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Avengers West Coast #57: Review

Apr 1990
John Byrne, John Byrne

Story Name:

Family reunion

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers West Coast #57 Review by (November 28, 2017)
Byrne leaves this series here (and stops writing Avengers) to write/draw the new Namor, The Sub-Mariner series (and take over scripting Iron Man). It falls to other authors to complete his dangling plotlines.
I already dealt with Tigra the still-shrunken cat last issue.
The Magneto/Scarlet Witch and Immortus plots will be resolved much sooner. #60 will say goodbye to Magneto, only to leave Wanda in the hands of Immortus. And Immortus' big plan will come to a head in #61-62. (Oh, and SW will turn good again.)

Magneto has had several versions of Asteroid M. The 1st was unveiled and also knocked out of orbit in the original X-Men #5. (Much later than this the X-Men will raise out of the ocean to use as *their* base, as a I described in the recently-synopsised Utopia crossover.)
Magneto built a 2nd version 1st seen in XM#113 and then smashed by a collision with Warlock (of the Technarch) in New Mutants #21.
This is the 3rd (but not the last) version.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers West Coast #57 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Last issue Scarlet Witch reappeared without a conscience but with her father Magneto and seemingly no limit to what her hex+magic power can do. She captured Agatha Harkness, U.S. Agent, Wasp and Wonder Man and now holds them in a force field generated by her own power. Dr. Pym burst in and held her at gunpoint, but her brother Quicksilver rushed in and knocked him out.

Pietro Maximoff offers to kill Henry Pym but Magneto doesn't want unnecessary bloodshed. This disappoints Wanda who preferred the ruthless old version of the mutant leader.

Meanwhile Human Torch (Jim Hammond) and Ann Raymond are facing officials who have just handed them an eviction notice for the Avengers West Coast Compound. But he can't stop to argue with them because he receives the emergency signal Hank Pym sent last issue. Flaming on and flying up he sees the hole Pym made in the side of the cottage Scarlet Witch used to share with Vision. So he burns his way in through another side.

He doesn't recognise Magneto and Quicksilver and is confused by the new-look Witch standing over fallen Dr Pym. He's even more confused when she tries to use her hex against him - the hex power that resurrected him in #50. But Pietro knocks her arm aside claiming to have seen Wonder Man about to escape the force field and attack her. (Now it's Simon Williams' turn to be confused.) This gives HT time enough to cage the 3 suspects with bars of fire.

But Magneto easily dispels the flames and then causes part of the floor to rise up, carrying the 3 through the roof of the house and away. Leaving the 5 Avengers plus Miss Harkness free and unharmed in the rubble of the house.

Simon wants to go after them but Hank says they need a plan. His more-than-ex-wife Janet Van Dyne is glad he's OK. Henry explains that Pietro didn't hit him very hard. But he doesn't have a chance to say more because Jim sees Iron Man approaching through the air (also responding to the emergency signal).

Tony Stark has seen the escaping trio and deduces they are the problem he's been called about - Magneto is a villain but he hopes his children haven't gone over to his side again (they were all once in the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants). Magneto warns him off, saying although he once fought the original Iron Man (Avengers #110-111) he has no quarrel with the new incarnation. (Stark continues to hide the fact that *he* is Shellhead. But he had to pretend that the 'previous' occupant of the armour, blamed for the events of Stark Wars/Armour Wars, died in IM#230 and a new guy took over in #231.)

Tony now plays up that fiction hoping Magneto will underestimate him. Maggie claims his goal these days is the survival of mutantkind without the death of humans. So he'll just magnetically repel his foe. But Iron Man says Stark added a demagnetising component to the armour since that previous encounter.

However Scarlet Witch steps up and hexes IM's armour so all his automatic systems fail. As he plummets towards the Earth Magneto muses that if it wasn't for the antimagnetic feature of that armour he'd be able to save the hero with his own magnetic power. As they fly away he chastises his daughter for her bloodthirsty action. But this Witch doesn't take criticism well.

In the main Compound building the Avengers have a strategy meeting stressing subtlety if they want to get Wanda back. No-one really buys Magneto's 'hero' act after his previous record of terrorism. Henry Pym again stops short of telling them that Quicksilver is on their side (because he thinks Magneto might have the place bugged because he knew what had been happening to his daughter). There's a soap-opera bit about Simon Williams' suppressed love for Wanda. And in the end they adopt the 'subtle' approach of following Magneto in a quinjet.

They follow him to a rebuilt Asteroid M in orbit around the Earth. Pietro had been expecting to be taken to the Hellfire Club that his father now runs, but Magneto says he had this place secretly constructed. It was from here that he was able to monitor Wanda. He commiserates with her on the loss of husband (Vision gone robotic in #42-45) and children (Billy and Tommy were revealed to be merely fragments of Mephisto in #51-52), but the Witch now considers these as fires which have tempered her new identity. And Pietro plots vengeance.

Meanwhile Iron Man comes crashing through the skylight of someone's apartment. Wanda may have knocked out his automatic systems but he was still able to manually deploy a parachute.

The quinjet is floating outside Asteroid M in stealth mode. Wasp dons a space helmet and jet pack (and as we learn later their costumes create a surrounding forcefield). She exits insect-size to sneak into Magneto's base. Dr Pym unshrinks an Ant-Man helmet which he can use to communicate with Jan undetectably via an insect bio-frequency. At the other end Wasp uses the antennae that sprout on her forehead when she shrinks this small.

Wasp flies in to a waste gas dispersal tube and thence to a corridor. But she hears something moving and we see a robot. And then her communication ceases.

The others now prepare to dash to the rescue. Dr Pym and US Agent don helmets and jetpacks. Wonder Man gets a helmet but he already has his own jets. And *his* costume maybe doesn't have the forcefield because his invulnerable body probably doesn't need the protection. Pym gives Torch an oxygen webbing that will allow him to flame on in the vacuum of space (a design Reed Richards created for the Fantastic Four's HT in FF#13).

Subtlety has gone out of the window so WM just smashes his way in. The others fly in before the breach automatically mends. Magneto greets them (his magnetic power having detected the rent metal) and shows them Wasp in a bottle. The same power wraps some of the debris from their entrance around USA. Scarlet Witch does what her absent brother stopped her from earlier - her hex deactivates the android Torch just as it had reactivated him in #50.

Now the master of magnetism hands Wasp back to Dr Pym before dragging the quinjet in through a wall, only to shred it and use the pieces to surround the Avengers. Wanda urges him to crush them. But her father just forms the metal into a spherical shell and ejects it to fall to Earth. He says he won't kill them - just land them safely where they came from with their lesson learned. He doesn't expect any more interference from that quarter.

John Byrne
Paul Ryan
Bob Sharen
John Byrne (Cover Penciler)
John Byrne (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Bill Oakley.
Editor: Howard Mackie.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Human Torch
Human Torch

(Jim Hammond)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Pietro Maximoff)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
U.S. Agent
U.S. Agent

(John Walker)

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Agatha Harkness, Ann Raymond, Doctor Pym (Henry Pym).

> Avengers West Coast: Book info and issue index

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