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West Coast Avengers #1: Review

Sep 1984
Roger Stern, Bob Hall

Story Name:

Avengers assemble

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

West Coast Avengers #1 Review by (May 9, 2016)
This is an issue without a villain but still designed to introduce us to the team-members and demonstrate their abilities

Vision announced the intention to form the spin-off Avengers in Av#243. He appointed Hawkeye as leader. And said the extra manpower would be needed to fight the Dire Wraiths which the Government had become aware of via events in the Rom series. But the Avengers wind up fighting the DWs in #244-245 while Clint and Bobbi are still trying to find a suitable HQ. A flashback in #100 of this series will show the duo locating this place, owned by an old film star. And in Av#246 Hawkeye rang Wasp to tell her they'd almost finished remodelling the place. Vision doesn't ring back here until his team have finished an adventure with the Eternals in #246-248. (But both teams of Avengers *will* fight the Wraiths in Rom #65-66.)

Jessica Drew was the original Spider-Woman who recently lost her comic with #50, and then lost her powers in Av#241. She's been a Private Investigator since SpW#38.
Jessica met Lindsay McCabe in #14 and they shared an apartment from #35. Lindsay soon figured out that Jessica was Spider-Woman. She joined the PI firm in #45.
Tigra met SpW in the last 2 issues #49-50, which ended with Jessica's soul separated from her body. Tigra contacted the Avengers who sent Captain Marvel, Scarlet Witch, She-Hulk, Starfox and Wasp in Av#240. They in turn brought in Dr Strange and Henry Pym who successfully rescued SpW from Morgan Le Fey in #241, but at the cost of her powers. Now she's continuing as a non-powered PI.

Tigra had previously been an Avenger in their #211-216. Her main claim to fame there was convincing Molecule Man to turn away from evil. But she left the team feeling outclassed.
Since then she appeared with everyone else in Contest Of Champions and the celebration of Hulk's amnesty in his #279. She starred with She-Hulk, Storm and Wasp in Graphic Novel #16 The Aladdin Effect and then was the co-star in Marvel Team-Up #125. Then came the SpW story.

Wonder Man has been concentrating on his Hollywood career (such as it is). But he found time to join ex-Avengers Beast, Black Panther and Black Widow with Hawkeye and Mockingbird on the David Letterman show in Av#239 while the real team was busy saving Spider-Woman. He and Beast attended a high-society do with Wasp in Power Man & Iron Fist #110. He had his own Special with guest stars and an alien invasion. Then he rejoined buddy Beast with Dazzler for #1 of their Beauty & the Beast mini-series.

As it says here Iron Man (James Rhodes) has recently moved to California with Tony Stark and Clytemnestra and Morley Erwin. They intend to set up their own hi-tech firm. This all happened in IM#183-185 (while they were also fighting Zodiac).
The only Avengers who know Iron Man is no longer Tony Stark are Captain America and Wasp (as of Av#232). Hawkeye doesn't know about the change, nor does he know either true identity. Tigra however *did* discover Tony Stark's secret identity in #216, but she too doesn't know IM is no longer him.

We 1st met Shroud in Super-Villain Team-Up #5-13 working against Dr Doom. Cap's report on him as a hero presumably dates from when they met in SVTU#11-12.
He was helped by Spider-Woman in her #13-15 against the Cult of Kali (who originally blinded him and gave him his mystic powers).
He had his own backup tale in Marvel Preview #21, which is where he became a fake crimelord and gained associates Cat and Mouse.
The 3 of them ran Cat's Jazz Club in MTU#93-94, where Shroud and Werewolf By Night teamed with Spider-Man against WBN's foe Tatterdemalion and Cult of Kali member Dansen Macabre.
After the obligatory app in CoC he joined in the effort to save SpW in her #50 and Av#240-241, which is where he met Tigra.

The team plus Shroud are on the cover, but the rest of the cover stars never show up inside. Ant-Man, Black Widow, Cyclops, Doc Samson, Hercules, Puck, Quicksilver, Red Wolf, Rom and Sub-Mariner are easily recognisable, and I'd guess the honey-blonde is Julia Carpenter the new Spider-Woman from Secret Wars I (who will join the team eventually).

In Dr Strange (1974) #67 Doc will check up on Jessica Drew and find her working a case with Shroud (before he himself works a different case with PI's Blade, Frank Drake and Hannibal King from Tomb of Dracula).
The X-Men come to stay with Jessica and Lindsay McCabe in Uncanny XM #203. The pair get a bigger part in #206 where the X-Men have to fight the new government team Freedom Force including the new Spider-Woman.
Then the PI duo will get a long-running stint in Madripoor with Wolverine/Patch starting from #1 of his ongoing series.

After DS#67 Shroud gets help from the WCA against Graviton in #3-4 of this mini-series.

Vision will cameo in Iron Man Annual #7. Then his Avengers team will have to cope with Surtur and an Asgardian winter in Av#249 and Thor #350-353 just before Vizh cameos again in our #4.

Iron Man has his own stuff to deal with before #2. He does the team-up with Spidey in MTU#145, then faces some new villains Vibro and the Brothers Grimm in IM#186-188 while his amigos set up the Circuits Maximus tech company. He helps Tony Stark deal with The Pride and the Serpent Society in IM: Legacy #8-10. The WCA help *him* in IM Annual #7 against the new villainous Goliath (Erik Josten who used to be Power Man). Then he cameos in an epilogue to IM:Leg#11.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

West Coast Avengers #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Hawkeye and his wife Mockingbird survey the compound near Los Angeles that will be the HQ of their new West Coast Avengers team - when they have some more team-mates that is. Bobbi Morse maybe-Barton (there seem to be conflicting opinions as to whether she added Clint Barton's surname when they married) is more concerned that her non-super abilities don't rate her for Avengers status. Clint points bout that he and Captain America aren't 'super'-heroes either. And she's had SHIELD combat training.

They contact the New York Avengers Mansion and Jarvis hands them over to Vision who's sorry to have missed their earlier call (Av#246). They discuss the state-of-the-art tech that has been installed in the compound.  And Vizh says he's going to contact some possible team-members that they should be hearing from soon.

1st-off we look in on Tigra who's been helping Jessica Drew and Lindsay McCabe with their detective agency in San Francisco. Jessica offers her a permanent job. But Tigra gets a call from Vision who offers her enough money to tempt her to fly to LA even though her previous go at being an Avenger didn't pan out so well. She doesn't explain to Jessica before leaving, but asks her to keep the job offer open. Jess is worried for her friend and rings someone in LA to keep an eye on her.

Next we turn our attention to the Mojave desert where Simon Williams is pursuing his career as a movie stuntman. His invulnerable body means they can do real fatal stunts. He too gets a call from Vision asking him to attend a meeting at the LA compound. He's only too glad to change to Wonder Man and head out.

Iron Man (James Rhodes) is flying over the Stanford Linear Accelerator, thinking how things are looking up since he, sober Tony Stark and the Erwin siblings moved to California, when he also gets a call from Vision.

He gets to the compound just as Tigra's taxi draws up. She greets him like a friend but Rhodey doesn't know her. Until she sheds her hat and coat and then he can easily guess who she is. Hawkeye greets them and takes them inside. Not noticing a black-cloaked figure who has stealthily bypassed their security system.

The real Avengers HQ lies beneath the above-ground living area. When Hawkeye has shown them around and introduced Mockingbird the newcomers both have 1 question - what's it got to do with them? His answer is something I think he would have explained earlier.

The New York team want to continue to keep their active membership number low to avoid a confusing mob getting in each other's way. But their new chairman Vision came up with a solution. Create a new team on the west coast to share the burden but work independently - divide the US between them down the Rockies.

Clint is expecting Wonder Man to arrive soon. That will just leave 1 space free in a desired team of 6.

At this point Tigra objects that Vision never said anything about this. She doesn't want to be an Avenger. She was an Avenger briefly, and quit because she wasn't good enough. She has neither the power nor the experience of someone like Iron Man. Jim Rhodes is just about to explain that he isn't that Iron Man when an alarm goes off.

Hawkeye examines the security system and thinks they've been invaded by a crack team of infiltrators who've disabled many sensors and cameras. But he manages to catch 'them' on an infrared scanner and finds just 1 figure. They 'see' him evade and destroy a security weapon and then blank out the infrared camera too.

Hawkeye splits the 'team' to find the intruder.

Mockingbird runs into the intruder as he exudes darkness to hide in. But she hears where he is and almost hits him with a thrown battlestave. He stuns her with a nerve pinch as she does get him with her other stave.

Hawkeye enters at this point and fires a flare arrow to illuminate the darkness. But the darkness just swallows it. He follows with a sonic arrow, and the darkness melts away. But there's only Bobbi there asking him to please turn the noise off.

Tigra runs across some of the darkness, and recognises it. She calls out to the Shroud but gets no answer.

Iron Man isn't fazed by the darkness as his radar picks out the foe. Shroud only just gets away from him. He belatedly realises he's fighting Avengers, and escapes through a window. Only to be caught by Wonder Man who's just got here. (Captions explain that Shroud didn't detect the speeding hero as he's blind, and his mystic senses only work up to 100 ft. Meanwhile WM attacked on sight because he'd heard about an LA crimelord who dressed like this called Shroud.)

Tigra stops the fight by claiming Shroud as a friend. He explains how Jessica Drew asked him to keep an eye on Tigra in case she got into trouble. And Hawkeye checks a report on Shroud by Captain America which says he's a good guy.

Now that they're all friends Hawkeye offers Shroud the last place on the team but he declines. He says he's created a niche as a fake crime boss which enables him to strike at the real villains. But he offers his aid when needed if they contact him via Cat's Jazz Club.

When Shroud's gone Simon asks why the Vision sent him here. And Clint has to go through his explanation all over again.



Bob Hall
Brett Breeding
Juliana Ferriter
Bob Hall (Cover Penciler)
Brett Breeding (Cover Inker)


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)



> West Coast Avengers: Book info and issue index

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