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West Coast Avengers #4: Review

Dec 1984
Roger Stern, Bob Hall

Story Name:


Review & Comments

4 stars

West Coast Avengers #4 Review by (June 13, 2016)
Madame Masque of course isn't really in this issue. She's an Iron Man character who has been both villain and Tony Stark's love-interest, sometimes both at the same time. She and her father Count Nefaria were both sometimes leaders of the Maggia (Marvel's version of the Mafia). She was last seen in IM#116 when she swore revenge for Nefaria's death, and then returned to villainy and the Maggia as seen in a flashback in IM#139. (She appeared to appear in IM#138-139 itself but this will be later ascribed to a bioduplicate for reasons to complicated to go into here.)

Shroud will continue to appear sporadically. He'll help the Avengers in Av#276 during an extended attack by the Masters of Evil. He'll lead a new group called Night Shift in Captain America #330-331. He and his team will co-star with Moon Knight in a story in Solo Avengers #3. All before returning to WCA's ongoing series #29, where Moon Knight will be a member of the Avenger team.

Graviton will be part of the evil crowd in Secret Wars II #7, before leading his own team against WCA in #12-13 of the ongoing series.

The members of the WCA have a busy time, both individually and as a group, before the 1st issue of their ongoing series. I'm going to cover the 1st half of the period here and leave the rest as a look-back from WCA v2 #1. (This is partly because there's a continuity problem in the 2nd half which I hope to have sorted out before then.)

1st Hawkeye rushes to New York for Captain America #301 where Cap is dying of old age after the story arc which saw the death of Red Skull for the same reason. Then the WCA join forces with the East Coast team to fight Maelstrom in Av#250. Iron Man will then do his #189-190 vs Termite, with a subplot of Obadiah Stane conspiring with Madame Masque (a bioduplicate again). The male members of the team make a brief contribution to the action in Marvel GN#17 Revenge of the Living Monolith. Then the team except Iron Man play a peripheral role against Vision's attempt to take over the world's computers in Av#253-254 (where Wonder Man dons a new costume in black with red boots, belt and chest-W). Then everybody piles in against the Dire Wraiths in Rom #65-66, the conclusion to the Wraith War saga. I'll leave it there.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

West Coast Avengers #4 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Last issue Tigra and Wonder Man with Shroud fought Graviton and Blank. Gravy sent Blank, Shroud and Tigra into the ocean. Tigra finds half-drowned Shroud but there's no sign of Blank. She sends out an emergency call and Iron Man comes to their rescue.

Back at Avengers Compound they let Shroud rest to recover. And as Tigra dries out and warms up they plan to go after Graviton and find Simon Williams. Hawkeye wants to talk tactics with fellow old-hand Iron Man. But IM finally has to come clean. He knows nothing about Graviton because he isn't the original Golden Avenger. Clint Barton begins to question his competence, but IM says it was him who blasted a way out of the mountain that Molecule Man buried them under in Secret Wars #4. They shake hands while Mockingbird scopes out the approaches to Graviton's newly-acquired mansion.

Later at that Santa Monica mansion the interrupted party has resumed. Some of the women Graviton has invited are comparing notes on how creepy he is. But they're not going to say anything to his face.

A gunman answers a knock at the door to face someone with a bigger gun, followed by Maggia boss Madame Masque. Graviton welcomes her as a fellow crimelord, and boasts of his gravity power. Masque asks if he's worried about the new local Avengers team. To demonstrate how worried he isn't he shows her Wonder Man drowned in his pool. Her bodyguard Louis looks unduly shocked by the scene. Masque slaps him for showing weakness.

Then Iron Man attacks, but Graviton's forcefield protects him and Masque. Another blast knocks Louis into some bushes. Then Shellhead goes after Graviton's goons. Until Gravvy starts using his power to knock him around.

But in the pool Wonder Man's hand flexes. And in the house a waitress removes her uniform to reveal that of Mockingbird underneath. She calls Hawkeye to initiate phase 2 of their plan. Outside Iron Man is still taking a pasting. But he's taking it. And Graviton starts to feel lightheaded. All his men have passed out due to the sedative Bobbi put in their drinks, but the boss is less affected. And Wondie's fingers dig into the pool floor.

Hawkeye and Mockingbird join the fight. Bobbi hurls her staves at the forcefield and Clint tries to ram it with his skycycle. Graviton hurls him away without realising he's just a dummy. And then 'Louis' reaches out from the bushes to retrieve his bow and arrows. Masque urges Gravvy to focus on the real threat Iron Man.

Meanwhile in the pool Wonder Man is fighting against the ultrastrong gravity field that the villain used to pin him there. The sides of the pool collapse, and Simon struggles out. Startled, Graviton fails to maintain the forcefield around himself and Madame Masque. WM knocks him down, and IM flies off with Masque. The bad guy flies after them. And Mockingbird and still-disguised Hawkeye rush up to tell Simon what's going on.

Gravvy follows Masque's screams to an electricity substation where Iron Man is hooked  up to the power grid. It's a contest of power between the villain and the souped-up hero. But the cable connecting the Golden Avenger to the power source melts. Luckily Graviton seems drained.

Masque runs up to check if he's alright. And then she punches him. Taking off her Masque she turns out to really be Greer Grant. And a touch on her mystic talisman turns her back to the more recognisable Tigra. Graviton erects a shaky forcefield, but it's only just enough to repel IM and WM when they attack together. Mockingbird pilots Hawkeye's skycycle as her now-costumed husband shoots arrows with tranquilliser gas in the heads. And at last their foe collapses.

US Marshals arrive to take Graviton away to a special prison, and the Avengers return home to their barbecue. Hawkeye reports their success to Vision at the New York Avengers Mansion, and gets a message of congratulations in reply. And Tigra and Wonder Man have got over their doubts.

Bob Hall
Brett Breeding
Ken Feduniewicz
Bob Hall (Cover Penciler)
Brett Breeding (Cover Inker)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Franklin Hall)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

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