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West Coast Avengers #1: Review

Aug 2018
Kelly Thompson, Stefano Caselli

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4 stars

West Coast Avengers #1 Review by (September 14, 2018)
The Clint Barton Hawkeye is a long-time Avenger (almost a founder member) who was also the leader of the 1st incarnation of West Coast Avengers. Kate Bishop took over the name in the Young Avengers after Clint was killed (by Scarlet Witch) in Avengers Disassembled. When Clint was resurrected (by Scarlet Witch) as a result of House Of M he took the ID Ronin and gave Kate his blessing to continue as Hawkeye. Clint resumed his Hawkeye role after Dark Reign but was happy for Kate to be Hawkeye too. They shared the spotlight in the 2012 Hawkeye series and later. Clint's last main gig was the short-lived Occupy Avengers series, but with many other apps since including the last few issues of Kate's own Hawkeye series.

Kate Bishop was a member of the original Young Avengers through to their final adventure, the Children's Crusade. After that she joined the other Hawkeye in their joint series. And during that period she and other YA-ers Hulkling and Wiccan formed a new Young Avengers which included America Chavez and Noh-Varr (returned to his original super-ID Marvel Boy) who became her boyfriend. thye 2 Hawkeye's then starred in the Hawkeye Vs Deadpool mini-series and 2 All-New Hawkeye mini-series. Kate then got her own 2016 Hawkeye series.

Kate's family are wealthy and she funded the original Young Avengers. She may have funded the 2nd Young Avengers too, but during the 2012 Hawkeye series her family cut her off and she started working as a hero for hire/private eye. After Civil War II she moved to LA and set up Hawkeye Investigations in her Hawkeye series.

During that series she met vigilante Johnny Watts, his sister Ramone, her girlfriend Mikka Nguyen and their friend Quinn. Johnny and Ramone joined HI, Johnny became Kate's boyfriend and in the last issue of the series revealed his superpower (like Absorbing Man's). Now Johnny has taken the codename Fuse.

Other-dimensional America Chavez 1st appeared as Miss America in the Ultimate Nullifier's Teen Brigade in their only apps in the 2011 Vengeance mini-series. She joined the 2nd Young Avengers still using that name. By the time she joined the Ultimates (not the Ultimate Universe version) she'd rebranded as Ms America, and before that team ended she began her own America series.

Gwen Poole was sucked into the Marvel Universe in the 2016 Howard The Duck series. Her super-power is basically her knowledge of Marvel Comics and her ability to step out of the page. But she's adopted the costumed ID Gwenpool. She had her own Unbelievable Gwenpool series where she met Kate Bishop in #14-15.

So this team has collected Kate Bishop (and Fuse), Gwenpool and 2016 from their recently-cancelled series, and Clint Barton from further back in Occupy Avengers via Kate's series.

The current scribe Kelly Thompson wrote Kate's Hawkeye series (plus Generations: Hawkeye and Hawkeye) and some issues of America,

Kid Omega was introduced as a brilliant student at the X-school in (New) X-Men #134 and immediately made his presence felt as a rebellious thorn in their side. Slight ageing hasn't mellowed him. His last continuing app was in the 2017 Generation X series, so he too is here from a cancelled series. A sign of his egotism is the tee-shirts he wears here sporting the legends Generation Quire and Quire Happens.

Tigra has had a long and varied career since her introduction as Cat in her own short series and conversion to Tigra in Giant-Size Creatures #1. It includes stints as an Avenger and a West Coast Avenger, and in the Avengers Initiative and Avengers Academy. She's fresh from apps in the Punisher: War Criminal storyline alongside Clint-Hawkeye.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

West Coast Avengers #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This issue is largely flashbacks, including to some individual interview recordings made yesterday. So prepare to be slightly confused.

Yesterday in Kate Bishop's Hawkeye Investigations office in Venice Beach the other (original) Hawkeye (Clint Barton) is giving his interview which starts by bringing up that very point of 2 Hawkeye's and asks if Kate is a bit young to be the leader of the new team. Clint hotly defends his 'protégé' (as her boyfriend Johnny Watts (see the 2017 Hawkeye series) ambles past in the background and exits hastily when he realises he's in shot). He refers them in particular to the recent invasion of Santa Monica by land sharks.

This happened 4 weeks ago. Kate-Hawkeye is riding 1 of the land sharks and firing expanding foam(?) arrows at the snouts of others, which causes them to fall over. The sharks are running through town on bird-style legs and they have small arms. Kate rings Clint-Hawkeye to ask for help from the Avengers or somebody. And she sends Ms. America (America Chavez) to bring him to the scene via 1 of her star-shaped portals. They arrive in midair and America drops Hawkeye onto Hawkeye's shark before zooming off to start punching others.

(Yesterday America also gives an interview in support of Kate. But she echoes Clint in saying that Kate has risked her life many times, which the interviewer says is hardly a leadership quality.)

Back to the land sharks where Clint seems to be firing the same type of arrow. Kate believes they are riding the leader of the pack and she's guiding it back to the sea hoping the others will follow. They get there and the others do. Clint uses weighted net arrows. America is throwing sharks back into the water. Johnny, now going by the codename Fuse, has turned himself into some hard substance and is punching stuff.

(Yesterday Fuse does *his* interview. The nervous rookie says he's qualified to be on the team because he's Kate's boyfriend.)

The lead shark still isn't going into the water so Kate tries a new tack. She fires an arrow line into a fin (where supposedly there are no nerves so no pain), then leaps and swings to get the line through the shark's mouth and herself back in the saddle. The shark now seems to be leading his gang along a beach front road, knocking into buildings and bringing the walls down. Clint drops off and joins Fuse dealing with the falling rubble.

Kate now successfully guides her shark into the ocean and his minions follow. America then flies out to rescue her from the shark-infested waters.

Later the 4 of them eat pizza at Hawkeye Investigations. Clint persuades Kate that the land sharks were created by some mad scientist and they'll be back. The West Coast needs a superhero team, but he declines to form 1 because he doesn't live on this coast these days. Kate complains that she tried to call in everyone she knows locally to fight the sharks but "They were all busy or off-planet or 'dead'". America asks if she called her ex-boyfriend Noh-Varr, and Kate says she's not going to do *that*.

So Kate caves in and agrees to advertise for members. But she doesn't know how she'll pay them.

A week later she's conducting interviews with a bunch of no-hopers:- Bread Boy whose only qualification is a catch-phrase "I'll butter your bread". Dee-Va who only wants to meet the male Hawkeye until Kate lies and tells her he's gay. Spider-King who's covered in spiders. Surf Doctor - a surfer with a stethoscope. The Broken Watch who's right twice a day. The Dark Paladin who does a Shadow impression. Quinn, Ramone and Mikka - friends and co-workers of Kate and Johnny. The Scorp in a scorpion costume. Doctor Mole who thought it was an audition for the Mole Men Of Los Angeles TV show. Silver Snowboarder whose powers only work in snow. The Dutch Oven huddled in a duvet. Wolver-Mean with cheap cutlery for claws.

Then Gwenpool drops in to see if Kate wants to go out for tacos and our heroine persuades her to join the team - but Gwen is confused as to whether they're heroes or villains (her more usual teams). So that makes 5, or maybe 4 because Clint says he only wants to be part-time.

We now skip forward to last week, and Kate is still having trouble finding someone to fund them. Enter Quentin Quire/Kid Omega, bad boy of the X-Men, with a film crew. He offers them his omega-level powers and comes with built-in funding.

Now we're back to yesterday and it's Kate's turn to be interviewed for the camera, but she's asking all the questions. It turns out the film crew wanted to film a superhero team and Quire said he was on 1. When they complained that all they got was him playing video games he finally brought them here. Kate weighs her options and decides the money is worth putting up with Quire and the obtrusive filming. Especially as the deal includes the Hawkeye Investigations offices being transformed into a team HQ.

It also transpires that the crew are themselves only hired for the job, and don't know whether what they film is intended for a documentary or a movie or what. (I smell a supervillain rat.) Kate hopes the result won't show them in a bad light. And then realises that Gwenpool and Kid Omega are having a literally explosive argument in shot behind her.

And at last it's today. Construction is still ongoing but the team are all living here amidst the mess. Kate wonders if she's doing the right thing, and boyfriend Johnny gives her a pep talk. But they agree that actually living in the same place is not where their relationship should be yet.

Then Gwen and Quentin have another argument. Gwen has just filled his room with lots of wet towels to teach him not to leave such things on the bathroom floor. Luckily there's something happening for them to investigate in Santa Monica again. America ports them there (including Clint-Hawkeye) and they find themselves staring at an extremely giant-size Tigra standing in the water. (She was never that big in the old West Coast Avengers.)

Kate vetoes Quentin's suggestion that he mentally shuts her brain down. Instead she sends Ms America to fly Clint up to talk to his old teammate, and Quentin should go with them to protect them with his telekinesis. Meanwhile Kate, Fuse and Gwenpool will clear civilians away. Tigra's only response to Clint is to growl. But when Quire offers to brainwipe her again she obviously senses who's the threat here and punches him out of sight.

Flashforward to Quentin getting interviewed later where he makes the excuse that Tigra got a lucky blow in because he was too worried about powerless Hawkeye. The X-Men wouldn't let such people on a team. But when they ask him why *he* isn't with the X-men he terminates the interview.

Back to today and Gwenpool's idea of ushering civilians to safety is to threaten them with a big gun. Then she sees Quire incoming. She switches her gun from Very Extremely Lethal to its other setting Creampuff. And fires a pink ball which expands to give him a soft landing.

In *her* interview she explains that she used to work for the villain MODOK, but she's trying the other side now. But working with Kid Omega is making her regret the decision.

And today Tigra picks up a small boat and bats America with it making her drop Clint. Tigra grabs him as he falls and America punches her in the cheek. Tigra throws the boat inland but America star-ports herself ahead of it and then punches it to harmless(?) pieces. Clint is still trying to get through to Tigra but she throws him away. Kate fires an arrow which gives *him* a soft landing.

Kate's about to sanction Quentin as a last resort when another voice is heard from. The newcomer sweeps Kate off her feet and kisses her. Then he announces himself as BRODOK - Bio-Robotic Organism Designed Overwhelmingly for Kissing. And he's here to save the day.

Stefano Caselli
Stefano Caselli
Triona Farrell
Stefano Caselli (Cover Penciler)
Stefano Caselli (Cover Inker)
Nolan Woodard (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Joe Caramagna.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Kate Bishop)

(Clint Barton)
Ms. America
Ms. America

(America Chavez)

(Greer Nelson)

Plus: BRODOK, Fuse (Johnny Watts), Gwenpool (Gwen Poole), Kid Omega (Quentin Quire).

> West Coast Avengers: Book info and issue index

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