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West Coast Avengers #10: Review

Jul 1986
Steve Englehart, Al Milgrom

Story Name:

The search for the Thing

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

West Coast Avengers #10 Review by (November 14, 2016)
In between p1 and the rest of the issue a lot of stuff happens (based on the Marvel Chronology Project).
The whole team, including Firebird and Thing, get involved in the grand finale of Secret Wars II in #9.
Thing has the last issues of his own series, #33-36. In #33 he learns that the other UCWF wrestlers have been enhanced by the Power Broker and Dr Karl Malus. In #35 his friend Sharon Ventura undergoes the process and becomes the new Ms Marvel, but she avoids getting the addictive drug that PB used to control the others. But in #36 Thing's body mutates (nothing to do with PB) and he flees rather than face Sharon and She-Hulk or anybody else. Which is what's happening in this issue.
Meanwhile the core team are called in with Thor by Captain America to help the Eternals deal with the Deviant Ghaur who's stolen the power of the Dreaming Celestial (buried beneath California's Diablo Mountains). And then Iron Man has his #205-208 where he fights AIM while starting a new company and building a space station. Hawkeye and Mockingbird guest in #206 with WCA's ongoing prisoner Goliath.

Wasp goes into more detail about the supposed limit of 6 members per team. Their antagonistic government liaison Henry Peter Gyrich imposed a limit of 7 members on the (East Coast) Avengers team as a condition of restoring their priority privileges in Av#181. Plus the government got to choose the members. But this restriction was actually eased in #192 when Gyrich's rule was forcibly relaxed. It was really Captain America who reduced the normal team size to 6 in #211.
Then in #258 the Avengers lost their security clearance after Vision tried to take over the world in #253-254. But Jan Van Dyne puts a positive spin on that by saying that if they're no longer an arm of the government then their rules don't apply, so the teams can be any size.

But Hawkeye should actually be kicking himself over this because he should have known that the government restriction was only to 7 members, so he could have inducted both Thing *and* Firebird even without the change of status of the Avengers.

She-Hulk came from New York to LA in Thing #36 because of news reports of Ben being involved in property destruction (presumably during the fighting amongst UCWF wrestlers in #35). Since Secret Wars #9 and its epilogue Av#266, she and the rest of the Fantastic Four have been caught between Annihilus and Blastaar in the Negative Zone in FF#289-290 and been trapped in a fake time-warp in FF#291-292 where Nick Fury thinks he can assassinate Hitler. Then in Marvel Fanfare #37 Reed Richards tried to use Hermione Granger's time-travel method of getting more things done in a day.
After SWII#9 and Av#266 Wasp led the Avengers to intercede in a dispute between Magneto and White Queen over the New Mutants in NM#40, and then another dispute between Kang and Immortus in Av#267-269. In #270 Moonstone incited public feelings against Sub-Mariner as the opening salvo in an upcoming conflict with a new Masters of Evil.

Headlok is a totally new villain. I don't think he is ever given an origin or a reason for what he does.
Griffin was a minor hood who was surgically transformed into a super-villain by the Secret Empire in Amazing Adventures (Beast) #15. By the time he fought Beast with Spider-Man in Marvel Team-Up #38 he had mutated into a more bestial form and become more beast than man in his mind too. He seemed more rational in a group of villains in Champions #7-10, but went solo again against Wonder Man and SM in MTU#78.

The WCA will next be seen in Hulk #320-323 where they will help capture him and reunite him with Bruce Banner. Then Hawkeye and Iron Man attend Iron Fist's funeral in Power Man & IF #125, the final issue of the series, while Henry Pym has a more active scientist-role. (But IF's not really dead, it's an alien imposter.) The IM wanders off to his Annual #8 to team up with X-Factor, while Clint & Bobbi go to New York to testify against Crossfire and team up with Captain America against Armadillo and the Death-Throws in CA#316-317.
Wasp and the Avengers are also in Hu#320-323 and play a larger role in PM&IF#125.
She-Hulk is also in the Hulk issues. The FF see her off in Hu#321. Mr Fantastic does science with Pym in PM&IF#125 before he attends the funeral with wife Sue. And the couple then cameo in IM An#8.

Thing shows up next in FF#296 on Monster Island with Mole Man but the FF persuade him to come back with them. His mutation appears to have abated a lot, but it'll get worse in FF#310.
Meanwhile Ms Marvel goes after Power Broker and Malus. But in CA#330-331 she's been captured (and we later understand raped). After Cap rescues her he brings her to New York where she meets Thing again and joins the FF in FF#306. But in #310 when cosmic rays further mutate Ben they also turn Sharon Ventura into She-Thing whose body then resembles Thing's earliest lump form.

Firebird will return in #17-25 as La Espirita where she will help rescue the team who have been lost in time. And along the way she will discover the story of Carlotta Valdez who she saw in her vision in #8.

Headlok's next app will be Alpha Flight #93-94 guest-starring the FF where he'll turn some members of both teams against the others.
Griffin will be seen next in CA#340 where Steve Rogers as The Captain stops him and others breaking out of the Vault. This is part of Iron Man's Armour Wars.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

West Coast Avengers #10 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The opening page is attached to last issue as the West Coast Avengers congratulate Thing on finally accepting their offer to join the team, ignoring disconsolate Firebird. Hawkeye arranges a press conference for some days later to make a formal announcement.

But the day arrives and Thing doesn't show up. Henry Pym can't contact him at his home or the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation. Clint Barton sends Wonder Man to check at the UCWF and Tigra to look around his home. But she wants to get it over with fast so they can get back to tracking down Master Pandemonium. Hawkeye doesn't like having his priorities questioned. In private Mockingbird calms her husband down. The effects of Greer's added cat personality are making her unpredictable (but the situation should be resolved with the help of the Cat People).

Firebird meets them and says she's really leaving this time. (Things happened the previous 2 times she said that.) Bobbi Barton asks her to stay - she's still working on convincing Clint to make her a team-member. But Bonita Juarez says it's God's will that she take time to think about her life. Hawkeye asks her to call them when she's sorted herself out. And suggests also she investigate the vision she had in #8 (about a woman being shot in the back in California in the 19th Century).

Hank has a report from Simon Williams who says Ben Grimm collapsed during a fight and was taken to hospital. She-Hulk and a new Ms Marvel are there and they say that Thing has smashed out of the hospital and run off (in Thing #36). Hawkeye tells WM to check the airports and Tigra to check bus and train stations. Then he tells the assembled press that he called them here to announce that Thing is missing and the team are searching for him and checking all exits.

Thing, bundled up in a trenchcoat and hat, sees the news at an airport as Wonder Man arrives to ask the staff to be on the lookout. But Simon stops to give an interview about his parallel movie-star career as Ben hurries past him to escape.

The 3 WCA'ers left at HQ contact Mr Fantastic to see if the Fantastic Four have any news of their ex-member. But Reed Richards only knows what She-Hulk has told him. (Jennifer Walters has been Thing's replacement in the FF since Grimm left after Secret Wars I.) And Reed is surprised to hear that Ben intended to join the Avengers.

Next they call the (East Coast) Avengers and get chairman Wasp. She too didn't know that Clint had asked Thing to join. But she also informs him that the Government rule limiting an Avengers team to 6 members no longer applies since the Gov't removed their priority clearance in Av#258. When Jan has switched off Hawkeye realises that his insistence on recruiting Thing rather than Firebird was irrelevant. And now he seems to have neither.

Henry Pym tells them that someone has reported seeing Thing to the north of Zuma Beach. And that WM has finished his round of the airports. Clint decides they should follow this up, and Hank should tell Simon and Tigra to join them.

Tigra gets the message as she finishes her task too. But she brushes past the disguised Ben as she rushes to her sky-cycle. On the way to Malibu she muses on her determination to kill Master Pandemonium so that the Cat People will remove the cat half of her soul. (The WCA of course don't know about this.)

Grimm tries to buy a ticket to New York but is asked for ID for the WCA. Instead he hails a taxi.

The WCA gather at the beach and find a cloaked figure who they assume called them. But the guy drops his cloak to reveal a costumed skeletal body, and calls himself Headlok. He boasts of his mental power, but instead of attacking them directly he calls on the beast called Griffin who he has under mental control.

Wonder Man thought Griffin was dead after he and Spider-Man fought the beast in Marvel Team-Up #78. But Headlok explains that Griffin had burrowed his way out from under the burning quinjet. Having already turned completely from man to beast by then, he's since been roaming the Adirondacks where the villain found him.

Griffin attacks his old foe WM. Tigra and Iron Man lunge at Headlok and Hawkeye shoots an arrow at his head. But it turns out that the baddie isn't where they see him, due to his mental meddling. But Griffin's attack on Simon was only meant to distract him while Headlok took control of him. And now Wonder Man joins Griffin in attacking the others.

Bobbi suggests the other 3 hold off their attackers while she fights Headlok's mental influence. It's Iron Man vs Wonder Man while Hawkeye and Tigra tackle Griffin. But Greer tells Clint to stop shooting. Griffin is part lion, and she uses her cat nature to calm him down.

Then Mockingbird manages to see where Headlok really is. His surprise at being detected makes him lose contact with Griffin, and Tigra's ploy succeeds. Clint still can't see Headlok where Bobbi points, but he follows his wife as she chases their foe. But then Headlok turns and concentrates his mind on the duo alone. As he feels his mind going Hawkeye triggers a couple of rocket arrows in his quiver, and goes sailing over Headlok's head.

When he recovers from his landing he sees Bobbi standing over a fallen Headlok. But she can't remember doing anything to him. As Griffin and the others join them Thing makes himself known at a distance. It was he who KO'ed the villain who didn't realise he was there.

Ben tells them he's got to go away, and for the sake of their friendship they must let him go. Reluctantly Hawkeye wishes him luck.


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Al Milgrom
Joe Sinnott
Ken Feduniewicz
Al Milgrom (Cover Penciler)
Joe Sinnott (Cover Inker)


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)
She-Hulk
She-Hulk

(Jennifer Walters)
Spider-Man
Spider-Man

(Peter Parker)
Thing
Thing

(Ben Grimm)