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Avengers West Coast #58

May 1990
Fabian Nicieza, Tom Morgan

Story Name:

Why?

Reviews & Comments

Rating:
3.5 stars

By Rob on November 28, 2017

This is the 1st of 2 fill-in issues after the end of John Byrne's run last issue. These aren't inventory issues because they fit specifically into the ongoing plotlines. But they are by temporary creative teams until Roy & Dann Thomas take over the scripting and responsibility for the title from #60. As such they avoid progressing the plot.

The recent San Francisco earthquake mentioned here was the violent Loma Prieta quake 17th October 1989.

Vibro is variously named Francis (here), Anton or even Alton and Vibereaux (here) or Vibreaux. Various online sites seem to have settled on Alton Francis Vibreaux but can sometimes still use Anton and Vibereaux elsewhere in the page.
Vibro débuted in Iron Man #186-187. There his accident drove the dedicated scientist mad and he went after revenge against the boss he believed responsible. IN IM#191-192 he escaped jail and went for revenge on IM, but faced the James Rhodes version (and Tony Stark in the original grey armour). In Captain America #340 Vibro escaped from the Vault after Steve Rogers (as the Captain) fought Iron Man there during Stark/Armour Wars.
In this issue his madness and anger are tempered by the re-emergence of his scientific fervour. But in future apps starting with IM#267 he'll be back to a plain villain again.

In the 2nd fill-in next issue the Marvel Chronology Project only lists Immortus as a character, somewhat borne out by the cover which has only him in  the corner box. It stars Dr Pym, Hawkeye and Wonder Man - and they get killed. And then Immortus appears at the end to reveal it's just another of the alternate timelines he's been deleting in various issues of this mag. The characters of that timeline appear nowhere else, and alternate Iron Man only shows up at the funeral. So I won't bother writing it up for this site.

Human Torch will remain deactivated until Annual #5 after the Magneto/Scarlet Witch/Immortus stuff is dealt with in #60-62.
US Agent will bounce back in #60.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

We open with the villain Vibro who had expected that the recent San Francisco earthquake would finally make people realise the dangers of building in quake zones. But it seems to be business as usual, and buildings are still being built without proper earthquake-proofing. So he's come to the Los Angeles Department of Urban Development to make the point more forcefully. He uses his power to cause a quake that threatens the whole city.

The Avengers West Coast were ejected last issue from Asteroid M inside a sphere created from the shredded wreckage of their quinjet. But not-so-villainous-now Magneto guided the ball to a gentle landing at their Compound base. Wonder Man busts them out. Dr. Pym tells Ramon, head of their staff, to get injured Human Torch (Jim Hammond) and U.S. Agent on life-support.

Wonder Man wants them to get another quinjet and try again to free Scarlet Witch from the influence of her father Magneto. But Wasp hears about the LA quake and she and Henry Pym think their priority for now must be to help out there. Wasp and Wondie fly to LA while Pym deminiaturises his Rover craft to follow them.

In LA itself Iron Man has rebooted and recharged his armour in the apartment Scarlet Witch dropped him into last ish. He thanks the owner and says Stark Enterprises will pay for the damages and electricity bill. Then flies out to see what he can do about the earthquake.

He stops an enormous chunk from falling off a tall building but can't let go to catch another 1. But Wonder Man jets in to smash the 2nd piece and Wasp's sting zaps the fragments. Simon Williams helps IM support his bit and Hank flies by in Rover and shrinks it to a size Wondy can carry. Iron Man zooms off to deal with a fire, but loads of people in the building plead with WM and DrP to help them down. However Pym tells them to use the emergency staircase - the Avengers have worse situations to handle.

They see a school bus balanced precariously over the edge of an elevated roadway. But Hank leaves that to Simon as he answers a police alert involving Janet Van Dyne. Wasp is faced with the front of a building that has collapsed on top of many cars. She enters 1 through the smashed windscreen only to find a crushed dead body. It's almost too much for her but when she exits Hank has arrived in Rover. He convinces Jan to carry on because she's the only 1 small enough to nip in and check all the other cars to find the people who *aren't* dead.

Meanwhile Iron Man has carried a water tank to a building that is on fire halfway up. Just throwing the water at it might not be enough so he fires a pulse bolt into the tank creating internal pressure which forces the water out in a jet spray. Then he enters the building looking for casualties.

Wonder Man lifts the bus back onto the road. But then he spots a road support cracking. So he crushes an empty car and uses that to temporarily shore the road up. And then he's off to answer a scream for help. All the while dying to get back to rescuing Wanda from her father Magneto.

Wasp finds a woman and little daughter trapped in a car. She uses her bio-sting to blow a large hole through the roof and the rubble above it so the females can escape.

Dr Pym is coordinating stuff from the hovering Rover, but takes time out to call home and check on Human Torch and US Agent. USA is stable but the android HT is still deactivated. But he learns that AWC HQ was contacted by a government geologist who says the quake isn't natural, and a guy named Vibro may be responsible.

Pym contacts Iron Man to ask for info on Vibro. Tony Stark, still pretending to be the post-Stark/Armour Wars replacement, says his predecessor fought Vibro. He was a seismologist Francis Vibereaux who descended into the San Andreas Fault to test a device he'd invented to absorb seismic energy and prevent quakes. But he was caught by a tremor which overloaded his mind as it disfigured his body. After a rampage he was caught and imprisoned in the Vault, but escaped.

Henry Pym takes a moment to ponder again on how this 'new' Shellhead seems to know intimately his predecessor's past. (And the AWC know that the 'predecessor' was really Tony Stark.) He tells IM and WM to keep on doing what they're doing while he and Jan go investigate the sighting of Vibro.

Simon Williams finds a little girl who says he brother went into a building to rescue their cat, and then the building fell down. Wondy ploughs through the rubble and reaches the boy and the (unharmed) cat.

Rover lands in Cuyacama Park where a fissure has opened up. The geologists say a massive aftershock is building up. Wasp dons a protective suit and helmet and flies down into the crack. She finds Vibro asleep! She tries to zap him with her sting but that wakes him up. He declares again that he caused the earthquake to stop unscrupulous companies erecting unsafe buildings in the quake zone. He's been absorbing energy from the quake, but now he *must* release it all.

Finding she can't talk him down, Wasp leaves the fault and returns to Dr Pym. She says they'll have to use the solution they formulated on the way over here. Henry uses his Pym particles to close the fault, burying Vibro. (That must mean he causes the ground around the fault to *grow*.) The tremors stop.

The 4 Avengers gather together. But there's still lots of emergency problems to resolve.

Elektra


Fabian Nicieza
Tom Morgan
Randy Emberlin
Bob Sharen
Tom Morgan (Cover Penciler)
Tom Morgan (Cover Inker)
Howard Mackie

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Human Torch
Human Torch
Iron Man
Iron Man
Wasp
Wasp

Plus: Avengers West Coast, Dr. Pym (Henry Pym), U.S. Agent, Vibro, Wonder Man.