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Avengers West Coast #86: Review

Sep 1992
Roy Thomas, David Ross

Story Name:

Webs of fear and sorrow

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers West Coast #86 Review by (July 10, 2018)
That's the end of the Liberty Party.

Mike Clemson, Deathweb and Manipulator will return in Julia's Spider-Woman limited series (along with the Conclave).

Spider-Man next Thor #447-448 where he fights Thor because he thinks he's helping some villains. And then back to the regularly-scheduled Spidey titles starting with Web Of SM #91-92 and villains Death Squad.

Rachel Carpenter will reappear in #88.

The AWC team members next all move into the territory of their Annual #7. In 1 backup they discuss their 10 top villains. And then Living Lightning has a solo tale where some of the old Legion of the Living Lightning try to recruit him. Then all but Hawkeye are in Darkhawk An#1 leading into the main story in our An#7.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers West Coast #86 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Spider-Woman's daughter Rachel Carpenter has been captured by the villains. Boss villain Manipulator shows Julia Carpenter Rachel on live video being menaced by his minion Arachne. He wants SpW to work for him, and to prove her 'loyalty' she can start by killing Spider-Man who followed her here.

The other 2 members of the minion group Deathweb are here too. Therak suggests he just be allowed to kill them both. But Manipulator wants Julia to commit murder so she's committed to joining the spider-based team. Mike Clemson (who has recovered from last issue's vocal paralysis) gloats over having Spider-Woman at his mercy at last, but Manipulator reminds him he's just the liaison between him and their employers the Conclave.

SpM assures SpW that the bad guys won't hurt Rachel or both Sp's will show them no mercy, so they should just team up against them. But Julia can't take the chance and attacks him with fists and a psi-web. Peter Parker fights back and they crash into some equipment starting an electrical fire. Clemson runs away and the other Deathweb member Antro teleports himself, Therak and Manipulator to safety - what he calls trapdooring. They join Clemson outside the abandoned factory, which blows up behind them. Then they all leave before the police arrive.

Meanwhile what of the rest of the Avengers West Coast? Hawkeye and U.S. Agent are in hospital being treated for injuries fighting Deathweb last issue. Iron Man, Living Lightning, Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man are in the Compound HQ with Julia's ex-husband Larry Carpenter who is PR for the Liberty Party whose Presidential Candidate they were guarding last issue. And they're going on guard duty at a Hollywood Bowl rally tonight.

Simon Williams is alone when the 3-person Deathweb team trapdoor in behind him. 6-armed spider-hulk Therak and armoured Antro attack him while Arachne plants a device. Then they teleport out. The other 4 join Wonder Man, and Iron Man detects that it's just a telemodule. Switching it on displays a hologram of Manipulator and Rachel. He tells them Spider-Man and -Woman are dead, and Larry is aghast to hear that if he wants his daughter alive then the he must keep the AWC away from the Bowl.

Back at the factory firemen have put the blaze out, but they don't know that the Spiders are trapped under the rubble. Their joint webs stopped them from being crushed but they can't budge the debris above them. Spidey says he knew SpW wasn't really trying to kill him, but she thinks their situation is hopeless. SpM tells her he was trapped like this by Dr Octopus (way back in the classic #33 of his original Amazing series) and he got out of that without the fate of a daughter to worry about. (He omits to mention that he had dying Aunt May to save.) He also that he fired a Spider-Tracer at Rachel when Deathweb kidnapped her last issue. If it's still attached they can find her. This spurs Julia to a supreme effort and with 1 bound they are free.

At the Hollywood Bowl Candidate Michael Galvan gives 1 of his law & order speeches. He fully expects the LA police will protect him from Deathweb. And that they will solve the murders (in #84) of the 2 men who supposedly had info about a Candidate's mob connection and prove that they were nothing to do with him.

Backstage Larry Carpenter gets a visit from Spider-Woman. He's angry because she's putting his daughter's life in danger by being here. But then Spider-Man enters with Rachel. Apparently the bad guys had left her locked up alone. Larry still rants that they risked her life by that rescue. But then Spider-Woman unmasks as his ex-wife Julia to prove that they would never have done anything to endanger her daughter.

But this just makes Larry angrier. Julia's unexplainable super-absences had caused her to lose custody of Rachel to him. Now he threatens to legally cut off her access completely. He hustles the crying child away, and Julia can't help feeling he's right.

But then Deathweb appear on stage and Arachne stabs Galvan in the throat with neurotoxin from her wrist stinger. Antro fires acid at a cop ... who turns out to be Living Lightning in disguise. Iron Man jets out of a parked van and Scarlet Witch & Wonder Man appear too. They'd all been alerted by the Spider-Duo that Rachel was safe, and those 2 join the fight too.

SpM swing-kicks Arachne. Lightning electroshocks Antro. IM and WM pile on Therak. Arachne covers Wondy with neurotoxin web but his ionic body shrugs it off. SpW takes out her anger on Arachne. Antro teleports the Deathweb 3 away but Wanda's hex causes them to reappear at a spot she chooses, and IM, LL, SpM and SpW all zap them at the same time. And they all fall down.

Then Julia Carpenter dashes off to find Larry and Rachel, leaving the others somewhat confused. Deathweb originally (#84) killed 2 people who threatened to expose the mob connection of 1 of the Presidential Candidates. The AWC had suspected the Liberty Party's Michael Galvan was the mobster and behind the murders. But now Deathweb have killed *him*.

Then Galvan's pick for Vice-President, Wilson Lambert, steps up to the microphone and swears to continue Galvan's fight for law & order.

Meanwhile Larry and Rachel are accosted by Manipulator in the parking lot. Rachel recognises him as Deathweb's boss. He tries to take her but her father intervenes. As he struggles with the villain Manipulator gives him a heart attack (as he somehow paralysed Clemson's vocal cords last issue). Then Spider-Woman arrives and confronts Manipulator. Spider-Man is right behind her and keeps Rachel safe. But the bad guy throws a flash bomb and disappears. (SpM is reminded of his old foe Mysterio.)

While SpM calls for an ambulance Julia tends to Larry. Her husband says he's known for months that his heart was weak. That was why he's been working so hard, desperate to make big money for Rachel's future. Maybe they both misunderstood each other. Then he dies.

Back in the Bowl Lambert tries to whip the audience up by suggesting the assassins should be speedily executed ... and tells the Avengers to do it now. But Deathweb claim that they were ordered to kill Galvan but spare Lambert, and they wonder why. And as he sees doubt in the audience Lambert loses the thread of his rhetoric and the crowd start to leave.

The Avengers wonder if the plan was that eloquent and passionate Galvan would pave the way to the White House and then the mob's man Lambert would be carried in on the wave. (But surely it would have been better to make sure by killing Galvan *after* became Pres and let Veep Lambert inherit?) But they conclude they'll never know.

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, 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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