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West Coast Avengers #11: Review

Aug 1986
Steve Englehart, Al Milgrom

Story Name:

Pride of the regiment

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

West Coast Avengers #11 Review by (November 22, 2016)
The Arkon movies are obviously based on Conan. But Arkon is also a Marvel character - a barbarian ruler from another dimension or parallel universe.

Tony Stark helped found SHIELD before Nick Fury was hired to run it in Strange Tales #135. But Marvel's rolling history has made that increasingly difficult to reconcile with their lives. 1st Fury's long life will be explained by the Infinity Formula. Then as they want SHIELD's origin to remain in the 60's or earlier Marvel will say that it was Tony's father Howard who was in on the beginning.
Tony Stark decided to stop manufacturing weapons (for SHIELD or anybody) in Iron Man #59. Rogue SHIELD agents tried to kill him in #117-119, but he discovered also that SHIELD was buying up Stark Industries stock to force him to resume the arms business. He foiled the takeover in #129.(Morse's mole-hunt happened just after that period.)

SHIELD lost the helicarrier in Marvel Graphic Novel #18 (starring She-Hulk) and it isn't seen in Nick Fury's succeeding apps in Fantastic Four #289-292 and IM Annual #8. Indeed She-Hulk mentions its demise in FF#289. Unfortunately the Marvel Chronology Project has NF in Power Man & Iron Fist #121 between MGN#18 and FF#289 with a helicarrier prominently used there.
I don't know what the accusations of SHIELD brutality refer to, but they are often less than observant of human rights. The most recent example being MGN#18 itself where they arrest She-Hulk for the possibility of going on a Hulk rampage, and she is strip-searched by a male Agent.

Only Bobbi's friend/contact seems to know about the SHIELD HQ beneath the hairdresser's - the other staff appear not to be in on the secret. But 1 comments on how such mysterious activity happens often, and remembers hearing about a similar place in New York when she lived there. That would be the barbershop introduced in ST#136, but the whole staff were SHIELD Agents there and the descending chairs were out front - were all the clientèle Agents too?!

Avengers #123 was Monsieur Khruul only actual appearance, but flashbacks related there and in other issues explained how Mantis was the daughter of Khruul's sister and the man who would become Libra, and Swordsman was working for Khruul when he met Mantis. But Khruul was killed in #123 and is never seen again, so maybe his mention here is just part of the fictitious cover story.

The 3 bad guys here all started off as Shang-Chi villains in Master of Kung Fu. Shockwave began in #42, Zaran in #77 and this (not the 1st) Razorfist in #105. After several issues each Zaran branched out into Captain America #302-303 (mentioned here) as part of Batroc's Brigade.
Razorfist will appear in the Wolverine/Madripoor story in Marvel Comics Presents #2-9 and with a group chasing Hawkeye in Av Spotlight #24-25. Zaran will feature in Batroc's Brigade again in another Hawkeye tale in Solo Av #3 and again in the Bloodstone Hunt in CA#357-362. But they'll all 3 meet again as part of the villain crowd in CA#411-413 (where Zaran's still in Batroc's Brigade).

The end of this issue advertises an upcoming SHIELD limited series. But if it's the Nick Fury vs SHIELD series then that's 2 years away. In that series it turns out SHIELD (and Hydra) has been infiltrated by sentient Life Model Decoys called Deltites. The 1st Deltite had got onto SHIELD's ruling council in MGN#18 and from there created others, and hence supposedly SHIELD's current problems.
But Nick will appear many places before then, starting with Comet Man #4-5 and even including a return visit to this series in #27.

After this Iron Man cameos in Daredevil #233 as he, Thor and Captain America are called in to capture Nuke. And then in his own #209 he and Werewolf By Night face Morgan le Fay. With visiting She-Hulk, he and Tigra and Wonder Man investigate a mystery dome in Central City in FF#293, and Tigra's still around when the FF escape the dome in #285.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

West Coast Avengers #11 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Ex-SHIELD Agent Mockingbird is unhappy about the negative news coverage the spy agency has been getting lately. Her contact says Nick Fury's in Los Angeles so she's going to ask him what's going on. She invites Hawkeye and Iron Man to join her. Tony Stark says he and Fury aren't best buds these days since Nick tried to take over Stark International, but on the other hand he was 1 of the founders of SHIELD. He thinks the Avengers' loss of priority clearance (Av#258 as mentioned last issue) will be a problem for Clint Barton but Bobbi says she can get her husband in.

Wonder Man has just finished 300 laps of the pool. He declines to accompany them as he's due at the film studios. And Tigra is going with him. So it's just the 3 of them who turn up at the hairdresser front for the local SHIELD HQ. Bobbi pretends to be an heiress with disguised Clint and Tony as her bodyguards. Her friend Josayne ushers them through to the back.

Josayne comments on Bobbi's short hairstyle which she says she adopted after her long hair got in the way fighting the Werewolf in #5. Clint's not so happy about it. (She has had it short since #6, but it seems to have grown a little ponytail since then.)

All 3 remove their disguises to reveal their costumes underneath (even IM's armour!). They sit in reclining chairs and Josayne pushes the button which sends them down to the basement HQ. Where they are immediately shot at by SHIELD agents. A net arrow and some slick moves solves that problem.

Nick Fury storms in. 1st he compliments his men on doing quite well against super-heroes. Then he bawls them out for not doing better. Iron Man complains about the welcome, but Fury complains about Tony Stark stopping supplying them with hi-tech weapons (when he got out of the arms business).

Mocky reminds Nick of her history with SHIELD. How as Bobbi Morse she was a SHIELD scientist who Fury promoted to a field agent and sent to the Savage Land (Astonishing Tales #6-20, Ka-Zar #3-5 and Savage Tales #8). Then she quit SHIELD and went solo as Huntress to root out moles in the organisation in Marvel Super-Action #1, which she continued as Mockingbird in Marvel Team-Up #95. She was injured in that operation but alerted Fury to the problem. Then she continued solo until she met and married Hawkeye in his mini-series.

Nick is still grateful for what she did, but she's out now and SHIELD's current problems are none of her business. Then Fury gets into a slanging match with Shellhead over Tony Stark. And his boys may sometimes break the rules but they're in a tough business. He doesn't condone their actions but he understands them.

Our 3 leave by a different secret exit. But someone is watching them and makes a call from a phonebox.

Meanwhile Simon Williams is playing the villain on the set of Arkon IV with Arnold Schwarzburger. Tigra rushes over to congratulate him on a good take, but so does an assistant named Christy Carson. Simon is getting comfortable about not hiding his ionic eyes. But Tigra isn't comfortable with competition, so she reappears on the arm of director Dino.

In another meanwhile Henry Pym is researching Master Pandemonium in the LA records. They know he owns the defunct Anvil Studios so Hank is here to look up the registered owner. But he finds the relevant page has been recently burned without affecting the rest of the file, and he smells sulphur. He takes the ashes for analysis.

Back to the main plot. Iron Man is flying alongside the Bartons' sky-cycle talking about stuff when a villain called Shockwave leaps on him and overloads his circuits. Clint and Bobbi follow the falling pair down until they too get leapt on by Razorfist and Zaran.

The Red&Silver Avenger isn't faring well against his opponent. His system's mostly down and he's having to manually swing his fists, so slowly that they're easy to dodge. Shockwave's continual attacks stop him from manually resetting his system, until the villain fuses that control anyway. But IM 'reverses his polarity' so that Shockwave's own energy sends him flying. Then Stark grabs the villain by the throat. SW protests that prolonged contact will kill IM's armour completely, but Tony points out that his armoured hands will still be clamped around his throat, and the dead weight of his armour will be pressing down on the baddie. Who quickly switches off his own suit, and IM nuts him in the faceplate.

Hawkeye's arrows cut Zaran's bo-staff to pieces, and a smoke arrow means he can't see where to throw his shurikens. So he attacks with a 3-section nunchaku. Zaran says the trio got info on their foes from Monsieur Khruul, who Clint remembers as a Vietnamese crime-lord in Av#123. He also says he's recently fought Captain America (CA#302), and Hawkeye wonders if Cap did better than he's doing. Which is pretty good as he whacks the martial artist with his bow.

Mockingbird dodges attacks by Razorfist (who has blades instead of hands), and uses her battlestaves to block other blows. Then she joins the staves together into a telescoping pole and goes on the attack herself. But this is only a distraction until she whips his feet from under him with a sweeping boot. And then knocks RZ out with it after he claims that they are the advance wave for the Blood Tong of Hong Kong.

As Tony Stark tries to get his armour working again Zaran grabs Shockwave and bundles him into a flying car (rather like the ones we've seen SHIELD use). Mockingbird is too slow to stop him, and he flies off repeating the Blood Tong stuff. And when Mocky turns round she finds Razorfist gone as well.

As the trio fly off, with Iron Man hitching a ride on the sky-cycle, they fail to notice a piece of paper that fell out of Shockwave's armour. It says that SHIELD hired them to kill the heroes, and the Blood Tong was only a cover story.


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> West Coast Avengers: Book info and issue index

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


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

Plus: Werewolf, Zaran.