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Avengers West Coast #85: Review

Aug 1992
Roy Thomas, David Ross

Story Name:

Death has eight legs

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers West Coast #85 Review by (July 10, 2018)
Dann Thomas is back on the co-scripting.

Hawkeye makes a crack that Spider-Man is an Avengers Reservist who rarely shows up for work. He was on the (East Coast) Avengers team in #316-318 and then made a Reserve member in #329. He hung around until #333 and Amazing SM #348 immediately after. But I don't think he's been involved with them since then except in a general way in events like Infinity Gauntlet and Infinity War.

It's another 1st time appearance, this time for Manipulator.

The Conclave aren't in next issue but they'll be back (alongside Manipulator and Mike Clemson) in the upcoming Spider-Woman mini-series.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers West Coast #85 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The Avengers West Coast are attending a Liberty Party Convention in LA because of recent deaths connected with the Presidential election race. Spider-Man's there too. During a power blackout they have run into a spider-themed villain group Deathweb.

Iron Man and Wonder Man tackle the 6-armed giant black spider Therak - and Shellhead gets thrown away. Arachne knocks Scarlet Witch down. Spidey fights the armoured Antro who can also stick to walls. Nozzles on his helmet also fire acid venom which U.S. Agent catches on his shield until SpM blocks the nozzles with web fluid. Hawkeye's concussion arrow has no effect on the spider-hulk who continues to beat on Wonder Man. And WM notices that the villains glowing red eyes denote ionic power like his own.

Living Lightning and Spider-Woman had been left to guard Presidential Candidate Michael Galvan and his running mate Wilson Lambert, with LL provide emergency lighting. SpW's daughter Rachel Carpenter is in the room in the spare mask Julia gave her to protect their identities. But now her unwitting ex-husband Larry Carpenter, PR for the Party, gets into an argument with her over the safety of the candidates.

Arachne keeps hitting Wanda Maximoff to stop her concentrating on a hex. US Agent grabs Antro but he teleports out of his grasp (wrongly relating this ability to that of a trapdoor spider). Iron Man blasts Therak to get him off Simon Williams. But Antro ports in behind him and starts an armour-strength contest.

Larry wants Spider-Woman to persuade Galvan and Lambert to leave the building. But Julia Carpenter daren't reply in more than a mumble lest Larry recognise her voice. Then the power comes back on and Miguel Santos collapses in power-exhaustion. And SpW rushes off because she notices Rachel has gone.

Wonder Man's down so Hawkeye, Spider-Man and US Agent gang up on Therak. Arachne turns from the Witch and uses her wrist blasters to fire webs at USA. Their neuro-toxins put John Walker to sleep. Arachne turns back to Wanda and prepares to inject her with toxin as she did the whistleblower in New York last issue.

At that point Spider-Woman bursts in looking for Rachel. SpW saves ScW by pulling Arachne off her with psionic webs and slams her against a wall. Witch hexes the floor under Therak and he falls through it. And Hawkeye's blast arrow drops the ceiling on him. And an electro-arrow disrupts Antro's armour so he has to run away from Iron Man. Wonder Man recovers but so does Therak.

Then Rachel enters the room. *She* followed Julia here. Antro's wrist jet shoots a web to draw the little girl to him and at the same time he fires acid at Hawkeye. The villain uses Rachel as a shield while his compatriots join him. Then he 'trapdoors' all 4 of them away.

US Agent's still unconscious, and Hawkeye's arm now needs hospital treatment. Larry Carpenter comes in and accuses the Avengers of leaving the politicians unguarded. Iron Man orders Julia back to HQ because it was her personal involvement that put her daughter in danger. But she storms off to handle things herself. Galvan and Lambert turn up with TV news crews and *thank* the AWC, using the events to make his law & order point.

Meanwhile Spider-Woman's liaison with the Commission On Superhuman Activities Mike Clemson goes on behalf of his secret other masters the Conclave to meet with their 'special operative' the Manipulator. Clemson isn't happy with the efficacy of Manipulator's minions Deathweb. But the villain is dismissive and spends most of his time getting reports from other agents. Then the Conclave make their usual entrance in silhouette on video screens and proceed to ignore Clemson too, dealing directly with the other guy. The frustrated angry underling tries to attack Manipulator who turns out merely to be a hologram and vanishes.

Then Spider-Woman crashes in through a window. She met Clemson in this same place last issue but this is the 1st time she's seen Conclave video screens. The powerful secret society switch off immediately and Clemson tries to convince Julia she imagined them. But Julia doesn't care about that, she wants Mike to help find Rachel. In return she'll do the job Clemson wanted her to do for the Commission (actually for the Conclave) last issue. But the Conclave aren't interested anymore. Julia says she'll talk to Clemson's boss on the Commission, her friend Val Cooper. And Clemson pulls a gun on her threatening to kill her. (Probably he doesn't want Cooper asking questions which will lead to the Conclave.)

But Spider-Man had tailed Spider-Woman in case she needed help. So he swings in and webs the gun out of Clemson's hand, and offers to hit him for her. SpW instead decides to contact the AWC, but Antro ports in with Therak and acid blasts her Avengers communicard. Dim Therak lets slip that they work with Clemson. Then Manipulator arrives, in person this time, and mentally shuts Clemson up.

Manipulator tells Julia that *he* has Rachel, and puts her on live feed on the video screens with Arachne. He wants Spider-Woman to work for him and her 1st job will be to kill Spider-Man.

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


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

(Peter Parker)
U.S. Agent
U.S. Agent

(John Walker)

Plus: Antro, Arachne, Conclave, Larry Carpenter, Living Lightning (Miguel Santos), Manipulator (Ferrel Thompson), Mike Clemson, Rachel Carpenter, Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter), Therak.

> Avengers West Coast: Book info and issue index

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