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Avengers West Coast #75: Review

Oct 1991
Roy Thomas, Herb Trimpe

Story Name:

Hostages to fortune

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers West Coast #75 Review by (May 22, 2018)
As usual in this period and series Dann Thomas co-scripts with Roy. And here Herbe Trimpe gets an inking assist from Charles Barnett.

1 part of the theme park is labelled Groo Town after Sergio Aragones' parody character.

Agatha Harkness suppressed Wanda Maximoff's memory of her boys after they were 'taken away' in #52. A backup tale in Annual #7 will explain how Agatha has now restored Wanda's memories because she has recovered from her ordeal. But somehow she'll forget the boys again later because it is the traumatic return of those memories which will trigger the events of Avengers Disassembled.

The story of Thundra and the Sisterhood started in a tale of the Femizons in Savage Tales #1, where a future devastated North America was ruled by the United Sisterhood of Femizonia. In Fantastic Four #151 this Earth was invade by another future Machus ruled by men. Thundra was sent back in time to defeat the strongest man in their shared past to stop the Machan future happening. And she chose Thing because she fancied him. FF#151-153 resulted in the replacement of both futures by 1 in which men and women worked together. But Thundra remained on present-day Earth.

But then in Marvel Two-In-One #67 Thundra travelled to another future where the Femizons defeated the Machans. She became ruler of the United Sisterhood Republic in this timeline. FF#303 followed where Thing helped Thundra quell a Machan uprising. And now this.

Polemachus isn't an alternate future. At the very least it's a world in an alternate present timeline and maybe a totally different dimension. Arkon is its Imperion. From Avengers #75-76 onwards Arkon has made so many apps on this Earth that he inspired the Arkon films. In our #31 he came here to punish the people involved for debasing his image. Since then he popped up in Dr Strange Sorcerer Supreme #12-13 as a pawn of Enchantress during Acts Of Vengeance, where Arkon did his usual schtick of asking the nearest female to be his queen, in this case Strange's squeeze Clea.

Arkon's Vizier has accompanied Arkon in several of his apps, the last being Uncanny X-Men Annual #5 where true to form Arkon made a play for Storm.

The doomed Shigaru on the other hand is invented for this issue alone.

The Vizier won't reappear until Av v3 #18.

Arkon and Thundra will be a couple for a while. Their next app will be in Av#358-359 where Polemachus is as so often having problems with the energy rings that keep the world going.

The FF have been busy since the last story in their own comic against the Time Variance Authority in FF#352-354 where Thing got his old rocky look back and Sharon Ventura/Ms Marvel/She-Thing left the team, returning the FF to the status quo. The 4 were last together in Quasar #20 as part of his Cosmos In Collison arc. Then Mr Fantastic had his own tale in Marvel Comics Presents #80 and cameoed with Thing in Iron Man #275, the end of the Mandarin/Dragon Seed saga, and then he went back for another CIC cameo in Q#23. Meanwhile Human Torch had his own solo adventure in a tale in MCP#83. Franklin Richards hasn't been seen since FF#349.

The FF are next in Deathlok v2 #3-5 and are killed and resurrected behind the scenes in Infinity Gauntlet #2&6 before Thing fights the Wrecker alone in FF#355 and the whole team meets the New Warriors in FF#356. Franklin won't be back until a tale in Marvel Holiday Special 1991 (which is after FF#360).

Next the AWC get caught up in the Infinity Gauntlet mini-series. Thanos has gathered up the 6 Infinity Gems and attached them to his glove (in issues of Silver Surfer). Now he deletes from reality half the population of the universe in IG#1 to please his mistress Death, and they don't get restored until IG#6.
Only Iron Man and Scarlet Witch from our team play a role in the issues in between, and in SS#52,54 and DSSS#33-35. Hawkeye is shown vanishing in #1 and reappearing in #6. US Agent is reported among the disappeared in #2. Wonder Man is seen among the remainers in #2 but then forgotten about. Living Lightning and Spider-Woman don't even get a mention.

After that it's time for the Annuals crossover Subterranean Wars between Avengers, Hulk, Sub-Mariner, Iron Man and AWC. Iron Man has some backup tales in his own An#12 and then the main story gets him involved with underground ruler Kala and Mole Man's Outcasts. Then the whole team gets together for the AWC Annual to help Grotesk, Kala, Mole Man and Tyrannus against the Deviants, and rescue the East Coast Avengers team who were captured by the Deviants in Av An#20.
Rachel Carpenter won't be seen until AWC#78.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers West Coast #75 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
A new theme park will soon be opening in Los Angeles - Sword & Sorcery World. And the Avengers West Coast have arranged to have the place to themselves and their guests the Fantastic Four tonight. And in particular for Reed and Sue Richards' son Franklin Richards and for Rachel Carpenter the daughter of Julia Carpenter, secretly Spider-Woman. The rides are all automated so there aren't even any staff around.

Rachel recently started reading comics so her mom took her to meet the AWC earlier today. And then mom slipped away and returned as Spider-Woman, saying Julia had asked her to look after her daughter at the amusement park.

Everybody has a go on various rides. Living Lightning comments to Human Torch (Johnny Storm) how he started his super-career by fighting the WWII android HT (#63). Scarlet Witch misses her children who were exposed as figments of magic (#52). Rachel tells Franklin about her parents' divorce and how she only gets to see her mom 1 weekend a month. She's not supposed to tell her dad about mom leaving her with some superheroes.

The kids go for a ride by themselves on the Arkon ride, based on the Arkon movies that Wonder Man stars in - which are themselves based loosely on the other-dimensional villain Arkon. As the ride speeds up canopies enfold the dragon cars to protect the passengers. But the mothers get worried when the dragon train accelerates way to much. Hawkeye tries to pull the brake lever but it comes of in his hands. Lightning tries to drain the electricity from the machinery, but to no avail - even after Miguel Santos switches off the control on his costume and becomes pure electricity himself. Some other characters don't use their powers for fear of harming the children.

Mr. Fantastic grabs the train as it shrooshes past and crawls along the roof until he can slide in through the tiny aperture at the edge of the canopy over the lead car where the kids are. The ride slows to a stop but when the roof opens Reed tells them the car was empty. They assume an enemy has kidnapped the kids.

Then the park goes dark. Torch flames on to supply some light. Mr Fantastic thinks they should ride the train themselves and hope to get taken to where their children have gone. He asks Miguel to provide the power. Everyone piles into the cars except U.S. Agent. Iron Man tells him to stay behind in case the kids return. Johnny Walker's not happy until IM butters him up by saying they need to leave someone who can handle *any* emergency.

Living Lightning is on the train too as he shoots electricity into the tracks. Iron Man and Human Torch help speed things up with repulsor rays and flame-bolts. The train accelerates and goes closed again. A bit later it slows down of its own accord. The canopies open and all the heroes have gone.

Hawkeye, Lightning, Mr Fantastic, Spider-Woman and Thing find themselves separated from the other 5. The FF'ers recognise that they are in the future timeline of Thundra and the Sisterhood. Thundra admits that they tried to bring the 2 children here but claims that only Franklin arrived. They see an image of him on a crystal screen. Spider-Woman traps Thundra in a psychic web and demands to know where Rachel is. But the strongwoman breaks free. Others of the Sisterhood stop Rachel attacking their leader.

Reed explains to Spider-Woman that they are in an alternate timeline ruled by the United Sisterhood Republic. Thundra explains that Franklin and Thing have been brought here so that Ben Grimm can become her husband. Ben thought she'd given that idea up after her last app in FF#303. He demands to know where Rachel and the other Avengers are. Thundra thinks they were diverted to the Arkon's world.

She's right. We see Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man on Polemachus where their willpower and memory has been drained. Rachel is being looked after by a Samurai-looking guy named Shigaru. Arkon had hoped to keep all 10 of the Avengers/FF out of Thundra's clutches. But his Vizier points out that at least they have balanced out the advantage *she* had aimed for.

It transpires that Thundra had lead a delegation from her future world to this 1. Arkon claims that she had demanded tribute from them rather than bowing to their superiority. The idea of a world ruled by a woman is anathema to him, so he intends to take it for himself. And the assault must happen soon before the heroes recover their wits.

There's a little interlude where Arkon remembers offering to make Wanda Maximoff his bride (in his 1st app in Av#75-76). He considers trying again but rejects the idea in favour of sending Scarlet Witch into battle with her comrades.

And his forces are teleported to the Sisterhood's world, where Thundra's army awaits. The Earth heroes have agreed to fight to rescue Rachel. Reed and Ben know Thundra well enough to believe that she wouldn't actually hurt Franklin. Arkon starts the war by hurling 1 of his scarlet thunderbolt weapons. The 2 sides clash, and our heroes are dismayed to find themselves fighting against their brainwashed companions.

Meanwhile Franklin has squeezed out of his cage because the widely-spaced bars weren't designed to hold someone so small. He runs in front of a device which is about to teleport some women warriors to the enemy's rear. And gets zapped to the far side of the battlefield where he sees Rachel escaping from Shigaru's grip. The 2 kids meet and hide.

Our gang have paired up in individual fights. Invisible Woman's forcefield is holding off Spider-Woman's webs. Scarlet Witch's hex makes Mr Fantastic lose control of his malleable body. Thing and Wonder Man are pounding each other when Iron Man  attacks Ben from behind. But Hawkeye's electro-arrow interferes with Shellhead's armour and Thing gets him in a bear hug. Arkon's heroes aren't in general operating at their best because of the brainwashing.

Julia spots her daughter hiding behind a rock and runs towards her, pursued by Sue's forceballs. Shigaru finds the kids and sacrifices himself to protect them from a missile blast. With his dying breath he warns them and Spider-Woman that another missile is heading towards them. SpW spins a psychic web which saves them from harm.

Then Franklin runs to his mother. But Sue Richards doesn't react to him. But then his tears break her conditioning, just in time for her forcefield to keep all 4 of them safe from yet another missile. And her field and the explosion combine to send out waves of force that knock the opposing armies over. And also bring the other 3 of Arkon's superheroes to their senses.

Arkon and Thundra, both seemingly unaffected, try to rally their stunned troops. Arkon throws a thunderbolt at some of his men to 'inspire' them. But Thundra knocks him off his lizard-mount. She suggest they fight 1-on-1, and Arkon agrees to forego weapons. (But Thundra still seems to be wielding her chain.) The Earth heroes decide to leave them to it.

Whilst fighting they of course chat. Thundra claims she only wanted to get Ben Grimm as a husband, and never intended to invade Polemachus. Arkon thinks she's lying, and only wanted Thing as a weapon. After exchanging insults Thundra says she only went to Polemachus to find out about *him*. Arkon's ego is stroked. And Thundra is pleased that he described her as the only woman worth fighting.

They kiss, and then 1 of Arkon's golden thunderbolts transports them elsewhere to continue away from prying eyes. The armies fade away. The Sisterhood reappear in their citadel and the Polemachans have been called home by the Vizier. And then the Earth people are returned to the dragon ride to be greeted by US Agent.

Julia Carpenter decides to take Sue Richards' advice and be honest with her daughter. She unmasks before Rachel. But the kid says she'd figured it out as soon as she *met* Spider-Woman. But she didn't want to expose her mum's secret.

And everybody goes home.


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> Avengers West Coast: Book info and issue index

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Herb Trimpe
Herb Trimpe
Bob Sharen
Herb Trimpe (Cover Penciler)
Herb Trimpe (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Bill Oakley.
Editor: Nel Yomtov. Editor-in-chief: Tom DeFalco.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Hawkeye
Hawkeye

(Clint Barton)
Human Torch
Human Torch

(Johnny Storm)
Invisible Woman
Invisible Woman

(Sue Storm)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Thing
Thing

(Ben Grimm)

Plus: Arkon, Franklin Richards, Living Lightning (Miguel Santos), Rachel Carpenter, Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter), U.S. Agent.