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Avengers West Coast #77: Review

Dec 1991
Roy Thomas, David Ross

Story Name:

Hurray for Hollyweird

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers West Coast #77 Review by (June 5, 2018)
This is part 2 of 4 of 'Infamous Monsters of Hollywood' and is written as usual by Dann as well as Roy Thomas.

The Demon That Devoured Hollywood in Tower of Shadows #5 was written also by Roy and pencilled by Barry Smith. And Barry drew himself introducing the tale (as did the artists of the other stories in that issue).

Digger started out as the host of the 1st 3 issues of that mag and it's companion Chamber of Darkness. He appeared as a mainstream character in Spider-Woman #47 where he habitually buried people alive. He wasn't in SW#50 where many of the future Night Shift met each other but he was in their 1st app led by Shroud in Captain America #330-331. They were based in the Tower of Shadows when Moon Knight came calling in a tale in Solo Avengers #3 (Shroud was hoping he'd take over the team), and when they met the WCA in #40 and Mockingbird arrested him for burying people again.

Satannish is of course mainly a Dr Strange villain including following him into the Defenders series. He 1st showed up in DrS#174-175 although his name had been invoked in spells before. He has also been represented by the Sons of Satannish. He last appeared in DrS Sorcerer Supreme #30 where Strange foiled his latest plan (against Mephisto actually) and sent him back to his own realm.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers West Coast #77 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Digger spots his weapon-of-choice a spade propped up in a pile of dirt. He uses it to escape from prison - whacking some guards and them pole-vaulting over the wall. But it's all a setup and Iron Man and Living Lightning are waiting hidden in an artificial cloud (taking a leaf out of the Brothers Grimm's book last issue). Digger has been in jail since Mockingbird captured him in #40. But now our heroes will follow him hoping he'll lead them to the rest of the Night Shift. Miguel Santos hitches a ride on Iron Man's back because his flying plasma form might give them away.

Miguel has just told Iron Man about his sister being killed while he was with Dr Demonicus (#70-74) (He and we learned about it in a tale in Annual #6.) IM offers him time-off to grieve but Miguel says he's handling it.

They follow Digger to his old home and Night Shift hideout the Tower of Shadows which has mysteriously moved from where it was in #40. And up a winding staircase to the room that last issue ended in where fellow Avengers West Coast members Hawkeye, Spider-Woman and U.S. Agent are the objects of a demonic sacrifice by Hangman and the Night Shift. The giant hand we saw last issue is now revealed as connected to a large horned demon with 2 mouths, 1 in his stomach.

The demon announces himself as Satannish as IM and LL attack. Lightning zaps the big guy while Shellhead blasts the dais the other 3 are clamped to, breaking it apart and freeing them. Then Iron Man tries to blind Satannish with his Uni-Beam but the demon has already grabbed Lightning. However Miguel's plasma form easily squeezes free. Satannish hasn't established himself fully on this plane yet so he retreats from whence he came, telling Hangman to destroy the Avengers before calling on him again.

The Night Shift's abilities have already been enhanced somewhat by Satannish so when they attack Needle's blade his able to slash even IM's armour. But he's still vulnerable to US Agent's shield, and Hawkeye wraps Tatterdemalion up with a rope arrow. The Brothers Grimm manifest 2 yo-yo-like weapons which turn out to also be designed to short circuit Living Lightning. As Spider-Woman leg-lock's Misfit's head Ticktock slows down time for the other 4 in front of him (that's his enhancement - previously he could only predict the immediate future). But unaffected Spi bops him from behind. Now it's Dansen Macabre's turn. Her dance hypnotises the Avengers. But her enhanced power also allows her dance the Tower away, including its tall hill beneath it.

The AWC are left in midair. Lightning and Shellhead are OK but the other 3 are falling. Hawkeye fires a suction arrow to attach to Iron Man and then grabs hold of Julia Carpenter. And USA manages to grab the taut line. But he and Clint Barton still trade insults. When they're safely down they figure they should check in on Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man at the movie studio Night Shift attacked last issue.

Those 2 are waiting for a renewed assault but meanwhile Simon Williams has taken over the starring monster role in the picture vacated by Wes Nelson last issue. He's currently in the demon suit menacing the leading lady Felicia Fawn. It becomes even more clear that director Waite doesn't think much of Simon's acting but he's desperate to get his film completed and Wonder Man provides protection, free publicity and he can do his own stunts.

Scarlet Witch rescues Wonder Man from Waite's clutches by saying he promised to take her to lunch in the cafeteria. Simon is surprised she'd want to dine with him (since their breakup in #69). Wanda Maximoff says they're still both Avengers. Any awkwardness is put aside when Felicia joins them saying she's the Witch's biggest fan. Wanda is astonished/amused to hear that Avengers *have* fans.

Suddenly WM realises that Felicia and Wanda have frozen, and even the soda Wanda was pouring has stopped falling. Ticktock's new signature move announces the arrival of himself, Dansen Macabre (who transported them here), Misfit and Tatterdemalion who say they've come for Simon. Wonder Man tears free of his monster costume and grabs Tatterdemalion's scarf-weapon to pull him close enough to hit. The chemicals on Tatter's hands not only rot Simon's shirt they also now can even cause him pain. However WM's punch still sends him flying. But Misfit is now able to hold his own against the superhero. Tatterdemalion wraps his scarf around Simon's neck forcing him to look up at Dansen's hypnotic dance. And Misfit ends the fight with a knee to the face.

Ticktock's spell is wearing off so the gang take Wondy away just as Scarlet Witch revives enough to throw a hex-bolt at them. But DM teleports them and Wanda's magic just demolishes part of the movie set.

Simon awakens in the Tower of Shadows (wherever that now is) trapped in a giant plug of hardened candlewax. (Presumably magic is involved to keep him there.) Hangman says they've brought him here to help them make their own version of the Demon film. He takes off his mask to reveal that he is Jason Roland the original star of the movie. He now recounts the plot of his tale in Tower of Shadows #5.

Jason Roland had optioned his soul to someone who claimed to be the representative of a demon. This guy then gave Jason stardom in a series of monster movies by virtue of astonishing makeup jobs. But when the time came Jason (who'd never really believed the demon stuff) refused to relinquish his soul and was left in a permanent monster form.

He now continues the story saying he somehow survived like that for years in hiding but eventually got desperate enough to renew his bargain with Satannish who wanted to use him in a new scheme against Dr Strange. Satannish gave him his human body back and Roland became the Hangman to recruit the Night Shift into Satannish's power.

But attacking the attempted completion of his last movie last issue was purely a personal thing. And Simon says he has an idea.

Meanwhile Scarlet Witch relates what happened to the rest of the AWC back in their meeting room. Iron Man explains to Lightning that Satannish and his like aren't devils in the religious sense they're magical aliens from other dimensions. But then they see a news program taken over by the Night Shift who announce they're going to make their own film starring Wonder Man. And Simon Williams seems to be going along with them. The team believe that WM must be stringing them along, but they guess that Night Shift will be watching for the 1st hint of betrayal.

(Gypsy Moth doesn't do anything of note this issue.)

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> Avengers West Coast: Book info and issue index

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

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Hawkeye
Hawkeye

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

Plus: Brothers Grimm, Dansen Macabre, Digger, Gypsy Moth, Hangman, Living Lightning (Miguel Santos), Misfit, Needle, Night Shift, Satannish, Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter), Tatterdemalion, Ticktock, U.S. Agent.