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Avengers West Coast #74: Review

Sep 1991
Roy Thomas, David Ross

Story Name:

Operation Overlords

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers West Coast #74 Review by (January 10, 2018)
This is The Pacific Overlords part 5/conclusion.

Roy Thomas has now got the membership that I think he has been aiming for since he and Dann took over the writing in #60. And this is a much bigger shakeup than happened in #69.

Demonicus & co will be back in #93-95, although Kuroko will show up earlier in #92.
Big One, Pele and Taifu won't be with them, or appear again. (The real Fire Goddess Pele *will* appear in some comics.)

The Avengers West Coast (mainly Iron Man) have many apps before next issue according to the Marvel Chronology Project.

1st Living Lightning visits home to tell his family he is OK in a backup tale in AWC An#6/4 just in time to learn that his sister is dead and stop his young brother getting revenge in a local gang turf war.

Tigra presumably brought the quinjet home from Australia because she's at the Compound with IM, Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man when the Lady of the Lake asks them to help Excalibur in their #37-39. And she stays for a few more apps.

Then IM stays in England for Knights of Pendragon #7,10-12. And then has a couple of fill-in tales in Marvel Fanfare #53/2 and Marvel Super-Heroes #2/1 before nipping back for KoP#18.

IM, Hawkeye, ScW and WM are joined by Tigra and Wasp in Damage Control v3#3-4. IM helps out Nick Fury in his NF, Agent of SHIELD #27. Then they all join an Avengers party with US Agent and Dr Pym in Av#332-333 which gets disrupted by Dr Doom.

That's a cue for Tigra to go back to Australia from where she'll be abducted by Blowfly for the Sultan of Temasika in her own serial within Marvel Comics Presents #162-165. After that she won't be seen until she comes to visit the AWC in their #83.

Meanwhile IM and Hawkeye guest in Punisher/Captain America: Blood & Glory #2. Then IM has the 3rd part of his Camelot trilogy with Dr Doom in the IM: Legacy of Doom mini-series, followed by his own #258-266 (Armor Wars II). Dr Pym and Wonder Man appear in #263, and then Pym helps the Fantastic Four in the opening salvo of the Annuals event 'The Korvac Quest' in their An#24. IM and Dr Pym are involved in 'The Collection Obsession' in Av#335-339. And somewhere around here we see his ex Jan Van Dyne trying to get her screenplay made in Hollywood in AWC An#6/3.

The opening moves in the Mandarin/Fin Fang Foom story arc take place in IM#267-268. IM joins Spider-Man for 'The Vibranium Vendetta' in all *his* 3 Annuals this year. 2 more minor tales follow in MCP#78/3 and MSH#8/3 (the intro of Squirrel Girl), and IM and Wasp guest in Av#340. (Wasp will next be seen when she visits in our #76.) Meanwhile Hawkeye has his own little story in MCP#83/3. Then Wonder Man then has the #1-3 of his own series, with his AWC buddies IM, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Woman and US Agent in #2.

IM#269-275 hosts the main part of the Mandarin/Fin Fang Foom story. #276-277 are an adventure with Black Widow.

And then it will be time for our #75.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers West Coast #74 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Cybertooth, Irezumi, Jawbreaker and Kuroko raise the flag of the new state of Demonica on the island to the north of Hawaii that has just been created by Dr. Demonicus. The Avengers West Coast (Dr. Pym, Iron Man, Wasp and Wonder Man) watch from stasis tubes that deny them their powers. With them is unconscious Taifu who is a rebel against Demonicus.

Dr D himself is trying to bolster the wavering loyalty of his newest recruit Living Lightning, who is unhappy about the way Kuroko and Jawbreaker struck down Scarlet Witch and Pele from behind. Demonicus says that they deserve no mercy - ScW is an Avenger and so an enemy, and Pele is a rebel like her husband Taifu. Kuroko points out they have no more stasis tubes to hold them when they wake up (Wanda Maximoff's tube broke last issue). The evil geneticist orders them executed. Cybertooth and Jawbreaker are eager to do the honours, but Kuroko says she can do it more cleanly with simple strikes from her staff.

But the argument is interrupted by Miguel Santos who transforms into his Living Lightning form and places himself as a barrier before the 2 unconscious women. JB threatens what he'll do when LL reverts to human. Miguel does so and dares him to try. He says he's loyal to the cause, but won't stand by and let defenceless women be murdered. Their boss orders them to stop bickering. He allows the women to live in the custody of Santos, who will of course be expected to kill them if necessary.

We don't get to find out what Miguel would answer to that because there's another interruption in the form of AWCer Hawkeye, ex-AWCer U.S. Agent, guest Spider-Woman and #71's enemy-by-hypnosis Sunfire. Demonicus sends his Pacific Overlords against them, including Living Lightning who lashes out at Sunfire. US Agent clashes with Jawbreaker while Spider-Woman evades Cybertooth and makes a dash for the controls of the stasis tubes. She gets there but invisible Kuroko strikes her down. USA is holding his own against JB. But when he turns away to smash his shield into the cybernetic jaw of CT who was creeping up on him, JB knocks him down.

Meanwhile Hawkeye has gone up against Irezumi to get to SpW. Clint Barton fires a sonic arrow which circles his foe. But Irezumi has changed the tattoo on his chest to resemble the archer, and this allows him to send the sound back to Hawkeye with multiplied force. SpW has recovered and spun her psychic webs to form a dome barrier against her invisible assailant. So Kuroko leaves to attack someone else. Sunfire fights back against LL and the clash of powers sends them both flying, but also wrecks SpideyW's web.

Dr D tells the semi-stunned Santos to use Scarlet Witch as a hostage against their attackers. But this is the last straw for the honourable Miguel. Demonicus threatens to deactivate the electronics in the suit he gave Santos which enables him to become human when he wants to. But LL zaps the deactivater out of his hand, destroying it.

Meanwhile Wanda has regained consciousness. She casts her hex against the power supply to the stasis tubes and suddenly the other 4 Avengers are free.

Dr Pym faces Irezumi who forms his image on his chest ready to use his power against him. But instead of trying to shrink his foe Hank directs his Pym Particles against *himself*. So that is the power that Tattoo copies, and dwindles away. Concerned ex-wife Wasp chides him for the risk he took because size-changing is extremely dangerous fort *him* - if Irezumi *hadn't* grabbed the power then it might have been fatal. And also now they can't interrogate him about what happened to Tigra in Japan after Jan Van Dyne and Iron Man were knocked out (#72).

Cybertooth and Jawbreaker fancy themselves against Iron Man and Wonder Man. Shellhead is shocked when CT's sharp cyborg teeth are able to pierce his armour and the arm within. But CT is no match for a haymaker from WM. JB has taken a moment to pick up a large piece of machinery to brain Simon Williams with. But Wanda spots him and a hex makes the floor slippery beneath his feet. He slides right into Wondy's fist. And IM chases him off with repulsor blasts. (And Simon apologises to Wanda for taking it so badly when she told him she just wanted to be friends (#69).) Kuroko has defeated Spider-Woman with her staff, but now she's attacked by Wasp's stings. She goes invisible to escape, but is then run over by Jawbreaker, taking them both out.

Dr D's lieutenant Kain and his troops are left to hold off the heroes. USA breaks through and punches Demonicus in the face. But before that happens the mad Doctor sends a signal which causes a change in Kain, who glows with energy and grows huge. He also appears to be changing his substance, and Henry Pym says it seems to have made him immune to Pym Particles.

Iron Man and Sunfire try an aerial attack. But spikes sticking out of Kain's head allow him to control IM's armour, and fire his repulsors at the other hero. And then at those on the ground. Power cords become alive to entangle Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch. Wonder Man rips them off Wanda. He figures it's useless for him to fly against their enemy because his hip jets would be taken over. The Witch says her hex might be able to cancel Kain's radiation to stop that. Simon takes off and the plan works. Except giant Kain just swats him aside.

Living Lightning now shoots lightning bolts at Kain, and the giant can't stop him because there's nothing technological for him to control in the electric lightning form. Then Wasp has an idea. She remembers that when Hank 1st went giant-sized his arteries couldn't supply blood and oxygen so well, especially to the brain. So she flies into his giant ear and then zaps him inside. And the mighty are fallen. And Kain shrinks back to normal.

(And when IM flies Dr Pym out of the way of the falling body he calls him "Hank". Pym asks if that means he's given up pretending not to be Tony Stark these days. IM says "Yes". And we know he came clean to Tigra and Wasp in #72. But they whisper so people like Spider-Woman and US Agent who don't know Tony's secret don't hear.)

But Dr Demonicus isn't beaten. He points to a large screen showing events at a UN meeting. Dr Douglas Birely addresses the Assembly to thank them for admitting Demonica to their ranks. (That was *very* quick work, due no doubt to a very efficient bureaucracy.) He offers the mineral wealth of his nation to the world, and opens the island to immigration. But Birely is the real identity of Dr D, who explains that he genetically altered 1 of his minions to be his identical twin, even with the same fingerprints. And because the Avengers all work for the UN (since Av#329) they'll have to leave now.

Pele and Taifu still want their son back. But the screen shows him returned to normal and being presented to the Assembly as a symbol of Demonica's future. Demonicus tells them Kenjiro will be returned to them and won't become the Big One again. But they may retain their own powers if they want.

Sunfire flies off to Hawaii, and the other Avengers take their 2 quinjets back to California. (Hawkeye and friends arrived in 1 and Cybertooth & Jawbreaker brought Dr Pym, Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man from Australia in the other.) Hawk, Iron Man and Spider-Woman are in 1 with Taifu and Pele coming to America to collect their son. The others including Living Lightning are in the other.

Apparently they've reinstated US Agent as a regular member to replace 1 of the retiring Dr Pym and Wasp. Clint Barton and SpW don't tell IM just how USA came to be with them. (He was sent by a Government agency to kill SpW but couldn't bring himself to do it (#72).) Tigra contacts them all to tell them she's crashed a 3rd quinjet in the Outback but some Aborigines helped her. She'll make sure they get the jet back but she's going to stay with them for a while. She recommends Spider-Woman as her replacement. They accept her recommendation (but we don't actually hear Julia Carpenter agreeing). And Wasp nominates LL to replace *her*, and he gratefully accepts.

Lastly Clint passes on some messages to Hank and Jan from #71. A talent agent wants to talk to Jan about her screenplay, and Jennie Falk from UCLA says Hank missed a dinner date. The divorced couple are well and truly going their own ways.

David Ross
Tim Dzon
Bob Sharen
Tom Morgan (Cover Penciler)
Tom Morgan (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Bill Oakley.
Editor: Nel Yomtov.


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: Big One, Cybertooth, Demonicus, Doctor Pym (Henry Pym), Irezumi, Jawbreaker, Kuroko, Living Lightning (Miguel Santos), Morgan Kain, Pacific Overlords, Pele, Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter), Sunfire, Taifu.

> Avengers West Coast: Book info and issue index

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