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Avengers West Coast #89: Review

Dec 1992
Roy Thomas, David Ross

Story Name:

Ultron unbound

Review & Comments

0 stars

Avengers West Coast #89 Review by (August 22, 2018)
Mockingbird turned up in #87 to see husband Hawkeye about their soon-to-be-final divorce.

Wonder Man's jet pack was wrecked in his #3 and he hasn't yet learned how to fly under his own power.
During Operation: Galactic Storm Wonder Man in his #9 survived the explosion of the Nega-Bomb (built by Shi'ar using Kree technology, stolen by Skrulls and used on the Kree). But the energy he absorbed had an effect on his powers making them vary unpredictably between non-existent and hyper-magnified. And when they're high so is he.

Scarlet Witch's problem will turn out in Darkhold #3-7 to be caused by her connection to Chthon (the demon affected her birth on Wundagore Mountain and possessed her in Avengers #186-187). The recent resurfacing of missing pages from Chthon's book of magic the Darkhold has affected her, and the Darkhold Redeemers plus Dr Strange and Agatha Harkness will cure her.

Dr Myron Maclain was introduced in Av#66 as the inventor of a new superstrong metal adamantium, which Ultron-5 promptly stole and used to create Ultron-6. However retcons have established he and adamantium have a longer history than that. This adamantium is primary or true adamantium, but in WWII he accidentally created proto-adamantium (never since duplicated) which was used to make Captain America's round shield (flashback in CA#303). And he must have made true adamantium earlier than Av#66 because it was used to create Wolverine's skeleton and claws.

Vision has been a member of the (East Coast) Avengers since he left this team during the Acts Of Vengeance event. But since their #357 he's been 1 of the many heroes (but none from our bunch) involved in Marvel UK's Mys-Tech Wars limited series.

Iron Man (Rhodey) is here within IM#288 before the epilogue where Living Laser arrives disguised as Tony Stark. Since he became IM again (in the new War Machine armour) in IM#284 he's taken time out to be part of a temporary Excalibur team with Shadowcat, Captain America and Black Panther in Excalibur #59-60. After this issue he'll work with SHIELD in X-Force #20-22 to investigate Cable's old spaceship Graymalkin before finishing off IM#228 and on to #289-290.

Living Lightning starts a part-time involvement with the team from this issue as he attends college.

The team and Vision will continue to fight Ultron in #90-91 where he will build a female robot Alkhema or War Toy based on Mockingbird (as he created Jocasta in Av#162 based on Wasp). During that battle Clint Barton will take Pym particles to become Goliath again. (And we don't know it at the time but in #91 MB is abducted and replaced by a Skrull - a very early move in their Secret Invasion!)

After a Scarlet Witch cameo in Hulk #399 the team will tackle Wonder Man in his #16-18 (with Clint as Hawkeye) about his sometimes over-the-top behaviour (due to his wildly-varying power), which will result in Wondy quitting the team.

Scarlet Witch will have her Darkhold adventure.

Then Spider-Woman will be inducted into Dr Strange's Secret Defenders (a different team for each story arc).

The team without Wonder Man will return for #92 where Clint/Goliath will fight the villain of the same name Erik Josten. And then Tony Stark will turn up alive in IM#290 and our #93.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers West Coast #89 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Since he was captured in #68 Ultron-13 has been held in the Vault supervillain prison in a shell of adamantium. Nothing electronic or mechanical is allowed near him so his guard doesn't wear the usual Guardsmen armour. But this particular guard has brought in a video game to keep himself amused as usual. He finds it slightly strange that he never liked such things before but can't put this 1 down.

Suddenly Ultron's face appears on the video screen. And the real head tells the guard that he's been subliminally controlling him via the game. The Vault scientists hadn't disabled his encephalo-beam as completely as they thought. The screen shows the words "Death to humanity" and the guard hurls it away. But it breaks open and a horde of tiny metal creatures swarm out and attack him. Ultron refers to them as his robo-ticks, or alternatively his bytes as we see they have stripped the flesh from the dead guard's head.

Next they swarm over Ultron's adamantium casing and before long he is free. As he exits the room he is confronted by Guardsmen, many in their armour. But his electromagnetic powers have increased so that he is able to make bits of their armour explode, and for the unarmoured ones he targets their weapons and comms devices. And those who aren't killed outright are easy to dispense with by hand.

Ultron's final rant informs us that his internal molecular rearranger has combined his adamantium body with the shell and the bytes to create the new body of the Ultimate Ultron. After this, model-numbering will be irrelevant.

At the West Coast Avengers Compound the team are having a heated argument - U.S. Agent vs everyone else. They are angry about USA secretly working for the Commission On Superhuman Activities in the Assault On Armour City Annuals crossover. It doesn't seem clear-cut whether he was actually wrong to have a 2nd job while being paid to be an Avenger, even a job for a US Government agency while the Avengers work for the UN. But the AWC have several beefs with the CSA.

Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch and Spider-Woman lead the 'debate'. Hawkeye because he hates the Agent. Spider-Woman because the CSA treated her badly. Wanda Maximoff possibly because she distrusts all Government Agencies after what they did to her husband Vision. Living Lightning, Wonder Man and visiting Reservist Mockingbird let them get on with it.

The argument is interrupted by a security alarm. LL and WM rush off to investigate, closely followed by the others. It's the new Iron Man wearing his black and white War Machine armour. Tony Stark was declared dead in IM#284. Hawkeye and Lightning investigated and tangled with the new IM in IM#285-286. This Iron Man is here to offer his services to the team, when they don't clash with his Stark Industries duties. Hawkeye blusters but agrees on the team's behalf if IM will reveal his identity. IM says he'll think about it and then flies off.

(The new Iron Man is James Rhodes again. I don't know why he's so reluctant to tell them who he is since some of the team were around when he was a founder member (in the initial mini-series) and he (eventually) shared his secret ID then. And none of them are surprised when Hawkeye suggests he's Rhodey after he's left.)

The Hawkeye/USA argument is about to start up again when they get a phone call for Dr Pym. Hawk has fallen into the role of chairman (he *was* the original leader) now that the old Iron Man has 'vacated' the role. So Clint Barton takes it and explains the Hank Pym is no longer a regular member of the team. It's Dr Myron MacLain, the inventor of adamantium, who says he needs the Avengers because he has developed a cheaper and quicker way of making it and he fears bad guys might come after that.

Hawkeye agrees, and sends Mockingbird, Spider-Woman, US Agent and Wonder Man to deal with it. He and Scarlet Witch Witch will stay at base. Lightning is off to start at the University of Southern California. Wanda wonders why Clint sent his soon-to-be-ex wife Bobbi instead of her. Clint replies that he's got some thinking to do.

When the AWC get to MacLain's San Diego lab he apologises and tells them their journey was unnecessary because his process doesn't work. They don't believe him and US Agent demands an explanation but MacLain hurls him away with prodigious strength. Their suspicions now fully aroused the team attack and Wonder Man discovers metal beneath the scientist's 'flesh'. Their combined assault downs the robot. (Mention is made of WM's variable power lately, as seen in his own series #10-16, a side-effect of the Shi'ar Nega-Bomb in the Operation: Galactic Storm event.)

While the other 3 look for the real Dr MacLain Mockingbird examines the robot and discovers it fully simulates a human with metallic organs. The others don't find MacLain but Spider-Woman comes across 2 dead security guards with the flesh stripped from their faces. They decide the robot bears the hallmarks of Ultron.

Scarlet Witch watches Rachel Carpenter playing, and tries not to be reminded of her now non-existent children. (Julia Carpenter/Spider-Woman brought her daughter to live in the Compound after her father died in #86.) USA rings her to report what happened, and that they've learned about Ultron's breakout. At that point Ultron takes over the HQ's computer system to announce his presence. The building's defences attack the mutant and she runs out to warn the staff.

Ultron himself arrives and announces he's upgraded his masterplan. He used to, want to destroy all humanity, but now his goal is to eradicate all life on Earth. Wanda tries to cast a hex but apparently *her* powers are also unreliable. (The Darkhold series will explain why.) She and groundsman Carlos try to get Rachel to safety but the robot kills Carlos who tries to attack him. Ultron tells the Witch he's not interested in killing individual humans as long as they keep out of his way.

Hawkeye now joins them and fires an arrow which magnetically adheres to the robot's neck and then administers an electric shock which temporarily annoys Ultron. To distract them from further assaults on his person he takes control of a small tractor and aims it at fleeing Rachel. Hawkeye stops it with an explosive arrow but now Ultron has removed the electro-arrow and launches his robo-ticks against the 2 Avengers. They don't stand a chance ...

... but then the Vision's superdense body stands in the way.

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)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

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

(John Walker)

Plus: Guardsmen, Iron Man (James Rhodes), Living Lightning (Miguel Santos), Myron MacLain, Rachel Carpenter, Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter).

> Avengers West Coast: Book info and issue index

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