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Avengers West Coast #78: Review

Jan 1992
Roy Thomas, David Ross

Story Name:

There's no business like ...

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers West Coast #78 Review by (June 5, 2018)
This is part 3 of 4 of 'Infamous Monsters of Hollywood'.

US Agent's real name is John(nie) Walker, or it was when he was Super-Patriot and the replacement Captain America. But at the end of that period his death was faked and the government gave him a new super-role as US Agent and a new civilian id Jack Daniels (keeping with a whisky theme). Iron Man refers to him here as Jack Daniels but in quotes - presumably because he told them of his old identities some time after his backup tale in Captain America #376-378.

After some epilogue issues of Infinity Gauntlet (Silver Surfer #60 and his own #36) Dr Strange helped Sub-Mariner in Namor the SM #21 & 24.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers West Coast #78 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Wonder Man is hanging by the neck from the Hollywood sign with the Night Shift watching. But then he swings forward and uses his legs to bash the Brothers Grimm's heads together. He pulls the noose from round his neck and drops to the ground to hit Misfit. But Gypsy Moth levitates him by his clothing and slams him against the ground, and the gang pile on him.

We pull back to see this is a movie lot and director Hangman calls "cut". Eventually the Shift stop beating Simon Williams up. They're making a film called 'The Night Shift Takes Hollywood' and Williams is the co-star and technical advisor. Dansen Macabre complains about being given little to do and no dialogue. Hangman brutally tells her she can't act. (And the others can?)

In the last 2 issues we learned that Hangman is Jason Roland, ex monster-movie star who got his stardom by a deal with Satannish. But when he was making his last film he reneged on the deal for his soul and in return was left permanently stuck in his last monster form. So he fled leaving the picture unfinished. Now years later he's made another deal with Satannish which got him his human shape back in return for bringing the Night Shift under Satannish's control.

But he also discovered that the film 'The Demon That Devoured Hollywood' was now being completed with another actor and he angrily used the Shift to disrupt it. Then he captured Wonder Man and we now learn he has abducted crew and equipment from that other film to help him make this 1. To what end we don't yet know.

1 of the abductees is Mona from #76 who is now objecting to being manhandled by Misfit. Simon steps up to warn him off and Roland tells him to leave the crew alone. But then Hangman turns to Williams and reminds him that the same crew are hostages keeping him in line. Even though the film was Wondy's idea.

The rest of the Avengers West Coast are preparing to hunt down Night Shift even if it means fighting Wonder Man (whether or not he's only pretending to be 1 of the enemy). Hawkeye and U.S. Agent continue their bickering and 'Jack Daniels' leaves in a huff. But Mockingbird arrives from Detroit on a sky-cycle to take his place.

She's actually come to talk to her estranged husband Hawkeye. Bobbi gives Clint Barton a not-so-subtle signal that she'd like them to get back together. But then she's introduced to Living Lightning and Spider-Woman, and Julia Carpenter says Clint has been very welcoming - including going with her last night to follow a lead to the Night Shift. Bobbi comments that Clint *had* mentioned something about that when she phoned him, but she was sure he said it was a *male* colleague involved.

Hawkeye gives Scarlet Witch a lift on *his* sky-cycle to go look for the villains. Mockingbird follows them. Julia is the only 1 who hadn't been aware that Clint was coming on to her recently. Iron Man and Lightning leave on the search but Spi has something to do 1st.

She gets ready to go pick up her daughter Rachel Carpenter for the weekend. Rachel lives with Julia's ex-husband Larry. But she's interrupted by a phone call from Stella Houston who needs to see her urgently. (Stella was the co-star in Jason Roland's aborted film, and Hawkeye and Spider-Woman went to see her in #76.) Julia agrees but then has to call Larry Carpenter to cancel the weekend. He's angry because he's supposed to be going on a ski trip. Julia knows that Rachel will be disappointed, but hopes her daughter will understand because she knows about her superheroine life.

Now we cut to another movie set. Not all the crew from 'The Demon That Devoured Hollywood' have been abducted and its director Waite is still trying to finish it with yet another person in the monster costume after Wonder Man was taken. the monster is still chasing co-star Felicia Fern this time under a pier on a beach. They're using Waite's idea that the monster's tail snags on a stanchion allowing Felicia to escape. But instead it pulls a large section of the pier down on them and the monster has to protect the woman. Waite is happy with the unintended shot but Felicia obviously isn't. And the monster this time turns out to be US Agent.

Hangman's not happy when he sees the news on TV. He decides to kidnap Waite to wreck *that* film and make him co-director on *this* 1.

Iron Man has actually flown from California to New York where he goes to see Doctor Strange. Wong says his master mustn't be disturbed but Tony Stark marches past him and enters a room where Strange is surrounded by ectoplasmic wraiths who try to escape through the now-open door. DrS casts a spell which sends them back to the dimension they came from.

IM explains about Satannish and Stephen Strange is intrigued that the rampant eater of souls should enhance Night Shift's powers for the offer of a mere 3 Avengers (Hawkeye, Spider-Woman and US Agent last issue). Strange promises to help but 1st he must deal with the wraiths who live in a dimension which shouldn't exist. He disappears into that dimension and Iron Man has to leave.

Waite is filming the last shot of his picture on location below the real Hollywood sign when there's a blinding light and Wonder Man appears hanging from it. Night Shift attack and Hangman says they've ditched Wondy before he could betray them. (The AWC must have given up the search and returned to base because they see this on TV.) US Agent removes his monster costume to fight them but Ticktock slows time around him and the Brothers Grimm, Misfit, Tatterdemalion and Digger beat on him, followed by Hangman. (Dansen Macabre, Gypsy Moth and Needle don't get a look in this time.)

Hangman issues a challenge to the Avengers to meet Night Shift in a filmed battle or US Agent and Wonder Man will die.

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.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
U.S. Agent
U.S. Agent

(John Walker)

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

> Avengers West Coast: Book info and issue index

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