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West Coast Avengers #2: Review

Nov 1985
Steve Englehart, Al Milgrom

Story Name:


Review & Comments

4.5 stars

West Coast Avengers #2 Review by (September 13, 2016)
Iron Man still pretends to the Avengers here that he's not Tony Stark. Hawkeye and Tigra already know who he is, so he must still be keeping it from Scarlet Witch and Vision.

Since Wonder Man's origin is told from Iron Man's POV he can be excused for not knowing that WM's 'disease' was actually the ionic process that was killing him, and Zemo had a serum which he needed to take weekly to stay alive.

Martha Williams will pop up a few more times in Vision & Scarlet Witch and WCA.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

West Coast Avengers #2 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Continued from VISION & SCARLET WITCH #1.

Hawkeye, Iron Man and Tigra arrive in New Jersey to team-up with Scarlet Witch and Vision. (Mockingbird volunteered to stay behind to guard the base after Tigra refused to.) The meet in the couple's motel because they're still house-hunting.

Clint Barton does a brief résumé of last issue's action:- Ultron-12 and Man-Ape freed Goliath (Erik Josten), captured in Iron Man Annual #7, and kidnapped Wonder Man and visiting Henry Pym. Vision brings the WCA up to speed with Leonia events:- Black Talon and Nekra sent zombies after him (with Wanda as collateral damage). They were working for Grim Reaper and had a body which seemed to be that of Simon Williams. (Simon is of course GR/Eric Williams' brother but he is now Wonder Man, and Vision has a copy of his mind.)

The assembled villains have WM and HP in a forcefield prison. Eric Williams now claims that Wonder Man isn't really Simon - he's an energy being that has replaced him and is desecrating his memory. When he gets hold of Vision then Ultron's computers will compare the minds of both pretenders and extract the pure Simon Williams that is common to both. Black Talon will transfer that brain pattern to the body they have ready and Reaper will have his real brother back.

For his part Ultron will afterwards have his 'son' Vision and his 'father' Henry Pym. And he will destroy them both. So he sets off to retrieve the synthezoid for his ally.

The heroes don't know where to find the villains, so they start with Simon Williams' old factory in Paterson, NJ. Tigra didn't know Simon was a businessman. Iron Man says he's was an inventor but not very good at the business side. Cue the origin of Wonder Man from Avengers #9:-

Williams Manufacturing failed to compete against Stark Industries and Simon was arrested for embezzlement. Enchantress paid his bail and offered him a chance for revenge against Tony Stark, or rather against his bodyguard Iron Man and the Avengers. She took him to the Amazon to her allies Executioner and Baron Zemo who bombarded him with ionic rays which made him superpowerful. WM pretended to fight these Masters Of Evil in order to join the Avengers. Then he claimed to be dying of a rare Amazonian disease. Dr Don Blake (Thor), Henry Pym (Giant-Man) and Tony Stark (Iron Man) failed to find a cure. The next time WM led them against the MOE it was a trap and he turned against them. But then he switched sides and saved them, despite Zemo having an antidote for his ailment. Which he then died of.

Tigra got to know Simon quite well in the WCA mini-series, especially #3. She can accept that he might have been pressured into turning supervillain. But his inherent goodness won out in the end. And she can't believe he'd embezzle from his company.

The Golden, no sorry Red and White, Avenger declines to argue. Instead he takes them to see Simon and Eric's mother, who Tony Stark paid a pension while her son was 'dead'. Vision is taken aback because it never occurred to him Simon's mother would be alive - and in a way she is his mother too.

Mrs Williams invites them in and is perfectly OK about them hunting Eric, especially when she hears that he's kidnapped Simon. She tells them about their early life:-

As boys older Eric was sporty and Simon was a bookworm. But their father Sanford Williams set high standards and believed in corporal punishment. Eric turned to petty crime and kept trying to make Simon join him. Instead Simon buried himself in his studies, became an engineer and took over the firm from his father. When Stark Industries started beating him to government business he called Eric, now in the Maggia, for help. But Eric's strongarm tactics didn't work with defence contracts, so Eric stole money from the company and ran. Simon felt guilty about ruining his father's company, and took the blame.

Tigra's faith is vindicated.

Mrs W then says that Eric moved within the Maggia to Las Vegas until he became Grim Reaper. Hawkeye pounces on that as the next place to look. (He's happy because Vegas is in the WCA's jurisdiction. Strictly he should have called in the East Coast branch of the Avengers to investigate in Jersey.)

Mrs W breaks down and says she just wants her sons back. And Vision calls her mother. He explains about having a copy of Simon's mind. She tells him he's the gentle boy Simon was before things went wrong.

Meanwhile Nekra is cosying up to Eric Williams. She likes the way he hates Vision and Wonder Man, and even Ultron who he's keeping around while he's useful. And the way he shouts at his lackey Man-Ape. But when it becomes clear that he hates him because he's black, albino Nekra points out that she's a black person too. But GR won't accept that she's not the purest white woman he's ever known.

Man-Ape confers with Black Talon (there's a clue in the name) and they plan a mutiny. Hank Pym sees this as a sign they might escape. But WM is starting to panic about dying. He can ignore his problem in the heat of battle, but this time he's had time to dwell on the threat. He's already experienced 'death' back in Av#9 and he dreads facing it again.

It's time for more of his history. Simon wasn't aware when the Avengers buried his body. Nor when Eric dug him up (strangely not amazed at the state of preservation) and as Grim Reaper offered it in Av#106-108 as a new home for Vision's mind. Nor when Black Talon made him a zombie in #151-152. He did return to awareness after that, but his body was no longer human. And in #160 Reaper rejected both him and Vision.

Being made an official Avenger in #194 helped, but he knew he was still afraid. So he took the opportunity in #211 to leave to become an actor to avoid facing death. But the superhero life kept following him, so he came back to join the WCA.

Hank gets exasperated and tries tough love. He tells Simon to face up to his fear, and to the dominance of his older brother. Ignore the WM superpowers and face him as a man.

The Avengers leave Martha Williams who has this day gained a new son and a daughter-in-law. As they fly their quinjet to Vegas Hawkeye contacts Mockingbird to learn all has been quiet at home. But then Ultron smashes through the windshield, and his robots (from last issue) break in through the walls.

To be concluded in VISION & SCARLET WITCH #2.

Al Milgrom
Kim DeMulder
Petra Scotese
Al Milgrom (Cover Penciler)
Al Milgrom (Cover Inker)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

Plus: Grim Reaper (Eric Williams).

> West Coast Avengers: Book info and issue index

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