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Avengers West Coast #99: Review

Oct 1993
Roy Thomas, David Ross

Story Name:

Time to kill

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers West Coast #99 Review by (November 13, 2018)
Some of the Lethal Legion members have been seen before in Marvel (and related) comics in their human forms.
Josef Stalin made some WWII Timely Comics apps starting with Human Torch Comics #5. Modern Marvel added to that Sgt Fury & Howling Commandos #51 and Invaders #32-33 plus a backup tale in Sub-Mariner (1990) Annual #1.
Similarly Himmler had Timely apps beginning in Sub-Mariner Comics #10, but I don't think he's been in modern Marvel comics since then.
Lucrezia Borgia got her life-story told in a tale in Timely's All-True Crime #39.
I don't think Lizzie Borden showed up anywhere before this.

Mephisto, ruler of what he calls Hell, was introduced in Silver Surfer #3. He was previously in this series in #51-52 where he was revealed to be behind Master Pandemonium and the 'children' of Scarlet Witch and Vision. His latest apps were during Infinity Crusade where he helped the heroes for a price, but this time the Devil got tricked.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers West Coast #99 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Last issue U.S. Agent was poisoned and beaten up by Hangman and his Lethal Legion. Now in a coma he sees visions. He's in Renaissance Italy as Lucrezia Borgia poisons her husband Alfonso, and she recognises him as someone she thought she'd killed. Then he sees a Nazi concentration camp, Russian soldiers killing their own people, and 2 people who were hacked to death in their turn-of-the-century American farmhouse.

Then he wakes up in hospital bed surrounded by his fellow West Coast Avengers (Hawkeye, Mockingbird, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Woman and War Machine). They and the doctor comment on how incredible it is he survived what he went through. Even Hawkeye mentions how much it took to finally wear him down, but typically Jack Daniels takes this as an insult that he was defeated at all. The others decide to leave to hunt down his attackers. USA wants to go with them but the doctor forbids it, and team leader Scarlet Witch concurs.

War Machine carries Spider-Woman to the house of Stella Houston who the team met the last time they fought Hangman (Jason Roland) and the Night Shift (#76-79). Julia Carpenter explains to newbie James Rhodes that Stella was a movie actress who was Jason's lover when he was a horror-movie star, but later he sold his soul to Satannish in return for Hangman's power.

They consider it a long-shot that she'll be able to help them, but when they enter the house they see a woman's dead body in the hands of what seems to be an axe-wielding young woman in archaic dress, and the decor of the house similarly old. But then the scene changes and they're in a modern house where Axe Of Violence stands over the body of Stella Houston.

War Machine lunges forward but Axe's axe, replacing 1 hand, proves magical and able to cut his armour. Spider-Woman leaps on her, referring to her as a "latter-day Lizzie Borden". And their foe responds violently "How did you know?!" But she is still able to calmly explain that Hangman wanted Stella dead so she couldn't help them, and Satannish wants the WCA dead - and offers AOV her soul if she helps.

But now Axe cuts her losses and tries to escape. WM blasts her as she hurls a smaller axe she materialised from somewhere. It hits Spi in the shoulder, but not deeply because the villain's throw was spoiled. However AOV does vanish in the confusion.

Meanwhile Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch arrive by quinjet at Jason Roland's dilapidated mansion. Apparently Mockingbird said she had something else to do. Apparently again since Roland's body was never found the house could never be sold. And coming here is another long-shot.

But Hangman has left a welcoming committee - Cyana of the poisonous lips and fingernails. She announces herself as Lucrezia Borgia, and Wanda Maximoff initially sees her in an Italian setting. But then she narrowly dodges Cyana's slashing hand. A hex brings a heavy wooden door down on the blue-skinned woman, and Hawkeye dashes in over it. Witchie thinks Cyana might be dead, but the woman hurls the door and Clint Barton away, saying she died in 1519.

Cyana advances on the Witch but Hawkeye loops an arrow-line around her. But Hangman appears and his noose loops round Clint's neck. The villain then jumps out of a window, not fearing death from the fall, but his rope threatens to break Barton's neck. Except Wanda's hex snaps it in time. As the leader makes sure her team member is OK, Cyana escapes.

It turns out that Mockingbird turned back to the hospital to ask Jack Daniels about the things he said out loud while he was having the opening nightmare. But the only result is that he insists on discharging himself from the hospital and suiting up as US Agent. For some reason (which even she doesn't understand) Bobbi Barton confides in him that she and husband Clint intend to quit the Avengers and start a family.

At that point Coldsteel bursts into the room to start beating on Jack again. Zyklon joins in. MB dons a gas mask to take him on, but suddenly sees herself in a Holocaust gas chamber, and then sees Heinrich Himmler who ordered the use of Zyklon-B gas. USA meanwhile sees Coldsteel as Josef Stalin having suspected enemies tortured and killed.

Coldsteel and Zyklon continue their WWII feud. Mockingbird's gas mask has leaked and Zyklon takes her away unconscious. Coldsteel is about to smash USA's face in when War Machine attacks him. But CS is able push WM away into Wanda Maximoff - and then make a strategic retreat. Hawkeye arrives with Spider-Woman, and the others have to tell him that his wife has been captured. Scarlet Witch comes up with a plan to get her back ...

... Back at the Palos Verdes Compound she uses 1 of her mentor Agatha Harkness' magic books to open a portal to the domain of Satannish where Hangman and the Lethal Legion have taken Mockingbird. Satannish confirms that the Legion are Lizzie Borden, Lucrezia Borgia, Heinrich Himmler and Josef Stalin. The demon then closes the window.

Clint asks Wanda to reopen it. She is willing to comply but can't ask any of them to risk their lives and souls by going through it. But they're all willing to do whatever it takes to save their comrade.

And we see the demon Mephisto vowing to help them.


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> Avengers West Coast: Book info and issue index

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::: click cover to ENLARGE it :::


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.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Hawkeye
Hawkeye

(Clint Barton)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

Plus: Axe Of Violence (Lizzie Borden), Coldsteel (Stalin), Cyana (Lucrezia Borgia), Hangman, Mephisto, Mockingbird (Skrull), Satannish, Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter), U.S. Agent, War Machine (James Rhodes), Zyklon (Himmler).