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Avengers West Coast #68: Review

Mar 1991
Roy Thomas, Paul Ryan

Story Name:

California screaming

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers West Coast #68 Review by (December 13, 2017)
This is the conclusion of the 4-part The Reaper And The Robot.

Grim Reaper must escape somehow because he'll be back in Avengers #352-354 (Fear The Reaper) with another Legion of the Unliving composed of dead Avengers' foes. (But this time they're definitely imposters.)

Meanwhile Ultron-13 will be the main villain in this year's 3 Spider-Man Annuals, collectively titled The Vibranium Vendetta.

Team members fit in a lot before next issue
Everyone but Quicksilver (including the android Human Torch in his last app as an AWC regular, and also for some reason Vision) cameos in Av Spotlight #30 as Hawkeye and Mockingbird go up against street gangs organised by Lotus Newmark. Hawkeye gets shot. Iron Man guest stars in Namor, the Sub-Mariner #4-5 and then fights a new Spymaster in his own #254 before returning as Tony Stark to the end of AvSpot#30 to give Clint a new armoured costume. (He's safe fighting supervillains, but he needs armour against gangsters?!) The story continues in #31-34 and #36. Mocky seems to have moved back into AWC Compound and Clint's bed. US Agent cameos in #31&36, Wonder Man in #32.
Iron Man then has 3 1-off adventures in his #255-257:- He temporarily swaps minds with a new Crimson Dynamo, gets his satellite working again (from #215&237), and fights the 1-off Samurai Steel. Then he's in Av#326-328 which débuts Rage and involves fighting monsters in another dimension.
Meanwhile WM rescues some kids in a California forest in Marvel Super-Heroes #4/3. Human Torch and his companion Ann Raymond have become regular guests in the Namor series. Dr Pym is in #12 where a transfusion of Torch's blood rejuvenates the woman who used to be the WWII Invader Spitfire, and he joins Namor's birthday celebrations in N's Annual #1/4.
Then DrP, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Wasp and Wonder Man attend an anniversary party for Captain America in his #383. And then the gang (including Quicksilver) all gather in Av#329 to witness their latest roster change.
And our team will formalise *their* current roster in #69.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers West Coast #68 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The issue opens with Iron Man, Quicksilver, Tigra, U.S. Agent and Wonder Man smashing their way into Ultron-13's secret base connected to an abandoned part of the under-construction LA Metro. They are disappointed to find no sign of their robotic foe, and humanely capture his andrones - humans he's turned into robots under his control. Although USA nearly gets taken in by a roboticised child.

For those of us who remember the end of the last issue where Hawkeye, Quicksilver and Tigra were cured of roboticism but couldn't remember who the mastervillain was nor the location of his base - Agent helpfully clears that up by saying their memories were jogged by hypnosis.

Tigra spots an androne they missed who's about to hit a button. Iron Man figures Ultron is making him trigger a self-destruct sequence for the base, so he frags the control panel with a repulsor blast. But he also figures he might have been too late so the Avengers West Coast grab the captive andrones, tied up with steel cable, and exit at speed.

Outside they find their quinjet about to be given a parking ticket because this area is restricted because the tunnel was damaged by a fire. The team arrive, closely followed by an explosion. They ignore the confused traffic cop as Shellhead asks where Wonder Man is. Quicksilver tells him that Simon Williams stayed behind. His ionic body should survive the blast, and he has something to do.

That something is search for his brother Eric Williams, the now zombie Grim Reaper, who he sensed was nearby (the smell of decaying flesh?). Simon knew Eric was going to look for whoever was turning humans into robots - zombie GR has a vested interest because he needs to kill fleshy humans to stay alive. But Eric surprises him by saying he's agreed to serve Ultron, and stayed behind to defend the base. Except he was lying - he has a plan.

Reaper reveals that every time Ultron roboticises someone he absorbs a bit of humanity into himself. That was why GR's scythe was able to damage Ultron's adamantium body last issue  - and he'll continue getting more vulnerable.

Eric also mentions that Ultron plans to convert a very large number of andrones today, and he'll tell Simon where so he can stop him. But in return he wants his brother to swear to leave him alone as long as he only kills the 1 person per day he needs. Wonder Man reluctantly agrees.

Before we learn the target (those of us who didn't read the end of last issue) we go to the AWC Compound where Dr. Pym, Scarlet Witch (back in her old costume now that she's got her power back) and Wasp are babysitting Hawkeye. Clint Barton remained part robot after Quicksilver and Tigra were cured last issue. They've kept him chained up as a precaution while Henry Pym has been constructing an infrared bombarder to complete the cure. But Clint has got free.

Wasp's stings don't hurt his metal skin. Hank's Pym Particles don't shrink him. Wanda Maximoff's hex is useless too, but it causes a large machine to fall over towards Pym, who manages to shrink *that*. Hawkeye makes it to a quinjet but collapses when he starts the engine. DrP now realises something - it wasn't his Pym particles enlarging his aircraft Rover in #64 which caused the farmer robots to malfunction, it was the sound of Rover's engine.

Iron Man, Pietro Maximoff, Tigra and USA arrive with their captive andrones at this point. And they get a signal from Wonder Man telling them where to go. So they're all off in the quinjet.

The destination is Pasadena's New Year Rose Parade. This year's has a sci-fi theme including a Star Trek float. The Goodyear and Fuji blimps are overhead but there's a 3rd mystery craft which Eric tells Simon is where Ultron-13 is. The 2 are viewing the scene via the security cameras of an apartment building. A security guard interrupts them in the security centre, and Grim Reaper greets him as today's meal. Wonder Man stops the attack - he won't let GR have his free 1-a-day until *after* they stop Ultron.

WM flies them towards the blimp as a robot float passes below, featuring Gort from The Day The Earth Stood Still, Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet and the robot from Lost In Space. They smash into the dirigible which turns out to be made of metal and floating by anti-gravity. Reaper attacks Ultron with his scythe, which drains the human lifeforce which the robot has unwittingly accumulated. When he throws Ultron against the blimp's controls it begins to fall, and emits some of its roboticising spray ...

... which hits the 3 famous screen robots and somehow animates them. They go on a rampage, breaking up a marching band and threatening to crush a majorette who has fallen at their feet (and that's where the cover scene comes in). But the AWC have arrived and soon defeat the robots.

Up in the blimp the power-filled GR is about to leave. But brother Simon breaks his promise and attacks him intending to take him into custody. However now Eric is in a state where he can beat up his sibling. In previous apps GR's evil deeds have usually been misguided attempts to get revenge for Simon's 'death' or to 'help' him after he returned to life. But now undead Eric resents Simon's living state.

Ultron-13 has regained power and moves in to attack Reaper. But he's beaten to it by Hawkeye who flies his sky-cycle through the hole in the blimp's wall and rams GR. He's still part robot but is under his own control, and his robotness enabled him to locate Ultron. And now he aims an arrow at the metal foe. (Presumably he was going after Ultron earlier when the quinjet engine froze him. And presumably again, he escaped the Avengers' chains again.)

But Grim Reaper knocks the arrow aside and slices Hawk's bow in 2, claiming Ultron is *his* to kill. But then Ultron proves that he can still control the archer's body and propels him towards Reaper. Eric stabs Clint with his scythe but hits a metal bit. Wonder Man works out what's going on, but I'm going to change what he thinks to something that makes a bit more sense. GR can't absorb Hawkeye's life force because he's part robot. Ultron can't control Hawk while Eric's attached. And neither of them can pull free.

But meanwhile Clint Barton is in agony in the middle. Wondy dives forward and knocks his teammate out of the way. And the 2 villains fall forward and collide hard, knocking each other out.

Iron Man flies Hawkeye back to HQ (where he'll be fully cured before next issue). Wonder Man wants to help his brother but collapses from the strain of what he's been through.


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> Avengers West Coast: Book info and issue index

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

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Hawkeye
Hawkeye

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Wasp
Wasp

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Doctor Pym (Henry Pym), Grim Reaper, U.S. Agent.