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West Coast Avengers #3: Review

Dec 1985
Steve Englehart, Al Milgrom

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Review & Comments

4 stars

West Coast Avengers #3 Review by (September 26, 2016)
Vision and Scarlet Witch return to their own limited series where they will conceive and give birth to twins (with lots of other stuff happening in the background). They will continue on their own path but play a minor role in WCA Annual #1 and cameo in #30. But they *will* join the team later in #37 after being dragged into their affairs in #33-36.

The guy in the sports car mentions a local black superhero, presumably Giant-Man. Bill Foster was already a non-super character working with Henry Pym since Avengers #32 but he move to Los Angeles and used Pym Particles to become Black Goliath in Power Man #24-25 and his own mini-series. During several apps since then he changed his supername to Giant-man in Marvel Two-In-One #54

Kraven's robbery contradicts his raison d'etre - hunting superhumans, mainly Spider-Man, for sport. We met him in Amazing SM #15, he was part of the Sinister Six in Spidey's 1st Annual, and he's spent most of his time fighting SM since then.

But while Mockingbird was fighting Kraven she mentioned having learned much from Ka-Zar in the Savage Land (Astonishing Tales #6-20). Kravinoff didn't at all like being compared to KZ. He was defeated by the jungle lord at least twice (earlier in AT#1-2 and then ASM#103-104), but the sting should have been taken away by the more nuanced ending of their encounter in the recent KZ The Savage #19-21.

This is the 6th appearance of the guy who kills supervillains, who will later be called the Scourge of the Underworld and turn out to be an organisation rather than a person. So far he's killed Enforcer in Iron Man #194, Miracle Man in Thing #24, Psycho-Man's puppet Hate-Monger in Secret Wars II #2 and Megatak in Thor #358, and failed to kill Constrictor in Captain America #311.

Thing stayed on Battleworld in his own series after Secret Wars I, and when he returned to Earth he left the Fantastic Four. After various adventures he became a wrestler in his #28. Beyonder temporarily became a wrestler too in #30 (set near the end of Secret Wars II #5). Thing says Los Angeles is his new home, seemingly because the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation has moved its base from Las Vegas to LA. They were in Vegas in #30 and they are in LA in #32. It isn't clear where they are based in #31 but various reasons incline me to believe the move to LA occurred between #30 and #31. And that this issue and next happen before Thing #30. More on this next issue.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

West Coast Avengers #3 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The West Coast Avengers and Vision & Scarlet Witch have just defeated Grim Reaper & Ultron and their minions under the Rocky Mountains (#1-2 and V&SW#1-2), rescuing Wonder Man and Henry Pym. WM and Vizh have bonded as 'brothers', both being in their own ways Simon Williams. V&SW turn down an offer to join the team and choose to make their own way back to New Jersey and their own limited series.

As the WCA fly their quinjet home and congratulate themselves on a good job Tigra exclaims that she didn't perform well. We get to see how Ultron escaped, which was only mentioned in V&SW#2. Tigra leapt on the robot and knocked him into a computer breaking it open. Ultron grabbed some loose cables to power himself up and get away.

This has exacerbated her feelings of inadequacy, and she claims that the cat side of her personality is overtaking the human side and affecting her judgement. Iron Man tries to talk her down but she flares up at him, accusing him of being a part-time hero who can get others to take his place (ie James Rhodes). And she leaps out of the plane to land on a rooftop in Los Angeles. Hank Pym suggests it's best they leave her to sort  herself out - it worked for him.

Tigra muses that she doesn't want to be a full human anymore, but she doesn't want to lose Greer Nelson completely. But her soul-searching is interrupted by a burglary at the African American Art Gallery. She's handling the thieves OK when their boss joins in - Kraven the Hunter.

The 2 have history. They met in Marvel Chillers #4, and he reminds her that he caught her in Marvel Team-Up #67 and gave her a slave-collar that made her fight Spider-Man. Tigra claims that only Spidey stopped her from killing him then, but nothing will stop her now. But Kraven ends a brief fight with a tusk (rhino horn?) tipped with a drug that knocks her out.

While the cat-woman kips we'll follow the rest of the team to WCA HQ. They've brought Goliath back with them, the only villain they managed to hold on to. They return him to the cell the others rescued him from in #1. Hank asks if he can stay to study Erik Josten to try to remove his Pym particle growing power. He also proposes that he could earn his keep looking after their machinery.

Tony Stark thinks this is beneath the dignity of a founding Avenger. (But he's also uneasy about hanging around with a man who's ex-wife (Wasp) he dated soon after their divorce.) Henry replies that he doesn't want to be a superhero anymore but he is a scientist - and he misses being part of the Avengers. Hawkeye agrees, but wonders to Tony how Jan (still Wasp in the East Coast team) will react.

Simon Williams has retired to his own bungalow and listens to a message from his theatrical agent. All his recent stunt man work has got him a spot on the Johnny Carson Show. Wondie rings back to accept, but muses that he has something special to say (which we'll find out about next issue).

Husband and wife Hawkeye and Mockingbird take some time for themselves on the beach. But Clint Barton says he's thinking about Tigra. Bobbi understands and they head out to find her on their sky-cycle.

And Henry Pym answers a telephone call which has only a mechanical noise. (More foreshadowing).

Meanwhile Tigra has recovered and is tracking Kraven through the streets. A guy in a sports car offers her a lift. She declines but impulsively kisses him and tells him to ring the WCA compound some time. (As far as we know he never does.) And the trail leads her to Griffith Park.

But Kraven is ready for her. Punji sticks shoot out of the ground, but Tigra leaps away. Kraven jumps on her from a tree, but she rips off his belt of poisoned horns. However he doesn't need weapons, and a nerve punch makes 1 leg go dead. But the cat still draws 1st blood.

Just then Tigra spies the Bartons flying overhead and throws Kraven into a wood so their fight can continue hidden from view. Kraven still has some weapons as he throws darts at her - but only to drive her into a net trap which she shreds.

Kraven is beginning to fear that Tigra is too strong for him. He throws another concealed weapon, a gourd full of a potion that will overwhelm her sense of smell. He then leaps through the trees expecting she won't be able to track him. But she is fast enough to keep him in sight, so he turns and fights. And Tigra realises that she fights better when she lets her cat instincts rule - thinking about it slows her down.

In a watching crowd a man turns away. He was going to shoot Kraven but he can't be sure of not hitting Tigra. Justice will be served another day.

Meanwhile the Hunter tags the cat-woman with another nerve punch and her whole body freezes. He breaks off a branch and makes to stab her in the throat with it.

But the end of the fight was in the open, and Clint and Bobbi have spotted them. A rope arrow ties Kraven up and Mockingbird leaps from the sky-cycle to attack with her battlestaves. Kraven manages to dodge several blows but then 1 connects and it's all over.

Tigra regains control of her body but she's not appreciative of the save. If she can't win her own battles then she deserves to die - and doesn't deserve to be an Avenger. But Mocky gives her the line that they all slip up sometime, and the team is their to cover each other's backs.

Later at the Compound (when Tigra has washed off Kraven's smelly potion) they're sitting round the pool thinking about advertising for someone to make their number up to 6. Henry Pym (who doesn't count) goes to answer the doorbell and returns with the Thing. He got a flat tire outside and wanted to use the phone. Hawkeye has an idea.

Al Milgrom
Joe Sinnott
Petra Scotese
Al Milgrom (Cover Penciler)
Joe Sinnott (Cover Inker)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

(Peter Parker)

(Ben Grimm)

Plus: Grim Reaper (Eric Williams).

> West Coast Avengers: Book info and issue index

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