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West Coast Avengers #2: Review

Oct 1984
Roger Stern, Bob Hall

Story Name:

Blanking out

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

West Coast Avengers #2 Review by (June 13, 2016)
The team has worked with Iron Man in his Annual #7 since their 1st issue. Iron Man's own chronology since last issue is larger, but I described it in last issue's comments.

Hawkeye was originally 1 of Iron Man's villains in Tales Of Suspense #57,60,64. But he wasn't really bad, just led astray by Black Widow (who was a naughty Russian spy in those days). He was given a 2nd chance and became an Avenger in Av#16. And now he's running his own Avenging team.

Wonder Man was also previously a villain, in Av#9. But he reformed and 'died' a hero. Then came back in ionic form in Av#151, and has been an on/off Avenger since then.

Obadiah Stane took over Stark International in IM#173 while Tony Stark was in the middle of his drunken phase. Now Stark, Rhodes and the 2 Erwins are creating a new company Cicuits Maximus near Los Angeles.

Hawkeye had a skycycle built for him in Av#233 while he was hampered by a broken leg and used it in #234 (although the Avengers had skycycles or skysleds before that). He liked it so much he kept it in his 1st miniseries even though his leg had healed.

Graviton controls gravity (what else?). He debuted in Av#158-159, then appeared in Marvel Two-In-One Annual #4 and Thor #324. That last time he was sent to another dimension, which is where he's returning from now.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

West Coast Avengers #2 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
4 of the West Coast Avengers are having an outdoor training session. Iron Man pretends to attack Hawkeye, Mockingbird and Tigra with repulsor blasts. Clint Barton attempts to blind their 'foe' with a smoke screen arrow and the 3 scatter. But the Golden Avenger uses infrared vision and picks out Tigra in a tree. But she easily dodges his dive and leaps on his armoured back. She calls for Bobbi Morse who throws her battlestaves to hit Shellhead on his forehead. And Hawkeye fires arrows which gum up his boot jet intakes. And Iron Man falls to the ground.

Clint crows that teamwork can defeat the strongest opponent, as Captain America told him. But IM bets Cap also told him not to count an opponent out too soon.  And repulsor blasts directly to the ground cause a mini-quake which knocks the others off their feet.

Hawkeye reminds Iron Man how they used to really be enemies in the early days. IM hesitantly agrees, and James Rhodes wonders if he should tell them he's a recent replacement on the job. But he enjoyed being part of a team during Secret Wars and doesn't want to jeopardise that by admitting he's an amateur. Meanwhile Tigra reflects that if he'd wanted to Shellhead could have beaten them hands down - more evidence that she's not worthy of her place on the team. And his wife Mockingbird dusts down their leader Clint's bruised backside and ego.

Wonder Man is the only team member not present. He's at home packing to move to the Avengers Compound. When a fellow Hollywood stuntman Freddy pops round to help he finds Simon Williams emptying his house an unusual way. It's a (rented) pre-fab and he's pulled off 1 side to get his stuff out.  Now the strong guy puts the wall back in place and hammers the nails back in with his fist.

Simon packs everything in a huge crate and explains that he's going to use his belt-jets to carry it to the destination. But he runs out of nails to fasten the crate up, and the pair head into town to buy some more. On the way he tells Freddy he really missed being an Avenger, but he intends to try keeping up his stuntwork too.

When they get there they find that the bank is being robbed. Inside a grey silhouette figure has stolen some money, and a security guard's bullets just bounce off him. A bystander says he looks like a blank, and the robber happily accepts the name The Blank.

Simon Williams confronts him as he leaves the building. The Blank tries to shoot him, only to find that bullets bounce of him too. And 1 blow of Simon's fist sends the villain back into the bank, which is now empty of customers. Simon grabs the guy and tries to push him into the open bank vault. But during the scuffle his glasses fall off, and the bank staff are frightened by the sight of his ionic eyes.

Then the robber slips out of his grasp and escapes out of the building. Simon follows but he's nowhere to be seen. As the police arrive an inconspicuous man slips away in the crowd - with the stolen money.

At home he remembers how it all begun a few months ago. He was waiting at a bus stop with an angry older man who said he worked at R&D for Stark International. But things weren't the same since Obadiah Stane took over (eg they took away his company car). So he walked out with his latest discovery in a bag and he's going to patent it for himself. He couldn't be bothered to wait for a bus (which was already late). Still complaining he walked out into traffic and got knocked over. And our guy walked off with the bag.

It's taken him the few months since then to figure out what the invention did. It is a belt which creates a forcefield which hides him from view and is also slippery to grasp, and a device to charge it up. He recharges the belt and heads out to pull another heist. He doesn't notice a nebulous figure emanating from the charger saying that it needs more power.

Wonder Man tells the WCA what happened, and wants to get the Blank to boost his tarnished rep. The 5 of them divide Los Angeles County up to search. Tigra takes Chinatown. Iron Man patrols the Santa Monica Mountains. Hawkeye flies his skycycle over Marina Del Rey. Mockingbird drives the freeways listening to police radio. Wondie takes some binoculars to the top of City Hall.

In Inglewood the Blank holds up an armoured car as it makes a pickup. The van drives off but Blank wounds the 2nd guard before he can close the back doors, and he leaps inside. The driver calls the police, and Bobbi Morse hears the police alert. Blank grabs what money sacks he can and leaps out of the speeding van. His forcefield protects him as he hits the ground.

But then he sees MB driving her sports car at him. Running away he's confronted by Clint on the skycycle. A blast arrow makes him drop the money. Then a beam of light from Iron Man's chestplate picks him out.

Blank isn't ready to fight Avengers, especially Iron Man whose tech savvy might find a way through the forcefield. So instead he runs full tilt into a nearby gas pump, breaking it open and spreading a pool of petrol. A random spark sets it alight and then causes an explosion. The Avengers are too busy dealing with this to stop the bad guy escaping. Hawkeye and Mockingbird get the gas station attendants to safety while Shellhead dumps a truckful of sand from a nearby building site onto the fire.

Wonder Man arrives too late, carrying Tigra.

Blank gets home and swears to leave town with the money from the earlier bank robbery. But 1st he powers the belt up again just in case. And the ghostly figure appears again. But this time it materialises fully. Blank thinks it's another Avenger after him, but the other denies this.

He says he's been without food for months, so Blank makes him some soup. Then the new arrival promises to help him against the Avengers. He has the power to oppose them. Making his cup of soup hover in mid air he announces himself as Graviton.


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> West Coast Avengers: Book info and issue index

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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)

Plus: Graviton.