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Avengers West Coast #98: Review

Sep 1993
Roy Thomas, David Ross

Story Name:

Dying to get out

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers West Coast #98 Review by (November 6, 2018)
#96-97 saw the West Coast Avengers in Infinity Crusade. Since then War Machine clashed with Sub-Mariner in #41 of Namor's 1990 series. He was with US Agent in the Avengers: Terminatrix Objective mini-series, and with Hawkeye in a backup tale in Iron Man Annual #14.

Avengers West Coast Annual #8 must occur in a gap between US Agent going off in a sulk and him finding someone to take his frustration out on. In the Annual Wanda Maximoff is the leader. And also Clint Barton has reverted from size-changing Goliath to his Hawkeye the archer role (which he did last issue). But the end of this continuous story in #100 will provide an iron clad reason why the Annual can't happen after that. So I can only place the Annual here. I have to assume that after USA left he may or may not have found some *different* villains to beat up, but he went off again after the Annual for his encounter here. It's not as if he doesn't frequently go off on his own.

Hangman was last seen in #76-79 leading the Night Shift. But his master Satannish took time out in Dr Strange (1988) #49 to appear with loads of other mystic powers to strip Strange of the ability to invoke their names.

The previous identities of this Lethal Legion will be revealed next issue.
But the Legion itself has had various previous incarnations (with totally different members) working for various bosses:-
Grim Reaper organised Man-Ape, Living Laser, Power Man and Swordsman to attack their joint foes the Avengers in Av#78-79, and later used some of them against the West Coast Avengers.
Count Nefaria carried forward Living Laser and Power Man and added Whirlwind in Av#164-166.
And Porcupine (possibly) gathered a large group of villains to attack nearly everybody in Marvel Age Annual #1, justly famous for the introduction of Phone Ranger.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers West Coast #98 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
4 people are reborn in forms they don't recognise but seem to immediately accept. And despite this the 2 males, even encased in metal, remember each other with hate. They are kept apart by the hand of Satannish, the author of their resurrection, who introduces them to the Hangman as his new Lethal Legion:- the males Coldsteel and Zyklon, the females Axe Of Violence and Cyana. All 5 have been promised the return of their souls and lives if they will kill the West Coast Avengers 1-by-1.

Their targets are holding a meeting where Hawkeye announces that he's stepping down as chairman. He and Mockingbird, the original founders of the team, want to spend more time together now that they've patched up their marriage. And when Bobbi Barton was captured by Dr Demonicus (#94-95) Clint was too worried about her to lead properly. Mocky nominates Scarlet Witch as her husband's replacement, which is accepted unanimously. (U.S. Agent thinks it should have been him but joins in when Spider-Woman whispers to him that the alternative might be that his feud-partner Hawkeye stays in the job.)

They go outside to survey the ongoing reconstruction of their Compound after the battle with Ultron (#89-90). We overhear Clint and Bobbi talking about another reason for the resignation - they're trying for a child. Spider-Woman tells War Machine she thought about nominating him, but James Rhodes says being temporary CEO of Stark Enterprises (while Tony Stark was 'dead') has soured him on leadership. Julia Carpenter wishes Rhodey and Tony could rebuild their friendship but Jim says it's gone too far. (He's angry that Stark didn't let him in on the secret that he wasn't really dead in Iron Man #284-289.)

US Agent is fed up that nobody socialises with *him* as usual, and goes off to find some bad guys to beat up. ...

... Some time later (see my Comments) he interrupts some thugs hassling someone for money he owes them. Their knives and guns are no match for his shield and fighting skills. After he's dealt with them he is accosted by a beautiful young woman. But after she has kissed him she transforms into blue-skinned Cyana who reveals that her lips were laced with cyanide, and that she was sent by the Hangman. At that point Jack Daniels stops faking his extreme reaction to the poison (although he *is* affected) and orders her to take him to her leader.

Instead she calls on Coldsteel and Zyklon, regretting that she didn't scratch him with her more potent claws - now she'll have to share the credit for this kill. Metal-bodied Coldsteel' fist breaks USA's ribs. Hovering armoured Zyklon fires deadly gas at him. Cyana tries to get in a scratch but Daniels grabs her wrist and throws her at Coldsteel. And he escapes under cover of the gas cloud.

Jack reluctantly decides to call in the WCA but his communicard is broken. Knowing that the poison is making it's way to his heart he starts to hotwire a car. But a rope pulls the motor out through the hood, and then it's noose yanks him out of the vehicle to face Hangman and Axe Of Violence (with an axe replacing 1 hand). The other 3 join them, so USA uses his shield to bring a wall down on them. But Zyklon flies above it and gases him again. Axe's axe rips a gash in his bulletproof costume, and Cyana's fingernails apply more cyanide to the exposed flesh. Coldsteel's fists pound him down, and the last blow is to the back of his head.

It is at this point that a quinjet arrives, with War Machine flying point under his own power. But Hangman doesn't want to fight the Avengers all at once, so he triggers an explosion in a nearby building to give the heroes something else to deal with. And they flee in their own flying craft.

While Hawkeye and WM put out some fires the 3 female WCA'ers tend to their badly-beaten teammate, who we are left thinking is dead.

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)
War Machine
War Machine

(James Rhodes)

Plus: Axe Of Violence (Lizzie Borden), Coldsteel (Stalin), Cyana (Lucrezia Borgia), Hangman, Mockingbird (Skrull), Satannish, Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter), Zyklon (Himmler).

> Avengers West Coast: Book info and issue index

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