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West Coast Avengers #25: Review

Oct 1987
Steve Englehart, Al Milgrom

Story Name:

The greatest show on Earth

Review & Comments

4 stars

West Coast Avengers #25 Review by (March 13, 2017)
The stuntmen in black and blue aren't really distinguishable. By comics convention black is portrayed with blue highlights. And the blue guy is dark blue with black lowlights. The result is identical - possibly as a jokey comment on the convention.
Note also that Wonder Man's black uniform also has blue highlights (as does his black hair). This convention is the only way to show the definition of muscles, etc. Compare the solid black rendition on the cover.

Arkon is described here as king of Polemachus on a world in an alternate universe/dimension, riding a dinosaur. This also describes the real Arkon, who will turn up to show his displeasure in #31.

Espirita next appears in Avengers Spotlight #24/2 where she learns that her powers didn't come from God but from aliens. This prompts her to revert to her Firebird id. Then she'll be among the large group of Avengers called together in #305, so it appears that she had agreed to be a reserve member. And she'll continue to crop up as such.

Abomination and Tyrannus met in outer space where Tyrannus was a disembodied consciousness (since Hulk #243) and Abomination was a cloud of disintegrated atoms (since Hu#290 - although after that he made an unexplained app in Marvel 1985 #4&6 and was presumably temporarily recreated by Mephisto in Secret Wars II #7). A flashback in Hulk Annual #15 showed how the 2 clouds merged in space to produce the entity here. (Although events in that Annual included Emil Blonsky, the man who originally became Abomination, being separated out as a human body.) The Annual ended with Tyrannus-Abomination in SHIELD custody, from which he has presumably escaped.

The combo will fight Hawkeye in Solo Av #12 and then will be separated in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #23. Tyrannus gets his body back and Emil Blonsky's mind gets put back in the Abomination - the more things change, the more they stay the same. (The process does drive Blonsky mad, but that only lasts for that issue.)

Frenchie (Jean-Paul Duchamp) will rejoin Moon Knight after he leaves the WCA in #41.

Iron Man is busy before next issue. In his #222-224 he fights various foes working for corporate rival Justin Hammer. In between #222 and 223 he clashes again with Sunturion working for Roxxon in his Annual #9, and a Japanese corporate villain in backdated Marvel Super-Heroes (1990) #15. Then in #225 he discovers that Hammer had supplied Stark-tech-based armour to many characters and he begins a storyarc called Stark Wars (which will later be renamed Armour Wars I) in which he destroys/confiscates all that armour.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

West Coast Avengers #25 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The West Coast Avengers have returned from their time-travel adventure in #17-24 and their visit to Death's realm in Annual #2 plus Avengers An#16.

Wonder Man, in the new uniform (black with red bits) he débuted in the Annuals, is flying with his hip jets to fight 3 guys with jet-packs on their backs. They are distinguishable by their red, black and blue outfits. Wondy throws the red-suited guy away and rips the jetpack off the man in black. The blue man fires a missile into WM's solar plexus, but the ionic hero rips it apart and Mr Blue runs away.

Then it's all revealed to be a stunt performance to amuse the crowd waiting for a preview screening of Simon Williams' film Arkon IV: The Goblin Pit where he plays the villain opposite Arnold Schwarzburger's Arkon. Simon lands next to director Dino, publicist Menachim and casting-director Christy who is now his girlfriend. He puts on a red jacket to complete his new look - reminiscent of his older safari-jacket outfit. And Christy likes his new hairstyle (a mullet).

Dino had been worried when Williams went missing in #17-24, and even when he went for a ball game against the East Coast team in Houston (in the Annuals). But he'd be even more worried if new knew where Wonder Man had really been those times.

The audience loves the film especially the villain's red eyes - which aren't fake.

In the WCA Compound Clint and Bobbi Barton are sharing a hot tub. Bobbi is bolstering her husband's ego over the success of the team he's put together. Hawkeye hesitantly probes Mockingbird about her time drugged under Phantom Rider's influence in the Old West. She assures him that they didn't have sex before the crazy guy killed himself. And she hopes he never finds out that she lied about both - because she let PR fall to his death (#23).

Meanwhile Tony Stark goes to Simon Williams' bungalow to deal with the recent rivalry between Iron Man and Wonder Man. But of course he's not there.

Williams is basking in his fans' adoration. Dino tells him he's got Simon's next film lined up, playing an alien opponent to Sylvester Stallone in Rocky V. But Simon says he won't play villains anymore. He suggest a 3 picture deal starring himself as Flash Gordon. And then leaves for an engagement with Christy.

Moon Knight is in his guest bungalow at the Compound. He's decided to accept Hawkeye's offer of a place on the team. He calls in the Moon-Copter and his friend/pilot Frenchie. Marc Spector tells him the decision, and that copter and pilot don't fit his new role. Philosophical Paul Duchamp has been expecting something like this since Marc's lover Marlene Alraune left (MK(1985)#4) - he'll go back to their old mercenary trade.

Back to Wonder Man again. Christy wonders if he'll stay with the WCA now his acting career is taking off. He says he's thinking of moving on to better things in the hero biz to. She's surprised to hear that he gets only a flat salary for that job - at $1000 a week it's pretty good but nowhere near what his movie career gives him. And the on-call demands of superheroing make things difficult for his acting job.

Dr Pym meets up with Espirita in his basement lab. Silver Surfer brought her home from the Collector's spaceship in SS(1987)#3. She relates how the Collector's poison didn't kill her when the other WCA'ers took it to get to Death's realm (Annual #2). She plans to return to her wilderness retreat to contemplate on what this means for God's plan for her.

Henry Pym decides he'd better clear up the situation about the kiss they shared in #21. He's grateful for Bonita's help rebuilding his life from his near-suicide, but he doesn't love her. She says she knows that, just as she accepts that he doesn't share her faith. And just as he is meant to be an Avenger but she isn't. But she promises they will meet again.

Simon and Christy go to the Johnny Carson Show where he is a guest. But as he basks in more applause after it's over he is suddenly attacked by the Abomination. Who claims to be actually Tyrannus trapped in this ugly green body.

Abomination is mainly a Hulk foe but confidant WM thinks he can take him - after all he's fought Hulk too (in Hu#316). But Bomy's blows are punishing, and his leaps are a match for Wondy's jets. Simon winds up with a black eye, lots of bruises and a dented ego. In An#2 he learned that he could still die (from Collector's poison) and Thor beat him with his hammer. Now he wonders if this villain can kill him.

But Simon overcomes his renewed fear of dying. And he wraps Abomination up in electric cables and gives him an immense shock. Now Tyrannus is worried about not being as invulnerable as he thought too. And now Wondy is the 1 who gets in all the blows until greenie is down and out.

Simon Williams is then disappointed that the news cameramen didn't film the fight. They thought it was another stunt and they had enough footage of the earlier 1.

He returns to the compound to talk to Clint Barton. He's been reminded of what real fighting means (and his ego's been taken down a peg or 2), and he'll stay a member of the team for as long as they want him.

Al Milgrom
Mike Machlan
Christie Scheele
Al Milgrom (Cover Penciler)
Mike Machlan (Cover Inker)

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