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Avengers West Coast #72: Review

Jul 1991
Roy Thomas, David Ross

Story Name:

Chaos and chrysanthemums

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers West Coast #72 Review by (January 9, 2018)
This is part 3 of The Pacific Overlords.

Tim Dzon helps with the inking, and will take over completely from next issue.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers West Coast #72 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Iron Man, Tigra and Wasp have come to Tokyo to Hasanuma Electronics to ask what equipment they sold to Dr. Demonicus, probably under his real name Dr Douglas Birely. They are greeted by Mr Anami who denies all knowledge of any such transaction, even when Shellhead produces a fragment with the Hasanuma label on it. IM presses Anami to tell them which factory made it. He names them in sequence, and the businessman starts to sweat when it comes to Kyoto.

But suddenly a helicopter hovers outside the window with 2 armed men that IM recognises as Yakuza. Anami begs for his life saying he told our heroes nothing. But they open fire, killing him. The Armoured Avenger is of course unscathed, and Tigra and Wasp get everyone else out.

Tigra leaps through the shattered window onto the 'copter. 1 of the gunmen falls to the street far below. But the other has her in his sights when Wasp temporarily blinds him with a sting. There are other gunmen inside. Tigra attacks and shreds some of their clothes to reveal heavily tattooed skin. Iron Man grabs the chopper and forces it to land. He says the tattoos confirm they are Yakuza.

Tigra wants to know how IM was sure Anami knew about Demonicus. He says that his boss Tony Stark already suspected he had Yakuza connections, so it made sense. Tigra comments that once again Shellhead seems to know a lot about Stark. Now at last he removes his helmet to show them that the 'new' Iron Man (since the end of Stark/Armour Wars) is still the Tony Stark they know and love. Greer Grant is embarrassed after asking IM to arrange a date for her with Tony (#70). Janet Van Dyne just says that she, Henry Pym, Clint Barton and others who've know him for a long time had already figured it out.

In Dr Demonicus' base, which we now discover is underwater, the villain listens to news items about what just happened and last issue's attack by Pele and Sunfire on Pearl Harbour which Hawkeye, Spider-Woman and Sub-Mariner foiled, capturing Sunfire. His employee Kuroko, who can turn invisible, says he should have sent *her* instead of the Yakuza.

They go to where they have Living Lightning and Taifu shackled. LL had already awoken and the Doc had offered him a job. But Miguel Santos had turned him down. Demonicus now threatens him with death, but Miguel considers that better than being hooked up to the machinery that keeps him in human form.

DrD says *he's* had it worse, and recounts some of his life. As Birely he was a geneticist studying radioactivity and mutation when an accident severely irradiated him. As Demonicus he then used a meteor called the Lifestone to mutate animals into monsters to take over the Aleutian Islands. But SHIELD stopped him (with help from Godzilla in Godz#4-5).

He adds that SHIELD shattered the Lifestone, but he had already broken some pieces off and still had those. He used these on human beings, 1st of all creating super-strong Jawbreaker. That transformation had some side-effects (presumably why JB has some cyborg replacements). The small fragments allowed him to create more of his Pacific Overlords but eventually ran out of power. So he sent Jawbreaker to the Aleutians to bring back a larger piece (which he did in #69-70).

LL asks about the other (Japanese) prisoner. DrD says that is Taifu. He rescued him and his wife and baby from a yacht that capsized in a storm. And then he mutated *them*. But he now asks Miguel again if he'll work for him. Santos replies that he's probably a wanted man after fighting the Human Torch (the WWII android) (in #63), so he might as well.

At this point Taifu (Toshio Sasaki) wakes up and demands to see his wife and son. We learn that Michi Sasaki was Pele the 'Fire Goddess' who was allied with Sunfire last issue. But she like Shiro Yoshida was only obeying under hypnosis, and now she has escaped. (And Taifu tried to take the Lifestone for Jawbreaker in #69.) Their son Kenjiro turns out to be the giant baby, the Big One, who fought the Avengers West Coast in #70.

A technician now says that Taifu is overcoming the power drainer he is attached to. Taifu breaks free and uses his typhoon power to hurl Kuroko against a wall, stunning her. And the power drainer system is now broken so there's nothing to stop Miguel Santos from becoming the Living Lightning again (even if he doesn't want to). And so it happens.

Stray lightning bolts fly everywhere, 1 of them downing Taifu. Miguel apologises but Demonicus tells him he should accept his power and use it in memory of his father who was a member of the Legion of the Living Lightning (Tales to Astonish (Hulk) #97-99).

Meanwhile our 3 AWCers have flown by quinjet to the Hasanuma plant in Kyoto. They have Dr. Pym's gadget which detected the power source in DrD's California base, and it reads the same thing here. Iron Man flies Tigra over an electrified fence - Wasp flies under her own power. They track the signal to a windowless building. Stark repulsor blasts his way in.

Last issue Wasp wondered if the clues that led them here (and another team to another company in Australia) were too convenient (and we know Demonicus planted them). And this does indeed turn out to be a trap as they face a large man who removes his Japanese robe to reveal more tattoos. And he introduces himself as Irezumi, or in English Tattoo. But Tony thinks this is no mere Yakuza goon.

Iron Man attacks with repulsors and Wasp with her stings. But tattoos on their foe's torso change to become images of *them*. And he fires back at them with their own weapons, 2 or 3 times as powerful. For that is his superpower. But knowing that wouldn't be enough to stop the Golden Avenger he has arranged for a large piece of machinery to drop where his 'repulsor' blast sent him.

Now only Tigra remains. Her image now displays on Irezumi's chest so she knows he's ready for her. He taunts her with the knowledge that the other Avengers' team is also walking into a trap. But he says he won't attack her himself, he'll just leave her to his gang of thugs.

Tigra athletically evades many blows and weapons, and throws some of her opponents around. But a knife slash badly wounds her, and she knows it's only a matter of time before she loses. She figures the only useful thing she can do now is escape to warn Scarlet Witch's group.

Greer runs towards Irezumi. But only to dive between his legs and out through the hole in the wall. She runs towards the high electric fence, and with an adrenaline-fuelled effort leaps over it amidst a hail of bullets. She lands awkwardly but manages to stumble into the quinjet and take off.

But in Sydney Wanda Maximoff has already arrived via quinjet at Everard Electronics with Dr Pym and Wonder Man. And they are watched by Jawbreaker and a new foe Cybertooth.

But we immediately leave them there and turn instead to Hawkeye and Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter) returning by yet another quinjet from Hawaii to the AWC Compound in Palos Verdes. Last issue she insisted Clint Barton bring her back to Los Angeles. Hawk wants to know why she's ducking out of the fight against the Pacific Overlords (which *she* brought to the AWC's notice in the 1st place).

SpW feels she has to justify herself so she tells him some of her backstory. She has a 7-year old daughter Rachel who lives with her ex-husband Larry. They moved here from Denver, and she followed. Her ex got custody after their divorce because when she became a superheroine she neglected her family. And if the Demonicus threat is as big as it seems to be she wants to be here to protect her child.

Clint understands and says she can borrow 1 of the team's cars. But then he's knocked out by U.S. Agent's shield. USA says he's been sent to get Spider-Woman by Mike Clemson (as we saw last issue). SpideyW says she's not going back to the Commission on Superhuman Activities and her handler Clemson. They had used her official fugitive status (after helping both Avengers teams against the Government's Freedom Force in Av Annual #15) to force her to work for them undercover (IM#214 and Spectacular Spider-Man #125-126).

Agent has been warned about her psychic webs and easily breaks through them before they 'set'. As he knocks her down he tells her that Clemson sent him to *kill* her, not bring her back, because she was a traitor. But as he tries to throttle her he suddenly stops. He can't do it. He swore he wouldn't kill anyone again (after causing the death of Left- and Right-Winger in Captain America #347).

And Spider-Woman starts to convince him what they need to do ...

David Ross
Danny Bulanadi
Bob Sharen
Tom Morgan (Cover Penciler)
Tom Morgan (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Rick Parker.
Editor: Howard Mackie.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

(Greer Nelson)
U.S. Agent
U.S. Agent

(John Walker)

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Cybertooth, Demonicus, Doctor Pym (Henry Pym), Irezumi, Jawbreaker, Kuroko, Living Lightning (Miguel Santos), Pacific Overlords, Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter), Taifu.

> Avengers West Coast: Book info and issue index

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