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Avengers West Coast #71: Review

Jun 1991
Roy Thomas, David Ross

Story Name:

... and die in infamy

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers West Coast #71 Review by (January 3, 2018)
The cover is an acknowledged homage to X-Men #101 where Jean Grey rose from the water as Phoenix (except of course it wasn't her).

David Ross pencils the 1st 9 pages covering the events at the AWC Compound. Tom Morgan does the rest from the Dr Demonicus section onwards.

Shiro Yoshida was born a mutant due to aftereffects of the Hiroshima atom bomb. He became Sunfire and sought revenge on the USA for the nuclear bombs (which eventually killed his mother) in XM#64. He softened but remained an anti-hero fighting for his own country rather like Sub-Mariner who he fought against and then with in SM#52-54. Similarly when he met Iron Man in IM#68-70. Then he was 1 of the new X-Men in Giant-Size XM#1, but left immediately in XM#94. He's continued to crop up occasionally, last time in Deathlok #3-4

Sub-Mariner is no longer Prince of Atlantis because Atlantis was destroyed during the Atlantis Attacks crossover Annuals. He used undersea treasure to finance his new business Oracle, Inc in his new Namor, the Sub-Mariner series. (I don't know why he says here he must return to LA because Oracle is based in New York.) He lost his ankle wings in NSub#7.
In NSub#12 Namor allowed the WWII android Human Torch to ride off into the sunset with Ann Raymond (both chars from earlier issues of the mag) by pretending that HT was 'dead'. But since then they've all 3 been at Subby's birthday party in NSub Annual #1/4.
Then in Marvel Super-Heroes (1990) #8/2 Namor met Red Raven, daughter of the original. And then he attended the Avengers lineup change in Av#329 that preceded the AWC change in our #69.

Mike Clemson was assigned as Spider-Woman's liaison with the CSA in IM#214, and he continued in that role in Spectacular Spider-Man #125-126. Now his telling US Agent to kill her is the 1st hint that he has an agenda that the CSA doesn't know about, that will unfold in future appearances.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers West Coast #71 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Last issue the Avengers West Coast invaded Dr. Demonicus' base, which they found deserted apart from a giant-size toddler called the Big One (well, he has a large number 1 on his top) left to defend it by causing mini-quakes with the energy of attacks directed at him. They've brought the big baby back to their Compound and put him behind bars. But now he exhibits another superpower - he wails with enough sonic force to bowl all the team over apart from Iron Man with his magnetised boots. Wonder Man has returned from his date in time to catch mini-Wasp as she flies through the air.

Their guest Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter) suggests Tigra might calm him if she climbs into his cage and purrs. She reluctantly complies, and he does calm down but now won't let her go. Scarlet Witch brings a teddy bear that used to belong to her ex-children. (And she tells them they don't need to tiptoe anymore around the fact that her children were never real.) Dr. Pym enlarges it and Spider-Woman gives it to Tigra who successfully engineers a swap without waking the sleeping child. Jan Van Dyne organises some lullaby musak.

They move to the meeting room where Hawkeye joins them. He stayed behind in the Filmland In Wax Museum in Costa Mesa and found a lot of evidence. There are documents proving it was owned by Douglas Birely (aka Dr Demonicus). Wasp adds that they know he was a geneticist villain who used the Lifestone to mutate animals into giant monsters. Iron Man adds that DrD always operates in and around the Pacific Ocean, and the machinery they found in the base was manufactured by 2 companies in Australia and Japan. Hawkeye shows them photos he found of Sydney Opera House, Tokyo and some other Japanese city.

Wasp finds it suspiciously convenient, but it's all they've got to go on. They still haven't elected a chairman since #69's reshuffle, so Henry Pym suggests Iron Man as (ironically?) the 'newest' member. (Tony Stark is still pretending it's a replacement in the armour - which most of the team aren't actually buying.)

Shellhead sends Dr Pym, Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man to Australia, and himself, Tigra and Wasp to Japan. Hawkeye will stay behind as liaison. (SpideyW stays as well because she's not on the team.) Simon Williams wants to swap to the Japan team but IM won't have it. Simon may be angry with Wanda Maximoff (for 'dumping' him) but he should act like a professional (especially as he's also a professional actor). Julia is impressed by how the new guy takes control so well, and Clint Barton decides not bitch about being left out.

While 2 quinjets leave for separate destinations, the 2 remainers look in on the Big One and Hawkeye fruitlessly tries showing the photos to him. Meanwhile Clint asks SpW if she'd like to go for a pizza sometime and tell him why she left Denver. Julia says isn't he married? Barton replies that they're legally separated - and anyway it was only sharing a pizza not a date. She's about to accept when the phone rings.

Hawkeye answers and has to tell Dr Jennie Falk from UCLA (who Dr Pym and we met in #67) that Hank Pym is away. Apparently they *did* have a date. Then it rings again and it's Titan Talent Agency who want to talk not to actor Simon but Jan about a screenplay idea she's submitted. Clint figures the ex-married couple Hank and Jan were serious in #69 when they said they were going separate ways.

Then he hears a shout from Spider-Woman. Rushing back to the Big One's room he finds that she had continued showing the photos to the child, and he'd grabbed 1. Now Julia distracts him with her glowing web strands and sends more strands to retrieve the picture - which Hawkeye hadn't noticed before so it must have been stuck to the back of another 1. It turns out to be in Hawaii, so they take another quinjet to investigate (leaving the big baby to muzak and the staff).

Dr Demonicus has relocated to another base, and taken the captive Living Lightning and Taifu with him. He commends his lieutenant Kain who he left in charge here while he was in California. We learn that Wasp was wise to be suspicious of the clues Hawkeye found. When his Pacific Overlords Jawbreaker and Kuroko ran into Spider-Woman (last issue) he knew that other heroes would follow, so he left clues to direct them to Australia and Japan. He doesn't have to delay them long before his plan to impose his Pax Demonicus on the Pacific Rim will succeed. And if any of them *do* find their way here then he has his most powerful Pacific Overlord waiting for them. (That's all for DrD this issue.)

In Hawaii Mount Kilauea does 1 of its frequent volcanic eruptions. But this time tourists see 2 figures shoot up from inside the cone and zoom off into the sky. 1 is the Japanese mutant hero Sunfire, the other is Pele - supposedly the Hawaiian Fire Goddess. They fly to Pearl Harbour ...

... where Sub-Mariner is receiving a plaque from Admiral Hinkley on the USS Arizona Memorial to commemorate his WWII exploits against the Axis forces after the Japanese attack here in 1941. Namor (who is no longer Prince of Atlantis but instead a surface businessman) accepts on behalf also of Captain America and the android Human Torch, his fellow Invaders. He comments how America and Japan have put their enmity behind them ...

... when he is blasted in the back by Sunfire. He and Pele say they are here to drive all Americans out of the Hawaiian Islands and return it to Pele's native worshippers. Hinkley doesn't believe them. He knows that Sunfire is Japanese and motivated by revenge for Japan's WWII defeat. And he suspects his companion is at least part Japanese. The flying duo's response is to prepare to destroy the Memorial ...

... but a smoke arrow obscures their aim. Hawkeye and Spider-Woman have arrived in their quinjet floating nearby. SpW is unsure what *they* can do against these foes, but Clint says as an Avenger he has to try. Julia muses that *she* isn't an Avenger, and she's on the run from the Commission on Superhuman Activities/Freedom Force (which contradicts what she'll say in #84).

Hawkeye taunts Sunfire but his blast arrow has little effect. Spider-Woman fires her energy webs at Pele who just flies out of the way. Both foes fire blasts that only hit the quinjet. Now it's Julia's turn to taunt the Fire Goddess, who flies straight into a net of webs SpideyW had hidden in some sun glare between them. But that too only slows Pele for an instant.

But when she gets closer SpW rips a piece of metal off the quinjet and uses it to douse her in water. Then she dives in to save the floundering female, but Pele uses heat waves to render Julia unconscious. Hawkeye gets Sunfire with an unexpected tear gas arrow, but Pele blasts the quinjet knocking him off it and then rises triumphant from the sea as Clint swims to the aid of Spider-Woman.

But Sub-Mariner has recovered and ditched his business suit. He now rides to the attack in his fighting trunks surfing a giant wave. Pele flies away, and Namor can't follow because he recently lost his ankle wings. But he *can* leap to punch Sunfire in the jaw.

He takes his captive to the quinjet where Hawkeye has revived Spider-Woman. Sunfire claims not to remember anything of what just happened, and Namor believes him because of the glazed look in his eyes during the fight (though how he could tell through Sunfire's mask I don't know). He figures Shiro Yoshida was hypnotised, and Hawkeye guesses Pele must have been hypnotised too into thinking she was a goddess (though Julia thinks this strange coming from someone who frequently works with Thor). The last thing Shiro *does* remember is being hit from behind in Japan. But he also has a vague recollection that the next day (July 18) is important.

Namor says he must return to Los Angeles. Hawkeye says the AWC and Spider-Woman can handle things from here on. But Julia says *she* has to go home too. (Hawkeye will fly her back to LA in the quinjet next issue. Though if Subby is *really* going there too I don't know why she doesn't ask *him* for a lift (he's probably got a private jet) and leave Hawkeye and the quinjet to continue on AWC business.)

We have 1 more player to bring on stage before the end of the issue. In San Diego U.S. Agent interrupts a carjacker. But he gets a call from Mike Clemson of the CSA (the Commission that USA used to work for as the replacement Captain America). Clemson offers him a job with the CSA, and his 1st task is to find CSA agent Spider-Woman (who has gone rogue) at the AWC Compound and kill her for national security reasons. The Agent isn't comfortable with killing anymore, but accepts anyway - partly to get his own back on the AWC for kicking him off the team (#69).


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> Avengers West Coast: Book info and issue index

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David Ross
Danny Bulanadi
Bob Sharen
Tom Morgan (Cover Penciler)
Tom Morgan (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Nel Yomtov.
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: Big One, Doctor Pym (Henry Pym), Dr Demonicus, Jawbreaker, Kuroko, Living Lightning (Miguel Santos), Mike Clemson, Morgan Kain, Pacific Overlords, Pele, Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter), Sunfire, Taifu, U.S. Agent.