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Avengers West Coast #100: Review

Nov 1993
Roy Thomas, David Ross

Story Name:

Soul gauntlet

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers West Coast #100 Review by (November 13, 2018)
This issue has an embossed foil cover mainly in a single colour (red) - a trend at the time. It is a 64-page anniversary issue with several backup stories.

The death of Mockingbird here is undercut by the revelation years later in Secret Invasion that she was a Skrull replacement (since #91). She's inhabited the role so well that she even dies to stay in character. (Alternatively she won't be the only Skrull infiltrator to go native - I'm thinking of Crusader and the Skrull Captain Marvel.)
Even weirder is that she makes several after-death apps, still in character:- As 1 of the Legion Of The Unliving in Avengers (1998) #10-11. Hawkeye goes to Hell to find her in Thunderbolts Annual 2000, as does Hellcat in her (2000) #3. She's in the X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl mini and Great Lakes Avengers #4.

Hangman's soul wasn't shredded and he'll escape to Earth and feature in X-Factor #226-228 where they'll help him rescue his son from Bloodbath.

The Lethal Legion *are* killed here, but Lucrezia Borgia's preserved head will turn up in Gorilla Man #1 where it will be incorporated in the cyborg body of Borgia Omega, and G Man and B Omega will both then be in Deadpool Team-Up #899.

Living Lightning will make his last appearance connected with this team in the 1994 Scarlet Witch mini-series. He'll reappear in a couple of Force Works issues before being part of the Avengers mega-group in the post-Heroes Reborn Av#1.

Tigra will appear next, with some other ex-WCA members, in the B-sides of Marvel Double Feature: Avengers #381-382 before that Avengers mega-group.

Captain America is here between Av#367 and #368.

After their apps in the various tales within this issue the current WCA will go straight to the Bloodties crossover:- Av#368, X-Men (1991) #26, our #101, Uncanny XM #307 and Av#369. The Avengers and the X-Men want to stop civil war and genocide in Genosha. The Bloodties title refers to the fact that child Luna is a captive there, daughter of Quicksilver and Avenger Crystal, and niece of WCAer Scarlet Witch.





 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers West Coast #100 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Last issue the West Coast Avengers fought Hangman and the Lethal Legion who were working for the demon Satannish. The villains captured Mockingbird and took her to Satannish' realm where Scarlet Witch was able to see them using a magic book belonging to her mystic mentor Agatha Harkness.

Now Wanda Maximoff uses the book to take the team there on a rescue mission. But along the way the book is taken away by an interdimensional windstorm, and they find themselves facing Mephisto instead of Satannish. The so-called Lord of Hell tells them that Satannish (who he refers to as his other self - a relationship revealed in Dr Strange (1988) #8) stole the souls of Lizzie Borden, Lucrezia Borgia, Heinrich Himmler and Josef Stalin from him (and used them to create the Lethal Legion:- Axe Of Violence, Cyana, Zyklon and Coldsteel). He wants them back, and to teach Satannish a lesson, so he'll let them through if they agree to leave the door open for *him* to follow. Hawkeye seems ready to make a deal with the devil to save his wife, but the Witch takes the decision out of his hands by casting a spell to complete their journey.

They arrive in a sort of maze. We see Bobbi Barton half-buried in 1 of it's walls somewhere. She hears their voices and urges Clint Barton to flee. Satannish confronts the WCA and says that not making a deal with Mephisto won't save them. Then he vanishes.

War Machine takes to the air to look for Mockingbird, but is attacked by the flying Zyklon who unleashes his Zyklon-B gas. That doesn't penetrate WM's armour, but it was only a distraction while Hangman's magic noose brings James Rhodes down. And Axe's magic axe *can* penetrate the armour. War Machine zaps her and Hangman, while Cyana dodges the blasts. But then the heavy metal Coldsteel lands on his back and starts punching him. Next thing we see Rhodes a rock-bound prisoner next to Mockingbird.

Hawkeye fires a blast arrow through the maze walls to make a direct path. Spider-Woman gets through but the whole closes up on U.S. Agent. Julia Carpenter grabs his shield, but the Agent vanishes and we see him on the prisoner wall. Spi and the remaining pair can hear each other over the wall, so they agree to climb it and meet at the top. But the heroine is enveloped in Zyklon's gas and then falls at the feet of the other 3 Lethal Legionnaires. Her agility enables her to dodge them until Hangman joins in and lassos her foot. Coldsteel punches her, but his rival Zyklon intervenes with more gas to steal the credit for the 'kill'. Whatever, Julia joins the ranks of the prisoners.

Hawkeye fired a rope arrow up the wall which he and Wanda used to scale it. But when they reach the top they are confronted by giant Satannish and surrounded by the 5 villains. Just when all seems lost Clint spasms and a vapour gushes out of his mouth ... and coalesces into an equally-giant Mephisto. When Hawkeye was tempted to accept the devil's offer it allowed him to hide within the bowman's heart. (Satannish comments that *he* used a similar trick to invade Mephisto's domain in DrS(1988)#30 when he hid in the shadow of his foe's daughter Mephista.) Now Mephisto adds the last 2 Avengers to the prison pillar, and the 2 entities begin to fight.

Spider-Woman may be trapped with the others but she can still cast her psi-webs which entangle the legs of the combatants, tripping them up and knocking over the pillar - freeing the Avengers. The team have to fight Hangman and the Lethal Legion, but it goes well now that Satannish is too busy to empower them, and soon they have transformed to their mortal bodies.

Scarlet Witch hatches another plan. She opens a portal between Satannish's domain and that of Mephisto. And the 2 realms start to merge. Mephisto can't stand that idea so he retreats home, dragging the 4 historical souls with him. Satannish can't stand *that* idea so he tries to pull them back. And the souls are shredded to destruction.

Satannish expels the Avengers from his place to Mephisto's. Mephisto is angry at the loss of his 4 prizes and intends to keep our guys. Wanda uses a probability-altering hex to make Miss Harkness' book return to her, and then chants a spell which takes them home through another portal. But the devil is spitting brimstone fireballs at them and the Witch falls before crossing the threshold. Hawkeye and Mockingbird dash back into Hell and throw limp Wanda out. Bobbi shields Clint from more spitballs and 1 of them hits her in the back as they plummet through the hole in reality. The portal closes ...

... but Bobbi Barton dies in her husband's arms.

Days later the team are joined by part-time members Living Lightning and Tigra plus Captain America at Mockingbird's funeral.


Story 2: ... and make death proud to take us.

Writer Roy Thomas. Penciller Don Hudson. Inker Charles Barnett. Letterer John Costanza. Colourist Joe Andreani.

Clint Barton visits Bobbi's grave and remembers how they found the place that would be the West Coast Avengers Compound.

It was not long after their whirlwind romance and marriage in the 1st Hawkeye mini-series, when they'd only been in a few issues of the Avengers that Vision asked them in Av#243 to found a West Coast branch. They were still looking for a HQ in Av#245, and they'd found 1 by Av#246. This story is how they found it.

Bill Foster (local hero Giant-Man at the time, appearing between Av#244 and #246) was helping them look, and contacted them with a prime location. The owner asked them to come in costume and they were greeted by old silent movie star Moira Brandon. She insisted on showing them the basement 1st, where they found the set of her greatest film "Black Sands" based on Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra.

Moira lamented that although she played many brave women she herself was never brave, unlike superheroes. And at that point a crossbow bolt shattered Hawkeye's bow and they found themselves facing Crossfire, their enemy from the Hawkeye issues, with a crossbow that could fire 3 arrows at once. Miss Brandon was with her tied-up butler and said Crossfire threatened to kill them if she didn't lure the duo here. But William Cross now added that he was going to kill her anyway, because he'd made her sign a will leaving the place to *him*.

Clint and Bobbi kept dodging his shots, so Crossfire changed tactics and threatened Moira unless they let him kill them. Hawkeye stepped out into the light and his foe took aim. But Mockingbird sneaked up behind him and whacked him with her battlestave, knocking the crossbow away. Crossfire drew a gun and shot her in the shoulder. Hawkeye rushed to her side and Crossfire was just about to shoot them both when Moira Brandon got *him* in the shoulder with a crossbow bolt.

Miss Brandon had found her courage. But now she collapsed from strain. Our heroes got her to hospital and she lived more years as an honorary West Coast Avenger. And the team got its Compound.


Story 3: Boys will be boys

Writer Jim Novak. Penciller Tom Tenney. Inker Michael Avon Oeming. Letterer John Costanza. Colourist Ariane Lenshoek.

US Agent has a dream about dinner with his father and mother. But he invites costumed Watchdogs in and they gun his parents down. When he unmasks 1 it's himself. He wakes up in the WCA's sauna. That wasn't the way it happened, but he does blame himself for their deaths. He figures the memories were stirred up by his recent drugged interrogation by Bloodshot and Caprice of the Scourge Of The Underworld organisation (#3 of his 1st mini-series). Exiting the sauna he brushes past Hawkeye, Jim Rhodes, Scarlet Witch and Spider-Woman and suits up to go on a private mission ...

... to his family home in Custer's Grove, Georgia. Then he visits his parents' graves. But he's interrupted by some frat boys in a car here for a secluded place to get drunk. They quickly drive off but he follows them to town where they nearly run over a little girl he has to rescue. It turns out the driver Brad thinks he can get away with anything because his dad's the sheriff. John Walker/Jack Daniels follows them back to the cemetery and beats them up.

The he muses about his life. This fight tonight seemed worth more than all the super-villains he's battled. He wishes he had a moral centre like Captain America to give his actions meaning.


Story 4: Wild in the streets

Writer Len Kaminski. Penciller Tom Morgan. Inker Don Cameron. Letterer Chris Eliopoulos. Colourist Joe Andreani.

War Machine detects high-tech weapons being used by warring Los Angeles street gangs. He interrupts their fight so they all shoot at *him*. Then he takes their toys away and destroys them. But he notices that 1 of the gangs call themselves the War Machines and use his image.

He takes injured War Machine ganger Hector to hospital where he tells Dr Diaz he's going to deal with these gangs personally. She responds by suggesting force isn't the answer, he needs to deal with the source of the disease instead of the symptoms. I think he misunderstands her and decides to track down the source of the weapons, and he gets Hector to tell him where his gang got them from.

In stealth mode he watches guns being sold out of a van, which he follows back to a building in an industrial park where the Sons Of The Serpent are selling stolen SHIELD weapons. War Machine bursts in, drives everyone away and wrecks the place. But then he is confronted by the boss Hate-Monger who feeds on the conflict and death, but says he only stokes fires that are already burning. Rhodes hits him and leaves, saying he'll be back.

(There have been several Hate-Mongers, the Marvel Chronology Project makes this the 4th. This 1 débuted in Av#341-342 where he led the Sons Of The Serpent. He's been in some issues of Nomad (1992) without them. War Machine will have a 4-part sequel in the anthology title Marvel Comics Presents #152-155 which will involve Hector, the WM gang and eventually Hate-Monger and the Sons. An SOTS group 1st appeared in Av#32-33. There have been many other apps with different leaders, and it's difficult to say whether they were all the same organisation.)



David Ross
Tim Dzon
Bob Sharen
David Ross (Cover Penciler)
David Ross (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Steve Dutro.
Editor: Nel Yomtov. Editor-in-chief: Tom DeFalco.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Hawkeye
Hawkeye

(Clint Barton)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Tigra
Tigra

(Greer Nelson)
War Machine
War Machine

(James Rhodes)

Plus: Axe Of Violence (Lizzie Borden), Coldsteel (Stalin), Cyana (Lucrezia Borgia), Hangman, Living Lightning (Miguel Santos), Mockingbird (Skrull), Satannish, Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter), U.S. Agent (John Walker), Zyklon (Himmler).

> Avengers West Coast: Book info and issue index

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