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Avengers West Coast Annual #7: Review

Aug 1992
Roy Thomas, M.C. Wyman

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Rating:
4 stars

Avengers West Coast Annual #7 Review by (July 18, 2018)
Roy Thomas writes all the stories, #3 and #5 with wife Dann. In the main story John Tartaglione helps Tim Dzon with the inking.

This is part 2 of the Annuals crossover 'Assault on Armour City' in Darkhawk An#1, here and Iron Man An#13. The crossover occurs after the Deathweb story in #84-86 where all the team including Iron Man last appeared. The Marvel Chronology Project puts the extra stories #4 (the 10 villains) and #5 (Living Lightning) between #86 and the Darkhawk Annual.

Spider-Woman's story #3 has to happen before before Larry Carpenter's death in #86, so the MCP put it before #84.

Scarlet Witch's story #2 goes further back and it clears up 2 points.
The 1st is that Agatha Harkness made Wanda Maximoff forget she ever had children after #51-52 where they turned out to be fragments of Mephisto which he reclaimed. But in #71 (if not earlier) Wanda had her memories back. This story says that Miss Harkness changed her mind and restored the memories some time in between (maybe because Wanda without the memories didn't do very well in #53-62 including Atlantis Attacks and Acts of Vengeance).
The 2nd point is that Wanda cut her hair short while she was 'evil' in #55-62, and it continued to be short through #68. But then in #69 it was long again and she was back to wearing her headdress. This story posits that she wore a wig attached to the headdress while her real hair grew back.
Thus this tale occurs some time after #69. (Which is also after she regained her lost hex power in #67 and started wearing her costume again in #68.)
The flashback to Agatha restoring her memories of her children has to be before #71, and in that issue it appears that she's had the memories for a while. The most likely time is before AH left the AWC after #63. But not before then while Wanda was in a coma, deluded or 'evil'.

Clearing things up seems to be a running theme in this crossover. The Darkhawk Annual included a backup which explained what had been going on with the Cabal and the Savage Steel armour. And the main story in the Iron Man Annual will explain why Kearson DeWitt was after Tony Stark in Armour Wars II.

The Hunters are supposedly villains from Darkhawk's earlier issues but I can't find where. And after the Iron Man Annual I don't think they appear again.
The Raiders were employees of Edwin Cord in IM#145, and Iron Man went after them during Armour Wars I in IM#226.
The Seekers (Chain, Grasp & Sonic) also débuted in Iron Man. The CSA sent them after our Spider-Woman in his #214. They later appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #355 & 358 as part of the Round Robin story arc against the Secret Empire which also guest-starred Darkhawk.
I don't think the Raiders show up again after IM An#13, but ex-member David Gomez will be in Punisher (2011) #13.
After the IM An Chain will be back in DH#35-37 as Chain Lightning with Sonic and 2 new members Fireball and Laserworks to replace Grasp, who will rejoin all of them in ASM: Friends & Enemies #2.

Prof Anthony Power will continue his vendetta against Prof X by going after the original X-Men next in Spectacular SM #197-199.

Iron Man won't be in our #87-92 because Tony Stark is 'dead' in his #284-290. James Rhodes will wear the War Machine armour in those IM issues but will only show up in our #89 where the team reject his offer to join them because he won't tell them who he is.

The rest of the AWC go straight into their own issues after the IM An. But within #87 they hear about Tony's death in IM#284. Then Hawkeye and Lightning, with Dr Pym and Wasp, go to IM#285-286 to investigate the new War Machine/Iron Man while the rest of the team go to Canada in #87-88 to fight the Bogatyri with Wolverine. Then War Machine pays his return visit in #89.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers West Coast Annual #7 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Continued from DARKHAWK ANNUAL #1.

We start with a repeat of the last scene of that issue. Iron Man in New York with Darkhawk in the background contacts the West Coast Avengers with a summary of the events in that Annual. He says Savage Steel has been captured but so has James Rhodes by some bad guys. He wants Scarlet Witch and Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter) to come to help investigate where the Savage Steel armour came from. And he wants the others to protect Stark Enterprises in Los Angeles.

This recap omits 2 salient facts. Rhodey had got a message to Tony Stark saying SE would be attacked. Iron Man had attacked Steel *and* Darkhawk to see if they were using stolen Stark tech. Darkhawk's armour isn't Stark (because it's alien). But the Savage Steel armour was based on Stane 'designs' when Obadiah Stane took over Stark International.

After the call is over Wonder Man wonders whether Tony's giving in to the obsession that led to Stark Wars (otherwise known as Armour Wars I). Hawkeye has to agree. But Living Lightning and Spider-Woman weren't around then and they incline to trust their Chairman. Scarlet Witch keeps quiet and U.S. Agent didn't respond to their summons. Simon Williams leaves him a message to join them at SE, and 2 quinjets leave for their respective destinations.

US Agent is still on a rooftop in LA where we saw him in the DH Annual. He was watching a drug factory when Lou, his liaison with the Commission on Superhuman Affairs, came to him with a job. The CSA want him to find the stolen Iron Monger armour (that Stane used in IM#200), and do it on the quiet - even the WCA mustn't know. USA isn't happy about his treatment by his previous CSA contact Mike Clemson, but Lou says the Deathweb incident (#84-86) revealed that Clemson was a rogue agent working for someone else.

The conversation is interrupted when the drug gang attack. A bullet grazes Lou on the shoulder but USA quickly subdues 6 of the assailants. However a 7th garottes him from behind and 1 of the 6 gets up to hit him. So the Agent flips #7 over his head and the 2 gangers crack heads. Lou agrees a fee for the job with John Walker and USA leaps off leaving him to get the drug gang into custody. (We won't see USA's mission until Iron Man Annual #13.)

Darkhawk and Iron Man have flown to Kansas City. DH fends off IM's questions because he doesn't want to admit Chris Powell's only in high-school and he doesn't know where the Darkhawk armour came from. Instead he discusses the interrogation of Arthur Vale, who was wearing the Steel suit. Vale told them that the armour came from Professor Power. (But he only heard this on the grapevine because he himself wasn't part of the Cabal which originally used the suit.)

Iron Man tells Darkhawk about the Prof, a right-wing extremist who believed that the only way to achieve World peace was for the US to conquer it, and the only way that would happen was if he took over the US. Various agents of his appeared in issues of Captain America and Defenders culminating in an attempted psionic attack on the USSR in CA#268 & Def#106.

In his 1st actual appearance in Marvel Team-Up #117-118 he changed tack and tried to force Prof X to bring his son Matthew out of a coma. But the result was Matthew's mind being totally destroyed. Power had his own mind transferred into Matthew's brain and adopted a battle-suit, and started a personal war against X-characters.

In CA#338 'Matthew Power' was beaten to death by the substitute Cap. (It is unclear whether Tony Stark knows that this substitute was John Walker/USA.) Vale told them that Prof Power's mind returned to his own body when his son's body died.

Now Power is interrogating Rhodey with the help of 3 bruisers. The victim is refusing to tell them more than that he is James Rhodes and works for Tony Stark. (Surely that info itself is meaningful.) Jim manages to down 2 goons and makes a break for the door but they pile on him.

Up above Iron Man is stopping impetuous Darkhawk from rushing in. The quinjet arrives with the 2 female Avengers. DH wonders why IM needs their help. IM tells DH he himself is going solo, the other 2 are to help the newbie.

Inside there is an R&D site with a production line just about to produce their 1st Iron Monger knock-offs. Then Darkhawk knocks a hole in the outer wall and enters with Scarlet Witch and Spider-Woman. Robot Mek-Men spring to the defence (they look something like Mandroids). Wanda Maximoff destroys the nearly-completed Iron Mongers with a hex and then joins the other 2 battling the robots. This draws all the other Mek-Men in the place to the fight.

That was the plan as Iron Man stealthily enters the other side of the plant. While the battle continues he finds the control room and hacks into the system. He downloads all the information and sends it to the Stark Enterprises mainframe for later analysis. But he has been able to uncover the use of his own technology here (apart from Stane's Iron Monger?). And he's decrypted something else which shocks him. Also he injects a virus into the system which will trash all their data. Then 2 Mek-Men find him but he makes short work of them.

Power learns that the Avengers are wrecking his factory. He decides to get revenge by killing Jim Rhodes. He really wants to hurt Captain America, who he blames for his son's death, but Iron Man's friend will have to do. He pulls loose a couple of power cables and prepares to electrocute Rhodey but Iron Man enters in time. Stark overheard his rant and says that the real cause of Matthew Power's death was his dad taking over his body and going on a killing spree. Prof Power isn't ready to accept that analysis.

The minions shoot at IM (totally uselessly), and he stamps on the floor knocking them all down. The other 3 arrive to say that their part is done, and Tony checks on Rhodey. Who is conscious enough to make a joke before falling asleep. Then Stark tells the others he discovered that AIM is involved.

At Stark Enterprises in California the security chief questions why they need 3 Avengers to help defend the place. Then he gets shot by a ray. And the place is invaded by 3 groups of flying armoured foes, which an editorial comment identifies as the Hunters, Raiders and Seekers.

To be concluded in IRON MAN ANNUAL #13.


Story 2: A study in scarlet

Pencils Al Bigley. Inks Mike DeCarlo. Letters Susan Crespi. Colours Paty Cockrum.

Scarlet Witch is practising control of her hex power in the WCA training room but her thoughts keep making her lose concentration. She was trying to avoid depression brought on by memories of her husband Vision having his mind blanked so he forgot all about their love, and their children turning out to be not real. 1 opponent knocks off the long-haired wig which she wears because her hair hasn't grown back since she shortened it when she was 'evil' in #55-62.

But her hex must have been affected by her thoughts because a hole has opened in space and through it she sees the night Vision was taken away (#42). But this time Wanda Maximoff has woken up and foils the kidnapping. The current Wanda realises she's seeing into a parallel timeline.

She sees a fast-forward run throught the recent past, but this time with Vision by her side. Her witch mentor Agatha Harkness discovers that the twin boys cease to exist when Wanda isn't thinking about them. Master Pandemonium takes the boys to his demon dimension where he claims that they are 2 missing pieces of his soul. But Agatha finds the real missing pieces and gets the boys back.

But that isn't exactly what happened in Wanda's past. In #52 it transpired that the twins were part of Mephisto's soul that he had tricked Pandemonium into searching for. But in this alternate world Miss Harkness stopped Mephisto claiming them, and now Vision and Witch can continue to have them as their kids.

Our Wanda remembers that in her reality Agatha removed the memories of the children from her mind to relieve her anguish. But we learn that Miss Harkness later realised this was a mistake and returned those memories.

At this point to view into the other world closes. But Wanda realises that the fact that in at least 1 reality she lived her dream is a source of comfort and strength.


Story 3: Mile high mayhem

Pencils John Dennis. Inks Pam Eklund. Letters John Babcock. Colours Paty Cockrum.

Julia Carpenter has a 1 hour gap between flights in the airport at her old home town Denver. (It's unclear whether she's flying from or to her current home Los Angeles.) She's arranged to meet a college friend Yvonne to catch up.

Yvonne comments that Julia must have been working out and they skirt past her divorce from Larry. Julia says she's thinking of quitting her job, which she can only say is for the United Nations (who the Avengers work for these days). Even though her co-workers are nice she wants spend more time with 8 year old daughter Rachel who Larry has custody of. They swap family photos, and Yvonne is obviously drinking heavily even as she describes her nuclear family and part-time job and her husband's success.

A security guard rushes in and they overhear him tell an air traffic controller on his break about an incoming disaster. Julia makes an excuse to nip off and change into her Spider-Woman costume. (She notes that the plane was far enough away to afford this delay.)

She rushes out onto the runway and spins a lot of layers of extra strong psychic webbing. This stops the plane which was coming down without wheels and only half its engines, but she still has to leap aside at the last second. The plane catches fire so she pulls a door open and provides a web chute for the passengers to escape. Then leaves hurriedly to avoid questions.

Julia returns to her friend claiming the thought of the crashing plane had made her feel sick. She has to hang around in the airport for an extra 2 hours until normal service resumes. Yvonne stays with her and at the last minute admits that she's dying of breast cancer. Julia is left thankful for what she has.


Story 4: Ten little villains ...

Pencils David Ammerman. Inks Brad Vancata. Letters David Sharpe. Colours Sarra Mossoff.

It's raining and the team pass the time listing their 10 worst villains. Hawkeye dismisses Zodiac and Scarlet Witch adds Ultron as being foes of the East Coast team. They should be considering their own villains. Iron Man opines that might make it difficult.

Spider-Woman starts off easy with Dr. Demonicus and his Pacific Overlords (The Overlords are definitely theirs alone, Demonicus not so much.) Living Lightning tentatively adds in Hangman's Night Shift - accepted because Hangman is new and the Night Shift have fought them as much as anybody else.

Wonder Man proposes his brother Grim Reaper (maybe claiming he's a foe of whichever team Simon's on). Scarlet Witch wonders whether *her* brother Quicksilver counts, but he's dismissed because he was suffering a breakdown at the time and he's now a Reserve member of the team. But Wanda Maximoff *does* claim Immortus who originally involved himself with the original Avengers but recently revealed his scheme revolved around herself.

US Agent opts for another shoo-in, Master Pandemonium. Iron Man opts for Quantum and Half-Life. Hawkeye rounds out the list with the Cat-People, Dominus (as much their foe as the X-Men's) and Graviton (just because he was their 1st). Iron Man tries to suggest that the Blank was really their 1st foe, and hasn't been see again.


Story 5: My name is legion

Pencils MC Wyman. Inks Keith Williams. Letters Dave Sharpe. Colours Marie Javins.

Living Lightning, openly known as Miguel Santos, attends the Cinco De Mayo celebrations in LA as a guest. He joins a local politician of the stand and his mother Maria and younger brother José are already there. José claims to be here under protest, but he's just as proud as their mother when he rejoins his pals. Miguel signs an autograph for a little girl named Yolanda among others.

Then he's accosted by a man named Lou Denham with his 2 hulking bodyguards Paolo and Raoul. Denham says he knew Miguel's father when they were both in the Legion of the Living Lightning. Santos tries to play dumb but Denham is sure he knows what he's talking about. The Legion were true US patriots, even though they did try to hit an American army base with a missile until the Hulk wrecked their plans - and their secret base (Tales to Astonish #97-99). Denham wasn't there at the time. He's been back twice, and the 2nd time somebody had caused another explosion.

Denham's now figured out that Miguel got his name and powers from the Legion and their Lightning Machine. He wants Santos to show him how to make more Living Lightnings and then they can continue the task of saving the US from Liberals. Miguel tries to tell him that a fluke accident gave him his power, and it needed the Lightning Machine which is now wrecked. And anyway he's now an Avenger working for change *within* the system.

Lou Denham can't afford to accept that his plan can't work so he doesn't believe Miguel. LL beats off an attack by Paolo but Raoul threatens Mrs Santos with a gun. Lou wants to know the secret. Miguel pretends to give in and tosses a St Christopher medal which he says is magic. But when Denham catches it he yelps in pain because Lightning has made it red hot. Shock causes Raoul to drop his guard and Miguel zaps him freeing his mother.

He then turns to plasma as the 2 goons shoot at him. Electricity zaps them unconscious. But 1 of the bullets grazed Yolanda. She doesn't blame him but he follows the ambulance to the hospital to make sure she's alright.


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> Avengers West Coast Annual: Book info and issue index

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M.C. Wyman
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)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
James Rhodes
James Rhodes

(Rhodey)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

Plus: Chain, Darkhawk, Grasp, Living Lightning (Miguel Santos), Professor Power, Raiders, Savage Steel (Arthur Vale), Seekers, Sonic, Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter), U.S. Agent.