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Avengers West Coast #87: Review

Oct 1992
Roy Thomas, David Ross

Story Name:

Peace dividend

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers West Coast #87 Review by (June 10, 2023)
Roy Thomas continues to write this title with his wife Dann.

This is part 1 of a 2-part story.

The Bogatyri are obviously meant to parallel the Fantastic Four - Dr Volkh/Mr Fantastic, Svyatogor/Thing, Zvezda Dennista/Human Torch and Mikula/Invisible Woman.

The Bogatyr are traditional Russian knights-errant from a similar era to the Knights Of The Round Table. Some Bogatyr had real-life counterparts, others are mythical.

Svyatogor here is based on a mythical version whose name derives from 'sacred mountain' and who was so heavy he sank into the Earth.
Volkh Vseslavyevich was another mythical hero.
Mikula Selyaninovich (Mikula The Villager's Son) was another character with mythic attributes (the unliftable plough sounds like Thor's Mjolnir).
As far as I can tell Zvezda Dennista is completely made up here.

Wolverine has come here straight from Infinity War #6 for a backpacking break.

The West Coast Avengers have just finished the Assault On Armor City crossover between Darkhawk Annual #1, WCA An#7 and Iron Man An#13.
These apps cause a chronology conflict. This issue has plot points that relate back to both #84-86 (Hawkeye and US Agent's injuries and the death of Larry Carpenter) and the crossover (US Agent's relationship with his Commission handler), But that relationship in the crossover also follows from the dismissal of the previous handler Mike Clemson in #84-86. So the sequence has to be #84-86, the crossover and then this issue. But in the crossover Hawkeye and US Agent aren't in hospital as they are here recovering from injuries sustained in #84-86.

Whatever, Scarlet Witch also had a small app between then and now in Hulk #399.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers West Coast #87 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The location is a Distant Early Warning post at Bathurst Inlet on the Arctic coast of Canada which is under attack by Russians from a hovering stealth plane. The only 2 of the DEW's soldiers left have barricaded themselves in the radio room and transmit a Code Red message before an armoured form breaks in and Russian troops kill them. Their costumed leader Dr Volkh says that someone named Mikula can detect no more brain waves, but warns his costumed female companion Zvezda Dennista not to be too confidant. Meanwhile his techs start to modify the base's equipment for DrV's purpose to start a new 'Cold War'.

Hawkeye and U.S. Agent are sharing a hospital room recovering from injuries sustained fighting the spider-based villain group Deathweb (in #85), and as usual they're not getting on well together. West Coast Avengers reserve member Mockingbird has popped over from training the Great Lakes Avengers to see her estranged husband Clint Barton. While they chat USA answers the phone, which is lucky because it's his Commission handler giving him a secret mission to investigate a problem in Canada. This gives him the excuse he needs to quit his bed and don his costume. But before he can leave they get another phone call from Scarlet Witch telling them all to come to the WCA Compound. Bobbi Barton offers to drive them there in her rental car.

It's seasonably warm in the middle of the Summer in Northern Canada as backpacking incognito Wolverine tries to avoid a stalking bear, both of them bothered by mosquitoes. Logan doesn't want to hurt the beast and so tries to warn it off with his adamantium claws. But then someone hits it with flames. He turns to see Zvezda Dennista with her hands still smoking, with the big armoured guy who she calls Svyatogor. She apologises (in English) to the 'American' for her companion only speaking Russian. But she doesn't apologise when he fires a blaster (built in to his right hand). Wolvie avoids the blast and closes in for close combat, declaring himself *Canadian*, but the big guy hurls him away with a punch. Logan springs back to the attack, demanding to know what Russians are doing on NATO soil. Svyatogor fires his gun again but asks Zvezda for help. She flies into the air and turns into a blinding light which enables her comrade to catch Logan by surprise and KO him.

Meanwhile our 3 heroes have joined the WCA to see a news broadcast about Tony Stark being dead after a long illness (see Iron Man #284, but of course he won't stay 'dead' long). Bobbi asks what they'll do now Iron Man's gone. Clint angrily asks her if she's making a play for his vacant slot on the team. Bobbi's taken aback and Clint immediately apologises, saying that he doesn't think badly of her like that anymore. Wanda Maximoff muses that when she and her brother Pietro (Quicksilver) 1st joined the Avengers it was to replace departing members like IM. Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter) is still recovering from the death of her estranged husband Larry (last issue).

USA brusquely says he's got to go. Julia accuses him of still working for the Commission as she used to. Wanda says that Agent knows that would be a violation of their current UN Charter, giving him a meaningful stare. Jack Daniels refuses to tell them what he does on his own time, but takes a WCA quinjet to do it with. Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man agree to tail him in another quinjet. After they leave Julia asks Miguel Santos (Living Lightning) if he's OK. The teen hero replies that these deaths after that of his young sister Lisa (in Annual #6) have made him consider his own mortality, and whether he should continue to be a superhero.

Daniels is flying his quinjet across Canada when his handler contacts him and directs him to the DEW base to investigate stealthily. The occupants of the following quinjet overhear the conversation and now know that US Agent *is* working for US Government's Commission on the side. (But Wonder Man's more worried about the changes that are happening to his ionic body since being caught in the Nega Bomb explosion in his #9 during the Operation Galactic Storm event.)

Daniels lands his jet some way away from the target because Stark's stealth tech wouldn't be safe any closer. He sets off on foot but is spotted by 2 Russian soldiers on a hover-platform. They shoot at him so he knocks them out of the sky with his shield. Intending to interrogate them he accidentally knocks both out. But then a super-guy lifts him telekinetically into the air and dashes him against a rock. USA is still up and running so this time he is raised 100 ft. He throws his shield at the man but it gets deflected by TK to swoop back and hit him in the face. But the Russian comments that he's far stronger than he thought Captain America would be, then he mentally wraps him up in metal wire and drops him in the water - watched by Simon Williams and Wanda in *their* quinjet.

Wolverine wakes to find his hands and feet clamped into metal blocks to keep him secure and contain his claws. Dr Vladimir Volkh introduces himself and declares doom on the entire North American continent. He also explains the he and 3 other super-types are the Bogatyri, named after the Valiant Champions Of Elder Days in Russian folklore. Sasha Polkryshkin was caught in a radiation accident at a secret nuclear power plant which irreparably damaged his lungs and limbs, which is why he wears a respirator and is encased in a metal exoskeleton armour. He also became immensely strong and so is called Svyatogor after the mightiest Slavic hero. Mikula Golubev is a mutant born with mental powers whose parents named him after the Bogatyr Mikula (Selyaninovich) whose small plough could not be lifted by anyone else. Zvezda Dennista, which translates as Morning Star, is young geologist Marya Meshykov who found glowing fragments of the 1908 Tunguska meteorite which gave her flame powers. And Dr Volkh himself was born Vladimir Orekhov, a cosmonaut scientist whose spacecraft passed through a radiation storm.

Dr Volkh assumes that Wolverine isn't here by accident and wants to know if the other X-Men are around too. Logan suggests he get his pet psychic to read his mind. Volkh claims that he and his troop are loyal to the Soviet Union that was and they are here to strike a blow by plunging the whole of North America into a new Ice Age.

Meanwhile Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man have landed. Mikula has gone. Wanda casts a hex which uses magnetism to raise US Agent's metal-shrouded body to the surface of the Inlet and Simon swims out to bring him to shore. Luckily Jack's power enhancements have enabled him to survive. WM remove the metal bindings and USA recovers, as ungrateful as ever.

All the while Volh was spouting Wolverine has been flexing 1 of his hands. Now he's managed to extend his adamantium claws and rip through its metal sheath. He makes quick work of the other restraints and is free, but Dr Volkh seems to have disappeared. But it turns put that he's just flattened himself to cover the floor and now he folds up to enclose Logan who finds that his claws can't pierce the completely flexible flesh. He wraps the X-Man in a rubber arm and then throws him at Wonder Man, the Agent and the Witch who have just entered the room. And he's joined by his fellow Bogatyri.

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


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Clint Barton)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

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

(John Walker)

(James Howlett)

Plus: Dr Volkh, Living Lightning (Miguel Santos), Mikula Golubev, Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter), Svyatogor, Zvezda Dennista (Morning Star).

> Avengers West Coast: Book info and issue index

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