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Avengers West Coast #62: Review

Sep 1990
Roy Thomas, Paul Ryan

Story Name:

The witching hour

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers West Coast #62 Review by (December 5, 2017)
This issue and last mention Wanda's children as being creations of her hex and magic powers, without saying they were actually merely fragments of the hell-lord Mephisto. Maybe Roy Thomas was trying to reduce the complexity of the back-story, or maybe he didn't like that part of it. Whatever his reason, current Marvel thinking seems confused on the matter. On the 1 hand the Mephisto fragments idea is still mentioned in histories of Master Pandemonium and Mephisto himself. But the Young Avengers Speed and Wiccan are described as being reincarnations of the imaginary boys. Stranger still, Scarlet Witch's bio tends to mention *both* stories as true.

Hawkeye calls US Agent John Walters here. This is probably a slip by the writer/letterer/editor, but it raises the question of what name the AWC knows USA by, if he's told them any name at all. His real name is John Walker, which he used as Super Patriot and the replacement Captain America. But when the Government switched him from Cap to USA (CA#354) they gave him a new secret id as Jack Daniels (somebody had a thing about whisky), which he still thinks of himself as next issue.

Lockjaw goes back to the Inhumans on the Moon but his next app is his own tale in Marvel Comics Presents #68/4 where he helps with a burning building on Earth.

Immortus, Tempus and the Time Keepers appear next in a sequel to this story in What If? vol2 #35-39. The Watcher explains nexus beings to us - they are beings who can affect probability and hence control the creation of alternate timelines (usually controlled by quantum probabilities). Immortus had been deleting timelines for the TK because they contained nexi who were dangerous to their existence. Unfortunately there were 4 such nexi left when Immortus got 'frozen'. #35-38 take us to the 4 realities where the TK persuade some super-characters to destroy the nexi for them. But someone is setting up opposition to frustrate them. That someone turns out to be Immortus. The Time-Keepers vanish 1 by 1. And the Time Variance Authority are very worried.
In #39 the Watcher helps the TVA sort things out. In Thor #243-245 there was the story of the 3 Time-Twisters who were created by He Who Remains at the end of time to carry knowledge into the next cycle of the universe, but who instead went back through time on a destructive rampage. At the end Thor & co persuade HWR to destroy the TT before they're born. But now we learn that HWR was the last of the TVA, and he created the TK to replace the TT.
The TVA now send Immortus' pawns against him but they fail. Then the Watcher sends a version of the FF to persuade the man who will be Kang/Immortus (who we learn is named Nathaniel Richards after his ancestor) to take a drug that will prevent his future Immortus from being able to hold Scarlet Witch's nexus energy. And the current Immortus explodes. And the Time-Keepers reappear.
But then another set of Time-Keepers turns up, and the 1st set are exposed as the Time-Twisters. It seems it is *they* who've been behind Immortus' scheme to use SW as a nexus.
It further seems that the end of time has branched into 2 alternate timelines with the TT in 1 and the TK in the other. Both sides are now fighting to make *their* reality the 1 that dominates.
Av Forever will go into all this in more detail, and will add that the TK recreate Immortus to continue working for them.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers West Coast #62 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The Avengers West Coast plus Quicksilver are in Limbo whose lord Immortus has kidnapped Scarlet Witch. Last issue we saw him hold them off with a Legion of the Unliving composed mainly of dead foes with special meaning for each of them, such as Wonder Man's brother Grim Reaper. Meanwhile back on Earth Agatha Harkness interrogated a fragment of Immortus to discover what he'd been doing and what his plan was. But now the Legion have faded away and Immortus confronts them with the immobile Witch.

And now Immortus tells the Avengers some of what we and Miss Harkness learned last issue. He was behind most of Wanda Maximoff's recent troubles. Especially depriving her of her husband Vision (reverted to an emotionless android) and her twin children (revealed as figments of her magic). He also increased her power and hardened her heart. Now he intends to use Wanda, who is a nexus being existing on all possible timelines, to ensure his mastery of the 7 millennia he is custodian of - to protect and control the alternate timelines therein.

Wanda's enraged brother Pietro superspeeds towards Immortus but is repelled by his force field. The time lord can't understand why the Avengers continue fighting him. He may have removed SW's paltry free will but in her new role she will live forever. Simon Williams loves Wanda, and now Wonder Man's fists join Quicksilver in beating at the force field. And U.S. Agent leads the rest of the team into the fray.

Immortus isn't worried about the Avengers getting through his protection. But he is concerned that they might break the Witch out of the trance he has her in. So he brings in help. A giant white fist grabs Wonder Man's arm, and the hero is suddenly aged to a very old man. The newcomer announces himself as Tempus, guardian of Castle Limbo (previously seen in Giant Size Fantastic Four #2 and Thor #282 where his ageing attack didn't work on the immortal Thunder God).

Back in the AWC Compound Agatha Harkness discusses the situation with the Inhuman dog Lockjaw, her witch's familiar Ebony the cat and the shade of Immortus her spell kept here when the villain left last issue. Lockjaw's teleportation can't send Agatha to Limbo. But with Ebony in a pentagram as an anchor, she calls on the triple goddess to enable her to get there *through* the doppelganger.

She arrives in astral form to see Dr. Pym urge the rest of the team to attack Tempus to help Wonder Man, although the Government-appointed leader US Agent isn't happy about being usurped. Tempus swings his giant club and then throws emaciated WM at them. USA breaks Simon's fall but they both pass out. Hawkeye comments on the Agent's uncharacteristic selfless act, and Iron Man reminds him that being an Avenger brings out the hero in you (they may be thinking of Swordsman).

Quicksilver doesn't see how his speed can help when Hank Pym's gun, Hawkeye's blast arrows and Iron Man's repulsor rays have no effect on the giant. But he is spurred by the sight of his sister Wanda to try anyway. He grabs a chunk of debris from the fighting and hits Tempus with it. Their foe is staggered and IM reasons that reason is that Pietro hit him with a piece of the Limbo Castle.

But before they can use this information Tempus uses another power. He causes a timestorm which will make each Avenger face their worst memory. Pietro remembers when he and Wanda as teens were hunted by Balkan peasants who feared their powers. Clint Barton relives seeing Swordsman, his mentor in archery, robbing the carnival that they worked in. Wonder Man experiences the day he 'died' (Av#9). Henry Pym is taken back to when his 1st wife Maria was murdered in Soviet Hungary. Iron Man gets the start of his superhero-origin when an exploding mine fired shrapnel into his heart. Wasp sees her father killed by the Creature from Kosmos in *her* origin in Tales to Astonish (Ant-Man) #44. And US Agent sees the death of *his* parents in a hail of bullets.

Agatha Harkness sees the AWC trapped in their memories. She decides to try to use her rapport with her pupil Wanda to influence her mind. She tells her to give up the enhanced power Immortus gave her - without that she will be useless to him. But it seems to have no effect. She tries another tack - sending a mental image of Wanda's husband Vision before he lost his emotions, and of her children. There is a flicker of emotion, but then Wanda rejects the lying picture.

Immortus says he's not the villain the Avengers think he is, so he doesn't *want* them dead. But his plan is too important to jeopardise, so he tells Tempus to kill them. Desperately Miss Harkness urges Scarlet Witch to save her brother and teammates. But Immortus at last detects her astral presence and tries to expel her from Limbo. As she begins to fade Agatha again urges SW to reject her extra power for the sake of those she loves ...

... and Wanda awakes from her trance, and the enhanced probability power streams from her body. It pushes Tempus away before he can execute the AWC. It concludes the Avengers' tormenting memories in improbable ways, not always happily:- She and Pietro are burned at the stake for 'witchcraft'. Hawkeye shames Swordsman into reforming. Wonder Man's ionic radiation kills all the original Avengers except Thor. The mine shrapnel kills Tony Stark. Janet Van Dyne is killed by the Kosmosian. Maria Pym rises from the dead. All the bullets miss US Agent's parents.

Immortus is horrified because these are all new divergent timelines, undoing the pruning he has been carrying out in recent issues. Agatha Harkness has doomed the multiverse! (Actually he says that the events in the preceding paragraph must now be true in all timelines, which doesn't make sense. Especially as for instance this would mean that Wanda and Pietro Maximoff can't be here because they're dead. But I guess the Time-Keepers set things right in the end although that's not clear.)

The Avengers don't understand the reference to Miss Harkness. They are just happy that Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man are back to normal. Wanda tries to draw some of the power back in, hoping that will avert the predicted catastrophe. But the swirling energy freezes in place as 3 figures appear. They are the Time Keepers that Agatha learned of last issue.

They remind Immortus that they made him custodian of the 7 millennia between 3000 BC and 4000 AD. We now learn more. He was to turn a nexus being into a power source to ensure certain important events occurred in certain timelines, thus making a particular future inevitable. They tell the Avengers that Immortus selected Scarlet Witch but there were other nexi available. And now they have to intervene directly to stop her freed power jeopardising all futures including their own.

Wanda is more interested in getting revenge for what Immortus has done to her life. Immortus counters that he was just following orders. The Time Keepers claim that he was trying to gain control over *all* time not just the 7 millennia they gave him. *He* protests he was just aiming for what they promised him - *total* mastery over the 7 millenia. US Agent just wants to arrest Immortus on behalf of the US Government. The TK dismiss his claim out of hand. And also say that they weren't worried about their timeline for selfish reasons but because their absence would be disastrous for the multiverse.

USA loses his rag and throws his shield at them, followed closely by an arrow from the other hothead Hawkeye. The Keepers slow the objects by a factor of 100,000. But tell Clint Barton that his arrow would get there 1st if they allowed it. The pair just give up.

Immortus pleads his case, and the Keepers agree to let him continue serving them. They surprise him by directing SW's expelled energy into him. Immortus feels the power growing within him to control cosmic probabilities. He will become the true master of time!

But then he feels himself becoming immobile. And he suffers the fate he planned for Wanda, to exist motionless forever. The Keepers explain that only a nexus being like Scarlet Witch could generate the power they needed. But once created that power could be placed in a suitably strong vessel. And *they* had secretly made Immortus suitable even as *he* was increasing  SW's power.

Wanda expresses pity for their foe. And Hank Pym whispers to Jan that this proves that she's back to her nice self.

The Time Keepers transport the Avengers back to the Compound where Agatha Harkness is waiting for them. Quicksilver sends Lockjaw back to the Inhumans, but will stay with his sister and the AWC for a while. Henry Pym thinks to himself that now that Wanda is OK he'd better concentrate on curing Human Torch and Tigra. (And reactivating Torch happens next in Annual #5.)

The Marvel Chronology Project has lots of stuff happening between this issue and next, including An#5. As usual Iron Man's chronology forms the backbone. And Quicksilver sits things out until An#5, while Scarlet Witch convalesces with Agatha Harkness until #63.

IM starts off with a 1-off tale in his #253 where he saves a friend and his daughter from gangsters. A copy of Obadiah Stane's Iron Monger armour figures. Then he and Thor join the Fantastic Five in a trip into a future time-bubble in a Walt Simonson story in FF#337-341 (picking up a plotline from his Avengers run) involving Nebula, Dr Druid, 3 Kang's, Death's Head, Galactus, the Shi'ar Gladiator and the Dreaming Celestial - heady stuff. Then it's back down to Earth with a bump for a minor tale in Marvel Comics Presents #43/3.
Meanwhile Hawkeye and Captain America return the current Black Knight (still a statue) to England in #1 of his new series, which will lead to his restoration to life.
The Nebula above will later turn out to actually be Terminatrix (Kang's love Ravonna). But IM features (with cameos from Dr Pym, Wasp and Wonder Man) in Av#314 where the villain is the real Nebula, supposed granddaughter of Thanos. He continues that story in #316-318 where the Avengers are helped against Nebula by the Stranger.
Meanwhile it's Wasp's turn to have some minor adventures in MCP#48/3 and Marvel Super-Heroes #3/2 (this 1 guesting Dakota North).
IM, Wasp, Hawkeye, Dr Pym and Wonder Man are in Avengers: Death Trap, The Vault GN where that prison suffers yet another attempted breakout. But some of the villains help the Avengers instead.
Before we get to the Annual proper USA and WM cameo in Quasar #11 where he drops off the injured Eternal Makkari for them to look after. WM then has a bit in Q#12 as well, but USA moves on to a bunch of real apps. In his backup tale in CA#383 he discovers that Left & Right-Winger (his foes in the Legion of the Unliving last issue) woke from their comas and committed suicide. In his half of Av Spotlight #31-34 he hunts down a guy killing illegal immigrants in his other job working for the Commission on Superhuman Activities. And in Punisher: No Escape GN they send him after Punisher.
Meanwhile IM cameos in Amazing Spider-Man #344 as Doc Ock starts to rebuild the Sinister Six, while Dr Pym has a bit part in Scott Lang/Ant-Man's backup tale in ASM An #24 which features the return of the Scarlet Beetle. DrP then joins Hawkeye, Wasp and reservist Firebird in a story within An#5 where Atlantean mutant group Surf try to free whales from Marine World.
Hawkeye gets together with IM, USA, WM and strangely Vision in another backup there as Dr Goodwrench attempts to 'free' vehicles from the Monster Truck Show.
Then we come to the main story in the Annual. It is part of the crossover The Terminus Factor running through 5 Avengery Annuals:- CA#9, IM#11, Thor#15, AWC#5, Av#19 - IM in all of them. (The previous 2 years all Marvel Annuals were involved in a single massive crossover - Evolutionary War followed by Atlantis Attacks. This year starts a trend where they are broken up into related groups with individual events - the Spider-Man Annuals have Spidey's Totally Tiny Adventure, the FF combine with the X-titles for Days of Future Present, and Punisher/Daredevil/Hulk/Silver Surfer team up to deal with Lifeform.)
Afterwards Hawkeye, Quicksilver and Wasp are in a backup in Av An#19 where a kid discovers his dad is boss of the Sons of the Serpent, while IM pops in to Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD #13 (in a story arc involving Madame Hydra and Yellow Claw).
Everybody will be on board for #63.

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


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Pietro Maximoff)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

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

(John Walker)

Plus: Agatha Harkness, Doctor Pym (Henry Pym), Immortus, Lockjaw, Time-Keepers.

> Avengers West Coast: Book info and issue index

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