilities before taking action. Prominent super-heroes Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic and Yellowjacket came out in favor of the law and dreamed up 100 ideas to support and implement the Act. The Initiative was one of those ideas, designed to ensure every state in the Union had a trained super-team to call upon, as opposed to the traditional congregation of super-heroes in Manhattan, Los Angeles and a few other places.

Avengers: The Initiative was the main title covering the establishment of the Fifty State Initiative. It was centered around Camp Hammond in #1-23, a boot camp built in Stamford, Connecticut on the site of the Warriors’ failure, where new recruits received training before being assigned to state Initiative branches. The Gauntlet served as drill sergeant for the Initiative, Justice as youth counselor and an oversight board of War Machine, Yellowjacket and Henry Peter Gyrich served on base. Several classes of new recruits passed through Camp Hammond before being assigned to different state teams, washing out and sometimes even being killed in action.

After Camp Hammond came under attack during and following the Skrull invasion, Tony Stark’s replacement Norman Osborn used this as an excuse to move the training grounds to Camp H.A.M.M.E.R., in a remote area of the American Southwest, for the remainder of the title, issues #24-35. Gyrich had been forced out by Stark, Yellowjacket was revealed as a Skrull and War Machine, Justice and Gauntlet quit in defiance to Osborn’s Dark Reign. Osborn and his collaborator, the crimeboss known as the Hood, turned Camp H.A.M.M.E.R. over to Taskmaster and used it as a haven for super-villains on-call to enforce Osborn’s private vision for the Initiative.

Many states’ teams were never shown and it seems the Fifty State Initiative was never fully staffed, even behind-the-scenes. After the fall of Norman Osborn in Siege #1-4, Steve Rogers negotiated with the President and the Superhuman Registration Act was rescinded. Most Initiative teams disbanded after this, since they lost the government funding which supported their bases and equipment. The Initiative was briefly revisited during Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt, with the former anti-registration activist Prodigy being given authority to redeploy the remaining Initiative teams and returning members during the Serpent War.

The titles that covered official Initiative teams included:

  • Avengers: The Initiative #1-35
  • Mighty Avengers (1st series) #1-20 (New York)
  • Dark Avengers (1st series) #1-16 (New York)
  • Last Defenders #1-2 (New Jersey)
  • Thunderbolts (1st series) #110-127 (Colorado)
  • The Order (2nd series) #1-10 (California)
  • Patsy Walker: Hellcat #1-5 (Alaska)
  • Omega Flight #1-5 (Joint American / Canadian task force)


01) Alabama

– No Initiative team identified



02) Alaska

Assigned heroes: Hellcat
Debut: Patsy Walker: Hellcat #1

Note: In the Patsy Walker: Hellcat limited series, Hellcat was assigned to the Alaska Initiative for “recon,” to investigate a particular case and determine if a larger team was necessary.

03) Arizona

Assigned heroes: Desert Stars
Debut: Avengers: The Initiative #12 (mentioned), #16 (seen)
Members: Two-Gun Kid, Komodo, Johnny Cool, Blacksmith (Skrull), Supermax

04) Arkansas

Assigned heroes: The Battalion
Debut: New Avengers (1st series) #35 (mentioned), Avengers: The Initiative #19 (seen)
Members: Razorback (Skrull), Tigra

Note: Tigra first mentioned she was afraid of being assigned to some state like Arkansas in New Avengers #35. It turned out to be the case in Avengers: The Initiative #19.

05) California

Assigned heroes: The Order
Debut: Civil War (1st series) #6
Members: Iron Man, Hera, (oversight) Anthem, Heavy, Pierce, Avona, Maul, Corona, Calamity, Mulholland Black, Supernaut, Veda, Aralune, “Aphrodite”, “Hercules”, “Apollo”

Note: The Order was originally known as the Champions, until Marvel learned they could not re-secure the trademark for that team name.

• The Order was based around recruiting “real” heroes and celebrities from the Marvel Universe and granting them powers through the Soma process for a “tour of duty” that would last for a year. Members included an Olympian archer, soldiers who were wounded in combat and stand-ins for recognizable stars like Brittney Spears, Angelina Jolie and Robert Downey, Jr.

• The team was intentionally designed around Greek Gods and myths as archetypes, with Tony Stark and Pepper Potts as “Zeus” and “Hera” overseeing the concept. A single archetype could be reused, such as Maul and his successor Mulholland Black both being a “Hephaestus” archetype.

• Several Order members were introduced in the final two issues of Civil War, but were never given codenames, only archetypes. They also did not appear in The Order once the series began. Several unidentified casualties were reported from the final battle of Civil War (1st series) #7, which may account for their absence.

06) Colorado

Assigned heroes: Thunderbolts
Debut: Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #449, Civil War (1st series) #4 (as Initiative)
Members: Norman Osborn, Venom, Moonstone, Penance, Songbird, Radioactive Man, Swordsman, Bullseye; Taskmaster, Lady Deathstrike, Jester, Jack O’Lantern; Thunderbolts Army

Note: The Thunderbolts already had ties to the Commission on Superhuman Activities when Civil War began, and quickly signed up for the Superhuman Registration Act. In this transitional period, a Thunderbolts army was formed from captured super-villains pressed into service. The Thunderbolts actively appeared in service to the Act from Thunderbolts (1st series) #103-109 before officially being assigned as a state team.

• After the Superhuman Civil War ended, the Thunderbolts were incorporated into the Fifty States Initiative as the official team-in-residence for Colorado. They continued to serve under the CSA, actively charged with hunting down unregistered superhumans.

• When Norman Osborn seized power in Dark Reign, he recruited the Thunderbolts loyal to him as his Dark Avengers. A new Thunderbolts team was founded as a black ops unit at Norman’s disposal. As a result, Colorado may have no longer had an Initiative team.

07) Connecticut

Camp Hammond

Oversight Staff: Henry Peter Gyrich, Yellowjacket (Skrull), War Machine, Justice, Gauntlet, Taskmaster, Baron von Blitzkrieg

Shadow Initiative: Scarlet Spiders, Trauma, Constrictor, Bengal, Mutant Zero, Taskmaster, Komodo, Ant-Man III

Shadow Initiative II: Bengal, Komodo, Doctor Sax, Johnny Guitar, Badd Axe, Firearms, Riot, Blackwing, Barracuda, Warbow, Stronghold, Slaughter Boy, Boulder, Batwing, Ringer II

Other recruits: MVP, Armory, Rage, Slapstick, Scorpion II, Arana, Network, Stature, Melee, Geldoff, Dragon Lord, Crusader, Gorilla Girl, Reptil, Wiccan-A, Hulkling-A

Note: Camp Hammond was the initial training grounds for the Initiative, built in Stamford, Connecticut. It seemed as if the camp was a replacement for a traditional Connecticut Initiative team, although this wasn’t confirmed.

• In addition to the permanent oversight staff, many other past Avengers and heroes operated from Camp Hammond as training officers or guest instructors, including Tigra, Hellcat, Stingray, Triathlon, Gargoyle, Nighthawk, etc.

• The original Shadow Initiative was a black ops team assembled by Henry Peter Gyrich to run shadow missions for him. After Norman Osborn took over the Initiative, the Thunderbolts became his personal black ops squad. The “Shadow Initiative” was re-imagined discreetly as nothing but disposable cannon fodder to be thrown at problems where sheer numbers might get the job done.

08) Delaware

Assigned heroes: Women Warriors
Debut: Avengers: The Initiative #28
Members: Diamondback, Asp, Black Mamba, Skein, Quicksand

Note: The Women Warriors was one of four teams of “reformed” villains added to the Initiative by Norman Osborn and the Hood during Dark Reign.

• The Warriors were partly derived from B.A.D. Girls, Inc., a morally grey mercenary unit formed by Black Mamba, Asp and Diamondback after they split from the Serpent Society.

09) Florida

Assigned heroes: The Command
Debut: Marvel Zombies 3 #1
Members: Siege, Jennifer Kale, Aquarian, Conquistador I, II (Skrull)

Note: The Florida Everglades is the site of the Nexus of All Realities, a font of extra-dimensional weirdness typically guarded by the Man-Thing. With the exception of Siege, members of the Command were culled from early Man-Thing stories. They worked in conjunction with A.R.M.O.R. (the Alternate Realities Monitoring and Operational Response agency), who also had interest in the Nexus.

• After the Command was decimated by Zombie Deadpool, the survivor Jennifer Kale joined a new incarnation of the Midnight Sons opposing the zombie plague. However, the Sons were not the replacement team for the Florida Initiative, but an independent deployment by A.R.M.O.R.

10) Georgia

Assigned heroes: The Cavalry
Debut: Avengers: The Initiative #12 (mentioned), #18 (seen)
Members: Crime-Buster, Stuntmaster, Thor Girl (Skrull), Ultra Girl, Red-9

Note: Red-9 and the real Thor Girl joined the Cavalry after the Skrull invasion.

11) Hawaii

Assigned heroes: Point-Men
Debut: Avengers: The Initiative #12 (mentioned), #14 (seen)
Members: 3-D Man II, Paydirt, Star Sign, Devil Slayer, Magnitude (Skrull), Stingray

Note: Stingray was reportedly assigned to the Hawaii Initiative team after 3-D Man left, but he never actually appeared with them.

12) Idaho

– No Initiative team identified



13) Illinois

Assigned heroes: Spaceknights
Debut: Civil War (1st series) #6 (mentioned)

Note: Outside of their name and state, nothing was ever revealed about the Spaceknights. No indication exists suggesting Rom, Brandy Clark or the Galadorians were connected to this Initiative team.

14) Indiana

– No Initiative team identified



15) Iowa

Assigned heroes: Force Works
Debut: Force Works #1, Civil War (1st series) #6 (mentioned for Initiative)
Members: Cybermancer (possibly)

Note: Jim Rhodes referred to Cybermancer as “from Force Works” when they met up in War Machine, Weapon of S.H.I.E.L.D. #33, but it wasn’t entirely clear if he was referring to the Iowa Initiative team or Suzi Endo’s association with the original Force Works.

16) Kansas

Assigned heroes: Harvesters
Debut: Marvel Zombies Supreme #2
Members: Topeka, Pioneer, Grain Belt, Meadowlark, Sunflower

Note: After the Registration Act was rescinded, Pioneer joined a team of former Initiative recruits called the Paragons.

17) Kentucky

Assigned heroes: Action Pack
Debut: Avengers: The Initiative #8
Members: Vox, Prima Donna, Frog-Man (Skrull)

Note: After the Registration Act was rescinded, Vox and Prima Donna formed a team of former Initiative recruits called the Paragons.

18) Louisiana

– No Initiative team identified



19) Maine

– No Initiative team identified



20) Maryland

Assigned heroes: Psionex
Debut: New Warriors (1st series) #4, Avengers: The Initiative #28 (as Initiative)
Members: Asylum, Mathemanic, Impulse, Coronary, Pretty Persuasions

Note: Psionex was a team of young volunteers artificially-engineered by Genetech to possess super-powers. Unfortunately, super-powers did not equal super-heroes and they clashed repeatedly with the New Warriors.

• Psionex was one of four teams of “reformed” villains added to the Initiative by Norman Osborn and the Hood during Dark Reign.

• There have been several versions of the Asylum over the years, and it’s not 100% clear which one appeared with the Initiative. One Handbook indicated it was a new character.

21) Massachusetts

– No Initiative team identified



22) Michigan

– No Initiative team identified



23) Minnesota

– No Initiative team identified



24) Mississippi

– No Initiative team identified



25) Missouri

– No Initiative team identified



26) Montana

Assigned heroes: Freedom Force
Debut: Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #199, Avengers: The Initiative #12 (as Initiative)
Members: Challenger, Equinox (Skrull), Think Tank, Spinner, Cloud-9

Note: Freedom Force shared no members or concepts with the first FF (a reformed Brotherhood of Evil Mutants) or the third FF, which appeared a few years later.

• After the Registration Act was rescinded, Think Tank joined a team of former Initiative recruits called the Paragons.

27) Nebraska

Assigned heroes: unnamed team
Debut: Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. #21
Members: Captain Ultra, Paragon, Gadget

Note: The Nebraska Initiative team appeared in Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. #21-23, but was never named. The death of Gadget was a murder mystery investigated by Iron Man and Doc Samson. Her teammate Paragon was eventually revealed as the killer, having been secretly empowered by the Mandarin using Extremis tech.

28) Nevada

Assigned heroes: Heavy Hitters
Debut: Avengers: The Initiative #12 (mentioned), #17 (seen)
Members: Gravity, Hardball, Nonstop, Telemetry, Unnamed Skrull, Prodigy, Outback

Note: The Heavy Hitters had an unidentified Skrull member who was eliminated off-panel.

• After the Skrull invasion, Norman Osborn sent Gravity back to his home state of Wisconsin and established Prodigy as the Heavy Hitters’ new leader, thinking he could manipulate the former anti-registration activist. Osborn placed the career criminal Boomerang on the team as Outback too, but Prodigy refused to cover up Boomerang’s crimes and denounced Osborn.

29) New Hampshire

– No Initiative team identified



30) New Jersey

Assigned heroes: Defenders
Debut: Marvel Feature #1, Last Defenders #1 (as Initiative)
Members: Nighthawk, She-Hulk, Colossus, Blazing Skull

Note: Iron Man envisioned the New Jersey initiative as a back-up team of heavy hitters, able to support the Avengers in New York when necessary. When they failed publicly in their first mission, they were shut down and Nighthawk reformed the Defenders himself, independent of the Initiative.

31) New Mexico

Assigned heroes: Mavericks
Debut: Avengers: The Initiative #16
Members: Jocasta, She-Thing (Skrull), Annex, Geiger

Note: The Mavericks were only loosely depicted, never appearing as a full group. Jocasta and the Skrull imposter of She-Thing appeared during the Skrull invasion. Later, Annex and Geiger were assigned to a new Mavericks roster after the others departed.

32) New York

Assigned heroes: Avengers
Debut: Avengers (1st series) #1, Civil War (1st series) #7 (as Initiative)
Members: Ms. Marvel, Iron Man, Wasp, Black Widow, Wonder Man, Ares, Sentry, Spider-Woman; Iron Patriot, Ms. Marvel III (Moonstone), Spider-Man IV (Venom III), Hawkeye IV (Bullseye), Captain Marvel V (Noh-Varr)

Other: Fantastic Four, Heroes for Hire, Falcon, Jackpot, Blue Shield

Note: New York remained a hotbed of super-hero activity, with a number of Registered heroes remaining active in and around Manhattan without being involved in the New York Initiative's Avengers roster.

33) North Carolina

Assigned heroes: U-Foes
Debut: Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #254, Avengers: The Initiative #28 (as Initiative)
Members: Vector, Vapor, X-Ray, Ironclad; Boulder, Batwing

Note: The U-Foes was one of four teams of “reformed” villains added to the Initiative by Norman Osborn and the Hood during Dark Reign.

• After Dark Reign ended, Boulder signed up to defend his home state of North Carolina with his friend, Batwing.

34) North Dakota

– No Initiative team identified



35) Ohio

Assigned heroes: team name not mentioned
Debut: Civil War: Choosing Sides #1
Members: Howard the Duck

Note: In Choosing Sides, Howard the Duck tried to sign up for the Ohio Initiative in order to get a government paycheck. The local S.H.I.E.L.D. adjunct refused to admit Howard existed and would not register him. According to Marvel Zombies 5 #1, he eventually was added to the Initiative.

36) Oklahoma

– No Initiative team identified



37) Oregon

Assigned heroes: Force of Nature
Debut: New Warriors (1st series) #7, Avengers: The Initiative #28 (as Initiative)
Members: Sunstreak, Terraformer, Aqueduct, Skybreaker

Note: The Force of Nature were superhuman enforcers for Project: Earth, a group of radical environmentalists who fought with and against the New Warriors. Each member is based off of one of the classic elements, with the “fire” member previously being Firewall or Firebrand.

• The Force of Nature was one of four teams of “reformed” villains added to the Initiative by Norman Osborn and the Hood during Dark Reign.

38) Pennsylvania

Assigned heroes: Liberteens
Debut: Avengers: The Initiative Annual #1
Members: Revolutionary (Skrull), Whiz Kid, Ms. America, Hope, Iceberg, Blue Eagle, 2-D

Note: The Liberteens were a deliberate homage to the Liberty Legion, with each member being an analog to the 1940’s team.

• Ms. America, Hope, Iceberg and 2-D reformed after the Initiative was discontinued, calling themselves the FantastiX.

• Whiz Kid was the only pre-existing member of the team, seen as an employee of GLK&H as a courier for the mail room in She-Hulk (1st series) #4.

39) Rhode Island

Assigned heroes: team name not identified
Debut: World War Hulk: Frontline #3

Note: In a humorous short story, the governor of Rhode Island was having trouble getting heroes to commit to protecting Rhode Island. Purportedly, the “New Slingers” chose imprisonment in the Negative Zone instead of RI. After a musical themed competition, Miles Flatt and his Guitar of Death won the coveted spot.

40) South Carolina

– No Initiative team identified



41) South Dakota

– No Initiative team identified



42) Tennessee

– No Initiative team identified



43) Texas

Assigned heroes: Rangers
Debut: Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #265, Civil War (1st series) #7 (as Initiative)
Members: Texas Twister, Shooting Star, Red Wolf, Lobo (Skrull), Phantom Rider, Firebird, Living Lightning, Armadillo, Fifty-One

Note: The original Rangers were a loosely-associated team based around the American Southwest, making it difficult for them to congregate regularly.

• The original five members were joined by Armadillo and Living Lightning under the Act. Armadillo only reformed briefly, though, and returned to crime in Super-Villain Team-Up: M.O.D.O.K.’s 11 #1.

• The team’s Skrull infiltrator was Red Wolf’s adopted wolf, Lobo.

• Fifty-One only appeared with the Rangers after the Registration Act was discontinued, but was apparently still part of the Initiative. He joined a group of former Initiative members called the Paragons afterwards.

44) Utah

Assigned heroes: The Called
Debut: Civil War (1st series) #6 (mentioned), Avengers: The Initiative #17 (named)
Members: not mentioned

Note: The Called were never seen on panel and were described as a team of Mormon super-heroes.

45) Vermont

Assigned heroes: The Garrison
Debut: Penance: Relentless #3
Members: Man-Eater, Fin, Battlestar (?)

Note: The Garrison’s two identified members were both part of the Intruders, the super-powered squad for Silver Sable’s Wild Pack.

• When Penance ripped through the Garrison, a third figure was partially seen who resembled Battlestar, also of the Wild Pack.

46) Virginia

– No Initiative team identified



47) Washington

Assigned heroes: Earth Force (?)
Debut: Thor (1st series) #395; Civil War (1st series) #7 (as Initiative)
Members: Skyhawk (Skrull)

Note: Skyhawk was part of a trio called Earth Force, along with Earth Lord and Wind Warrior, who first appeared back in Thor (1st series) #395. It’s typically presumed Earth Force served as the Washington Initiative team, although only Skyhawk ever appeared on panel.

48) West Virginia

– No Initiative team identified



49) Wisconsin

Assigned heroes: Great Lakes Initiative
Debut: West Coast Avengers (2nd series) #46, Cable & Deadpool #30 (as Initiative)
Members: Mr. Immortal, Flatman, Big Bertha, Doorman, Squirrel Girl, Deadpool, Grasshopper (Skrull), Gravity

Note: The Great Lakes Avengers have a history of borrowing clout from other established teams, renaming themselves the Great Lakes X-Men, Great Lakes Champions and Lightning Rods prior to becoming the GLI.

50) Wyoming

– No Initiative team identified




Assigned heroes: Omega Flight
Debut: Alpha Flight (1st series) #11, Civil War (1st series) #7 (as Initiative)
Members: U.S.Agent, Arachne II, Sasquatch, Talisman, Weapon Omega, Beta Ray Bill

Note: Omega Flight was sponsored through the Initiative as a joint Canadian-American project to address unregistered superhumans fleeing the Act by crossing the border into Canada.

• Although Bill was depicted with Omega Flight in several early cameos, he never actually joined the squad in Omega Flight #1-5.

Silhouette images courtesy of Silhouette Garden.