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Avengers West Coast #63: Review

Oct 1990
Roy Thomas, Paul Ryan

Story Name:

When lives the lightning

Review & Comments

Rating:
0 stars

Avengers West Coast #63 Review by (December 13, 2017)
This issue is written as though #62 has only just happened. But it also says that Annual #5 (and the rest of the Terminus Factor crossover) occurred in between (where Wanda was mentioned as still recovering). And the Marvel Chronology Project has inserted other stuff since #62 too. We just have to assume her recovery was more drawn out than it seems here.

Agatha Harkness and Ebony do find Tigra in Av Spotlight #38. Miss Harkness calls on the representative of the Cat-People to cure her but they get the High Evolutionary's evolved cat Tabur who has become ruler of the CP by coup. He uses an amulet to return her to human-size and will let her have it because it can also transform her between Tigra and human Greer Nelson. But in return he wants the revered-by-the-CP Tigra to be his mate, which will cement his position. But Agatha transfers the the Tigra cat-soul to Tabur who becomes a normal cat. And Greer rejoins the AWC for #66 as Tigra - a human who can become feline. And AH and Ebony go off to do other stuff.

Living Lightning will resurface in #70-74 at the end of which he will actually join the AWC.

Iron Man will skip the next 2 issues but only manages to fit 2 single-panel cameos in. In Impossible Man Summer Vacation Spectacular #1/6 the Impossible Kids invade Dr Doom's armour as their new clubhouse, but he persuades them to go after Iron Man instead - and we don't see what happens next. And then the last page of Code of Honour #4.

Some of the team have side-apps before #65. Impossible Woman invades Wasp's fashion show in another part of IMSVS. Dr Pym gives Captain America a complete blood transfusion in CA#377-378 to get rid of a drug, but it also robs him of his Super-Soldier Serum. Scarlet Witch appears solo in Annual #7/2 where we learn that Agatha Harkness gave her back her memories of her children (to explain why SE refers to them in some AWC issues - but Avengers Disassembled relies on her *not* remembering). Then she and brother Pietro show up in Quasar #17 as Quicksilver takes part in a race between Marvel's superspeedsters (and DC's Flash as the amnesiac Buried Alien!).





 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers West Coast #63 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Miguel Santos is the son of 1 of the terrorist Legion of the Living Lightning who debuted and were destroyed in Tales to Astonish (Hulk) #97-99. Now he's come to their derelict base to honour his father's death - he believes the group were trying to take over the US for its own good. Miguel tries to get their Lightning Machine working again - and has an origin accident. He emerges as a being of living lightning, and takes that as his codename.

The Avengers West Coast and allies are clustered round the infirmary bed of Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch as she's examined by a doctor. She's still recovering from her ordeal with Immortus in the last few issues. We learn that she seems to have lost her mutant hex power as well.

Quicksilver runs off in a huff because he thinks the doctor insults mutants. Wasp asks Hawkeye and Iron Man if they'll help her and Dr. Pym look for Tigra, but Shellhead has to go back to Stark Enterprises and Hawkeye has a date with his estranged wife Mockingbird (visiting Los Angeles as a break from training the Great Lakes Avengers in Milwaukee). U.S. Agent asks Wonder Man to play pool with him, but Simon Williams says he has a phone call to make. Jack Daniels (the name the Government gave him after they faked his death as Captain America) sees this as another example of being shut out of the team, and stalks off. Hank Pym and Jan Van Dyne see *that* as him continuing to be an outsider instead of a team player.

Witch Agatha Harkness suggests her cat familiar Ebony might be able to help the duo find Tigra (who turned more feline and was shrunk to cat-size for safety some while ago, and then escaped into the grounds). Hank and Jan agree, but 1st they want to check on the android Human Torch. Dr Pym reactivated HT in An#5 (after 'evil' Scarlet Witch deactivated him in #58) but it says here he switched himself off again later to replenish his energy. On the way they pass Simon phoning the Vision in the East Coast Avengers to bring him up to speed on Wanda's progress. But the android coldly reminds WM that since his reboot he no longer remembers her as his wife, and he no longer has emotions with which to care about her except in the abstract. Simon jets off to vent his frustration at being in love with a woman who still loves her husband who can't respond in kind.

Hank and Jan find Torch gone from his containment vessel, and Ann Raymond standing somewhat scorched in front of it. She'd been hoping HT would wake up so she could ask him more questions about her dead husband Tom who used to be his youthful partner in flame Toro. But when the android did awaken he flamed on and wildly shot through the roof. H&J bandage Ann's burns and then they all set off to find Torch in Dr Pym's Rover craft.

HT has calmed down now but he's still disoriented in the modern world. His last sustained period of life ended when he went nova in 1954. Since then he's only been reactivated briefly (by Mad Thinker in Fantastic Four An#4, by the AWC in #50-58, then their An#5 and Av An#19, and now). In this era he's discovered that Toro is dead and there's a new human HT in the Fantastic Four. Seeing a cop reminds him how *he* was 1 back in WWII, going by the name of Jim Hammond. But he didn't fit in then and he doesn't feel right in the AWC now.

But then he hears a radio report of a flying man causing electrical damage, and flies off to investigate. The occupants of Rover hear the same thing and think it might be *him*. Torch sees a blacked out area with flames in the middle and correctly assumes he's found the trouble spot. But people near the burning gas station also think he's the perpetrator returning. (Though he correctly wonders why they don't think he's Johnny Storm of the FF.)

Then Living Lightning hurls balls of lightning at him. Jim tries to talk him down but they get crossed wires. Hammond saves a couple of teens from more lightning by taking it himself, as LL expected him to do - he wanted to see how much his foe could stand. But then Rover comes between them. Wasp flies out to check HT is OK, but then LL causes the plane to crashland. Angry at Ann being in peril Jim Hammond flies after the foe throwing fireballs at him.

Dr Pym has a plan. He throws an electrical line to Torch, who fails to catch it. But Wasp grabs the end and gives it to him. HT then tosses it to Living Lightning - who suddenly finds his energy grounded into Rover, exploding its fuel tank.

They assure Ann that the villain is probably not dead, just dissipated for a while. Jim thanks them for saving him, but Hank says it was teamwork. Jim expresses his doubts about fitting in with the AWC, but Jan reminds him he teamed with Toro, and was part of the Invaders and the All-Winners Squad. And Dr Pym produces a miniature quinjet from 1 of his pockets, enlarges it and they fly home.



Iron Man isn't in the next 2 issues so I'll summarise them here.

#64 is a fill-in issue in which Human Torch, Captain America and the Great Lakes Avengers (without Mockingbird) get manipulated by a boy who's found the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak which empowered Juggernaut. (The boy is never heard from again, and Juggernaut somehow gets the Gem back.) Wonder Man is the only other char who gets a cameo.

#65 is part 1 of the 4-issue The Reaper And The Robot story arc featuring Grim Reaper and Ultron-13.
Grim Reaper is resurrected from his grave by his lover Nekra as a zombie. She'll allow him free will, but to stay alive he'll have to kill someone with his scythe each day to absorb their energy. So he makes *her* his 1st victim (but she'll be resurrected by Daimon Hellstrom in the Druid mini-series).
Apart from Iron Man, and Human Torch who's off with Ann Raymond in a backup story, the rest of the AWC are in this tale including Quicksilver and powerless Scarlet Witch. But Dr Pym and Wasp are off having some together time until they run into some robots posing as humans, who they don't realise are controlled by Ultron-13.
Meanwhile Wanda (in civvies because she's not a superheroine anymore) and Simon Williams go out for a meal. However they run into someone who has escaped from Grim Reaper massacring the rest of her satanic cult. Wonder Man and Witch investigate. GR tries to drain WM's lifeforce but it doesn't work, so he escapes.

#65 has a backup starring Human Torch. He and Ann Raymond put an ad in newspapers all over the world asking for info about Toro's death. They get 1 letter asking for a meeting with who appears to be Mad Thinker (who *killed* Toro). Torch defeats him but as they fight MT 'lets slip' the place where Toro died. They leave to investigate, hoping to find his body. And we see that Thinker was actually Sub-Mariner in disguise - supposedly still pretending to be dead since Atlantis Attacks.
We never hear more about the search for Toro's body. HT cameo's with the rest of the AWC in Hawkeye's story in Av Spotlight #30 but after that he vanishes from the title. (He pops back for #80 as a reserve member.) He and Ann Raymond spend some time in the new Namor the Sub-Mariner comic from #9, and then they fall in love and walk off into the sunset (as far as AR is concerned for ever).
Ann makes a strange appearance in Power Pack #60 before NSub#9. There she seems to have a husband who we are led to believe is Toro. The Marvel Chronology Project ignore him, and as far as the rest of Marvel Comics is concerned Toro remains dead until a Cosmic Cube resurrects him at the end of the Avengers/Invaders limited series.


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

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Hawkeye
Hawkeye

(Clint Barton)
Human Torch
Human Torch

(Jim Hammond)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Wasp
Wasp

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Agatha Harkness, Ann Raymond, Doctor Pym (Henry Pym), Living Lightning (Miguel Santos), U.S. Agent.

> Avengers West Coast: Book info and issue index

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