Avengers West Coast #50-52
Issue(s): Avengers West Coast #50, Avengers West Coast #51, Avengers West Coast #52
There were a lot of good reasons to not bring back the Golden Age Torch. For one thing, Marvel already had a Human Torch in the Modern Era. Why in the world would you want someone with a redundant power set running around. Second, it's yet another resurrection for a character that was plausibly dead and had been for some time. The Torch had been in multiple Legion of the Unliving type scenarios and he really just worked best as a part of Marvel's history, a character that was active way back in World War II but subsequently died. On top of that, there wasn't much to the character's personality so bringing him back for the most part isn't particularly interesting (with one exception, below). Finally, and this is mostly superficial, but adding him to the West Coast Avengers means that the team now has three white male blonds on the team. With Henry Pym in his red jumpsuit and the Torch in his red costume, it requires a little effort to tell them apart. John Byrne mostly pulls it off in a panel probably designed to show the distinction...
...but it won't always be so clear. Even ignoring the question of trying to balance ethnic and gender ratios established during Marvel's early days, it's a problem of visual differentiation (during, obviously, downtime scenes only, although you have a different kind of differentiation problem during fight scenes, i.e. "Hey, what's Johnny Storm doing with the West Coast Avengers?").
Aside from the nostalgia factor of bringing back the Golden Age Torch and the possible Invaders reunion, which will wear off quickly, the one real benefit to bringing back the Golden Age Torch is to do "man out of time" stories that it's not really plausible to do with Captain America anymore. There wasn't much to the Torch's original personality - in fact when Roy Thomas wrote him in the Invaders he mainly used the same "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" themes that he used with the Vision - but having him wake up in 1989 allowed him to do comparisons between the modern world and that of the World War II era. There's a limited shelf-life on that, too. The longer the Torch remains awake in the modern age, the more it makes as much sense to use those themes with him as it does with Captain America. But that's really all i can put in the "Pro" column.
In any event, in the short term, the return of the Torch is just another turn of the screw on poor Scarlet Witch, and compared to what else happens in this arc, it's a minor twist. So let's get to it.
We start with Ann Raymond, who we saw in the previous arc, having escaped hospitalization and made her way to the West Coast Avengers' Los Angeles compound. For some reason, the recent news that the Vision is not the original Human Torch has given her hope that her husband Toro is really alive. Before she can get to the tortured explanation for that, though, the Scarlet Witch has a freak out.
After she departs, Ann continues, explaining that she thinks that if the Vision isn't really the Golden Age Human Torch, then the fiery man that died in the battle with the Mad Thinker may have really been the Torch, and not Toro. She doesn't say where else Toro may have been since disappearing during this event, but the West Coast Avengers agree to investigate.
Before they begin their investigation, though, it looks like John Byrne has been getting some objections from fans to his storylines and it's time for him to address, or at least dismiss, them. The first is with Tigra, where it's at least acknowledged that we've already been through a 'Tigra's cat side takes control' storyline, although she was "supposedly" cured of that.
A response in the lettercol of issue #51 also says "back when she was having trouble controlling her feline self, the Cat People cured her. But ask yourself this: if you were a Cat Person, what would you consider a cure...?". That very much misses the point of the original story.
USAgent not having told the other Avengers about Tigra starts another fight, which the Wasp has to break up in what reminds me of the Hercules/Namor squabbles in Roger Stern's Avengers.
Then we get to objections that the Vision is not the Human Torch.
The first is the fact that Immortus said it was so, and it's simply put forth that he was lying. The fact that a ghost of the Torch also told the Vision that they were the same body is similarly dismissed since he was part of a Legion of Unliving summoned by Immortus, and since Wonder Man was also part of that Legion but he's obviously still alive. The second is that a sentinel once identified the Vision as the Torch. We'll get to an explanation for that point in this arc.
Immortus does pop up now to confirm to the readers that he was lying on the first point.
The Avengers then go to the grave of the Human Torch and confirm that he is indeed still in there.
The Avengers are supposed to be waiting for approval from the local government to exhume the body, but the Scarlet Witch doesn't have time for that.
It's not lost on the Wasp that Wanda is disparagingly referencing "human" bureaucracy.
While Wanda is using her powers to do that, we cut back to her current nanny, who sees the kids disappear again. And then another person comes back from the dead: Agatha Harkness.
Meanwhile, the Human Torch does get reactivated and flies out of his grave. Wonder Man catches up with him...
...and convinces him to return to the other Avengers.
The Human Torch's seeming recognition of the Vision is explained along with the explanation for that Sentinel explanation. To do so, Henry Pym goes into a recap of the origin of Frankie Raye, aka Nova, who we know to be the step-daughter of Phineas Horton, the creator of the Golden Age Human Torch. In the issue that provided Frankie Raye's origin (which was by John Byrne), there's a line with a bitter Horton looking at his equipment and saying, "Fools! They could have had an army of Torches to battle the Nazis!". Byrne latches on to that line now to suggest that there was enough leftover equipment at Horton's lab to create a new android, and that was in fact how Ultron really created the Vision.
This explanation resolves the sentinel recognition problem but then reopens the question of why Horton himself didn't recognize the Vision as his work and even made disparaging remarks comparing androids to robots or whatever it was. I'm sure there's a belabored pseudo-technical explanation to be made, but in broad terms it seems like a plot hole. That said, the connection between the Vision and the Golden Age Torch has never seemed that important or even necessary to begin with, so i don't really have a problem with the "spare parts" theory that basically lets us have it both ways. Of course, a later retcon will let us have it both ways to an even larger degree.
Also notice Jan's kiss and Hank's "Ja-a-an...!" response. The lettercol in issue #51 will not confirm that the two are back together and says that "Only time will tell".
The Human Torch is given an unstable molecules version of his original costume and invited to join the West Coast Avengers. And guess what? Even an android can cry (see also the top scan on this entry).
And directly after that, Iron Man shows up as well.
All of the explanations i've seen regarding Steve Englehart getting fired from this title have come from Englehart himself and seem to relate to his inclusion of Mantis as well as just general friction between him and the editors, but as i've mentioned a couple of times now, Sean Howe's Marvel Comics: The Untold Story says the reason was because he wouldn't return Iron Man to the West Coast Avengers, in a parallel to his refusal to bring back Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman to the Fantastic Four. So i think it's noteworthy that Iron Man is showing up now. To Byrne's credit, he definitely remembers that there should be some animosity between Iron Man and the Avengers due to the events of Armor Wars.
However, the objection here really seems to be that the Avengers aren't sure if this guy is the "real" Iron Man, and they can't let just anyone in an Iron Man suit join the team.
Even when USAgent is out of the room, Stark won't confirm that he's the original Iron Man.
The matter isn't settled due to the continuance of the Scarlet Witch plotline. Even though it's been over 25 minutes since the Avengers have returned from reviving the Human Torch, Agatha Harkness hasn't yet revealed that she's on campus. Instead, we see the Scarlet Witch and the Vision returning to their cottage, with the Scarlet Witch continuing to withdraw from humanity, and then finding Agatha.
While i don't like what's being done to the Scarlet Witch, i do think it's being done well. Faced with the fact that her husband is no longer human, Byrne has Wanda withdrawing from humanity as well by embracing her mutant heritage. It's clearly the reasoning of an unstable mind, but from that vantage point it makes a logical sense. By the way, it's not new characterization for Wanda, either. See Avengers #119, for example.
As for Agatha Harnkess, she's there to confront Wanda with the fact that her children are indeed not real.
Ann Raymond, meanwhile, is confronted by the fact that her husband is indeed dead, and the Human Torch has to face that same fact.
Before anyone can really react to all of this news, the West Coast Avengers compound is attacked by Master Pandemonium's demons.
Notice Iron Man letting slip that he knows Master P. Pym wonders if it just means Stark briefed the new Iron Man on all of the previous ones' exploits, or if it's really Stark. It's not said what the Avengers would prefer; i.e., the question of whether or not the Avengers are ready to forgive Stark for Armor Wars (or if Captain America's conversation from Iron Man #238 was relayed to them).
The Avengers eventually realize that the demon attack is a distraction. The real battle is happening in the Vision and the Scarlet Witch's building, where Master Pandemonium himself is attacking...
...and he disappears with baby William and Thomas.
In the aftermath, Agatha Harkness begins to explain how it is that she's alive, but the Scarlet Witch isn't interested.
Despite the obvious instability of Scarlet Witch, the Avengers agree to go with her through a portal opened by Agatha Harkness to Master Pandemonium's lair. Immortus, still watching everything that the Avengers are doing, curses the fact that the Avengers are leaving normal reality where he can't watch and protect Wanda.
In Master P's dimension, they find that things have gotten really weird.
Master Pandemonium actually had just decided to look for random souls to fill up the pieces of his own missing soul. But instead he claims that William and Thomas actually are pieces of his missing soul.
As the Avengers battle Master P and his demons...
...the Human Torch notices that Tigra has escaped again (although he doesn't understand the implications of it since he hasn't met her yet)...
...and then he goes back to talk to Agatha Harkness. Harkness explains that the babies are not real and that the Vision was incapable of having children, even with the combination of Wanda's mutant and magical powers.
She also acknowledges that Dr. Strange was there when Wanda gave birth and saw nothing unusual about them, but she nonetheless says that is the case.
At least at this point Byrne seems to be caught up on his reading of Englehart's work, but he brings stuff up only to immediately dismiss it.
Back in Master Pandemonium's realm, we get another revelation. Mephisto shows up and claims that the souls that Master P has been collecting are actually his own. It seems that his self was split into six parts after Franklin Richards attacked him in Fantastic Four #277. So Mephisto told Martin Preston a fake story about splitting up his souls when he turned him into Master Pandemonium, so that Mephisto wouldn't have to expend energy looking for the pieces of his soul himself.
After that revelation, Harkness sends the Human Torch with what are purportedly the last two missing soul pieces...
...but which instead cause Master Pandemonium to fold up on himself.
At that point, Agatha Harkness' cat Ebony grows in size and attacks Mephisto.
Byrne uses the classic "tell, don't show" technique in depicting the fight.
And when that gripping battle is done being "shown", Mephisto disappears and all the Avengers are sent back to Earth.
Harkness then concludes the explanation of the fake babies...
...and then wipes the memory of them from her mind. USAgent's reaction to that reminds us that we have multiple unstable people on this team; his parents are dead.
As if to highlight the continued abuse being heaped on the Scarlet Witch, the fact that she needs some peace and quiet is contrasted with a scene of Ghaur and Llyra getting ready to make her one of the Brides of Set.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: The end blurb says that "Our storyline has finally caught up to last summer's annuals!". This needs to take place before Avengers annual #18 since the Golden Age Human Torch appears in that issue as an Avenger. But unless we want to count the final scene with Ghaur and Llyra as a flash-forward (and there's no need to do that), this does need to take place after Atlantis Attacks begins in Silver Surfer annual #2. Based on their dialogue it seems like it's pretty far underway, but as Michael points out in the comments it has to take place before Namor's "death" in Iron Man annual #10. It's also worth noting that a back-up feature in Avengers West Coast #56 takes place between this arc and Avengers annual #18, providing a more satisfying first meeting between the newly revived Torch and Captain America than was given in the Avengers annual.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (15): show
The claim that the Vision can't be the Human Torch because of the Torch's funeral is due to an interesting chronology problem related to the funeral. Avengers 57 takes place before Sub-Mariner 14. In Sub-Mariner 14, Toro makes it sound like the funeral took place a long time ago. But the dialogue in the Egghead-Mad Thinker-Puppet Master crossover makes it sound like the Thinker just escaped from jail. So where was Toro when the Thinker was in jail? Note this is a problem with the original story, not with Englehart's Vision retcon. Byrne solves this problem by suggesting that the Thinker grabbed Toro less than a day before his battle with Namor, which also eliminates the possiblity of the Torch being the Vision.
Posted by: Michael | October 19, 2014 4:18 PM
Thanks for pointing out that Namor's appearance here should affect placement. I've pushed it back directly after Silver Surfer annual #10. The MCP have Ghaur here after later parts of the crossover but i guess they are treating that end scene as taking place later than the rest of the story.
I meant to comment directly on the "hysterical pregnancy" line. Really awful.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 19, 2014 5:09 PM
Byrne was clearly overextending himself at this point, as he seems to have completely abandoned drawing backgrounds in these issues.
(Tons of talking-head soap-opera stuff, too!)
Posted by: cullen | October 19, 2014 5:47 PM
As someone who is a fan of both John Byrne and the Scarlet Witch, even I think this story is a needlessly complex cluster*beep*. Many moons later when reading Avengers Forever, I was happy with the comments made about this stuff.
Of course, I'm sure JB would have fixed everything if his run on the title had continued as planned. Reading his synopsis of his planned oncoming storyline robbed us readers from an entertaining adventure AND left several characters damaged goods.
Posted by: Bill | October 19, 2014 6:30 PM
Bill, is the synopsis online? There isn't much about Byrne's WCA run on his FAQ.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 19, 2014 9:14 PM
Oh boy....it's somewhere on his site. I thought it was in the FAQ, but looking over it, it's not there. His general rule of thumb is to not discuss a plot he was going to use, but this was one he made an exception for.
Just going by memory, it was going to involve history having been rewritten with Kang defeating the Avengers back in his first appearance. The Black Knight would emerge from the dimensional vortex thing that Thor placed him in during Inferno, which would have kept his memories of "normal" reality intact. The Knight and the Scarlet Witch would have to save the day.
Again, just going by memory, there was more to it. Sounds much cooler than what we ended up getting.
Posted by: Bill | October 19, 2014 10:34 PM
The synopsis is here:
Posted by: Michael | October 19, 2014 10:49 PM
JB never intended to "fix" everything. Why would he have done all of this stuff if he intended to hit reset at the end? His intention was to eliminate the vision as a husband and Wanda's children (in the cruelest way possible) as those were the two barriers keeping Wanda and Simon apart.
Now the aborted storyline seems somewhat cool, but JB was never going to put things back to the way he found them.
Posted by: kveto from prague | October 20, 2014 4:20 AM
Wasp: "Hey now don't get all macho on us now, torch, this is the 80s! men are allowed to show their emotions now." Er, no they're not. That won't happen until 'Quantum Leap' comes out.:)
Having the original Human Torch in AWC is confusing. I mean as a kid I hadn't realised that John Walker was Captain America. If I'd randomly picked this issue up I would have thought Torchy was in both FF and AWC.
Posted by: JSfan | October 20, 2014 6:35 AM
I like these issues because the USAGent's comment is about the only reference to Iron Man not being the "original" because of Armor Wars.
I have no problems with Byrne's art in these issues.
Yes, the retroactive continuity is keeping my head spinning, but I still thought this was a fun arc at the time.
Kveto, I would say that Byrne didn't intend to fix "everything." I think the Vision would have been restored to his old self. The children were likely gone forever - although I don't think that was a big loss. Introducing babies and children just seems to cause trouble - see all the issues Franklin caused in FF - if you don't intend to keep advancing the timeline. As for the relationship between Vision and Scarlet Witch, I think it is more up in the air, but I think it would be very easy to restore that once the Vision was repaired with his personality downloaded back from Titan.
Posted by: Chris | October 20, 2014 11:43 PM
This is not the end of Thomas and William. Their souls reincarnate, and they end up being Wiccan and Speed of the Young Avengers.
Posted by: Steven | October 21, 2014 2:43 AM
Byrne's art isn't bad in the sense that what he draws is good, but the abandonment of backgrounds isn't negligible. The more I think about it, and the more I look at these scans, the more bothersome it is. But I think if we tabulated all of Byrne's credits in 89, we'd see he was genuinely producing far more in terms of script, pencils, and inks than he was in any previous year. *Byrne's* shortcuts have an excuse...
Posted by: cullen | October 21, 2014 2:59 AM
Reincarnated in the past. *rubs temples*
Posted by: Thanos6 | October 21, 2014 3:52 AM
Chris, Bryne didn't intend to put the vision back to his old self. Why would he after all the crap he put him through? In the letter columns of the day, readers called out JB for writing the whole entire storyline to making Wonderman and the Scarlet Witch a couple. That's the whole point of everything that's going on (even without the editors admitting it, its clear thats the way the storyline was headed). Look at the evidence: her husband is erased, her children are erased, and it's stated repeatedly that she feel in love with the "personality" inside the vision, i.e. Simon, and he admits to being in love with her.
There would therefore never be any reason to restore the Vision to his old self. The whole point was to make him completely unsuitable as a husband to Wanda. It's obvious all of these changes were intended to be permanent (well as permanent as comicbook changes can be).
I'm not really passing judgement on the story, I just think its kind of insulting to JB to just assume that he was making all of these sweeping changes with the plan to just put things back the way they were when he started. Why would he bother?
Posted by: kveto from prague | October 21, 2014 4:12 PM
Byrne got rid of Wonder Man's mullet, and I was at the time disappointed, because I was sporting one then....eep.
Posted by: Vincent Valenti | October 21, 2014 8:49 PM
I originally really like John Bryne artwork a whole lot. Now looking back, I still admire his artwork. AS a would be cartoonist no backgrounds are alright from time to time. As it allows the reader to focus on the character. Second word balloons often cover up most of the back grounds.
Posted by: Steven Noppenberger | December 10, 2014 7:12 PM
You're over-thinking things.
Posted by: Bill | December 10, 2014 7:51 PM
Just be grateful no one ever made the Torch have feelings for Wanda as well.
Then it would have been really convoluted.
BTW, what was up with the blacks on issue 50 looking so dark? The inker was the same, but the issue just looked weird.
Posted by: Bob | June 29, 2015 1:37 AM
"Notice Iron Man letting slip that he knows Master P. Pym wonders if it just means Stark briefed the new Iron Man on all of the previous ones' exploits,"
A simpler explanation is that Iron Man's armor has face-recognition abilities. Therefore, once it scanned Master P's face, it brought up all the previous history on him.
Posted by: clyde | July 15, 2015 4:00 PM
Clyde, the point is that Iron Man said that BEFORE seeing Master Pandemonium's face or hearing his name. So the only simple explanations are Tony briefed Iron Man or Tony IS Iron Man.
Posted by: Michael | July 15, 2015 8:06 PM
As Michael notes in his first post, the chronology issues between Avengers #57 and Sub-Mariner #14 are problematic enough to require some sort of fix/explanation to address them, but I suspect that Bryne was inspired by the reference to the Torch's funeral in Sub-Mariner #14 to want to retcon the Vision's origin, since Englehart -- as I recall -- doesn't fully account for the funeral in his "Origin of the Vision" story in Avengers #133-135.
I have mixed feelings about this retcon, as I like Englehart's origin story for the Vision, but I always thought it made more sense to connect the Vision to the Golden Age Vision instead (although that has never happened, as far as I know), and I was grateful that Byrne brought back the original Human Torch.
Posted by: Aaron Malchow | August 14, 2015 2:44 AM
Englehart DID mention the funeral in Avengers 133-135 but he didn't address the "Where was the Torch when Thinker was in jail" issue?
Posted by: Michael | August 14, 2015 7:56 AM
Michael, thanks for the correction. I was working off my memory of Avengers #134-135, which does not show the funeral, but you are right that it is mentioned in passing in both issues. that will teach me to post so late at night without double-checking the issues.
Posted by: Aaron Malchow | August 14, 2015 11:44 PM
I reread these issues and Avengers 133-135 -- after Michael's post, and find myself again disappointed with how Byrne handled both the return of the Original Human Torch and "resetting" the characters of the Vision and the Scarlet Witch.
When these stories were first published, I was excited about the series, due in no large part to the energy and uncertainty that Byrne brought to it, but over time, I came to dislike how disrespectful Byrne's retcon was to Englehart's stories -- which worked hard to incorporate continuity rather than ignore it. And in the last few years, I revisited my opinion, thinking that the both Englehart and Byrne's accounts could be reconciled. I am less certain of that now, for most of the reasons posted here by others.
I think that these stories will be a guilty pleasure for me, and I will always be curious as to what degree Byrne -- if he had remained on the series and finished his stories -- would have ever addressed the concerns brought up by readers.
Posted by: Aaron Malchow | August 21, 2015 5:59 AM
Agh! I think I am cursed to revisit this storyline and my opinions of it again and again.
In Avengers West Coast #52, Agatha Harkness mentions that Wanda's twin children were created from "two of the missing pieces of Mephisto." But on Byrne's forum -- link -- Byrne mentions that Wanda's children were not "fragments of Mephisto".
Now, I'm trying to figure out whether I'm misreading the comic, Byrne's comment, or both.
Posted by: Aaron Malchow | August 23, 2015 2:57 AM
I still love these issues as much as I always did. I love the art and at the time I was riveted by the storyline. I really liked how they brought back the Torch. I didn't need him to come back for a long time, but it was an interesting decision.
Two of the things that seemed to really bother people never were too much of a bother for me. The first is that the Vision wasn't actually made from the Human Torch, which I was fine with, as that always seemed strange.
The second was the elimination of the kids. I never bought the explanation that the Vision could be the father. I bought the idea that he could have sex, but not that he could actually procreate, and I always felt that it was pure magic in V&SW #3 that left Wanda pregnant. So I wasn't nearly as bothered with the way Byrne wrote them out. I was bothered by the WCA claiming that the boys pre-dated Master P's encounter with Mephisto, since they were clearly born much later than that.
Most of all, I was fascinated with the way that Byrne was making use of the characters - I liked the way he was delving into Wanda's power (I think that without this stretch we never get to "No more mutants") and the way he was writing Hank and Jan. This team was becoming so interesting that I was even okay with the absence of Hawkeye.
And I must admit, I prefer seeing the WCA talking heads describe that scene. I don't actually want to see it.
Posted by: Erik Beck | September 5, 2015 12:52 PM
One of the more irritating elements of all this is that Byrne sees the Vision as a "toaster," but the Golden Age Torch is treated like a regular, feeling person with inherent dignity. It's hard not to see this as Byrne treating the Vision's appearance as indicative of inhumanity. Considering that the Vision-Wanda romance was often played as an allegory for interracial relationships, it's really got some Unfortunate Implications.
Honestly, almost everything here is *made* of such implications: of the four female characters in WCA at this point -- Wanda, Wasp, Mockingbord, and Tigra -- the first is being treated as a literal "hysteric," the second is going back to a mentally unstable guy who hit her, the third is a treacherous dupe, and the fourth has been regressed to soemthing inhuman, Meanwhile, the story really pushes the three white guys -- Pym, Wondy, and Tony -- to the point of ignoring their past transgressions and current attitudes. The G.A. Torch fits right in with them visually and gets a similar push.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | November 2, 2015 6:47 PM
The relationship between the Vision and the Scarlet Witch, as well as Quicksilver's reactions to it, are once again being discussed on Facebook. Some people are arguing that Quicksilver's opposition to their romance (aside from him being a jerk) is that he truly believed the Vision was only a machine. I guess that means Quicksilver and John Byrne share some common ground!
Anyway, this actually got me thinking about Omar Karindu's above comment. I have to agree. Byrne regarded the Vision as "a toaster" and thought Wanda was crazy to have married a machine, but then he brought back the original Human Torch and basically writes him as a normal person who just happens to be an android. Yes, there is a *really* unfortunate subtext to that, in that Jim Hammond *looks* human, not to mention very WASPy, with white skin, blonde hair & blue eyes, so Byrne treats the character as a human, but the Vision has red skin and weird eyes and no hair so Byrne treats him like a walking appliance.
Posted by: Ben Herman | November 22, 2017 4:59 PM
I think Byrne made the conscious decision to make Ebony's fight too gory, so it could not be actually shown. Perhaps he drew the scene for his private enjoyment, though, as it could have been a very interesting battle.
And in reply to Omar's comment, I do not think there is anything inherently wrong with Janet going back to Hank. They have talked about what happened, he has repeatedly shown that he regrets what happened and it never happened again. She has every right to not want to be near him, but she also has every right to decide she wants to try again. Since he has not done it again and he has shown remorse, it is actually something nice. This does not make her a glutton for punishment or someone who does not respect herself, I think it is the opposite, and it shows a very mature grown woman who can make decisions on her own and has a heart big enough to not only forgive but to be willing to keep loving someone who made a big mistake.
Posted by: Cesar Hernandez-Meraz | December 13, 2017 3:11 AM
@Cesar- I think the problem is not Jan going back to Hank but her going back to him without considering the issues on panel.
Posted by: Michael | December 13, 2017 8:06 AM
This is particularly the case since Hank's abuse of Jan was not just the physical blow, but also quite a bit of emotional abuse leading up to it. More generally, we've seen that Hank is somewhat emotionally unstable: he's had several nervous breakdowns, and in addition to abusive behavior has also suffered from suicidal ideation.
Byrne seems to ignore all of that, and largely for what seems like nostalgia; he doesn't even address hank's prior appearances, where his wife had apparently been found alive and he left the team to tend to her. It's worth noting that Hank and Jan's reunion si quietly written out soon after Byrne leaves the book, and that the main effect of it is that Hank, not Jan, plays a leadership role. As I noted above, it's part of a pattern of Byrne sidelining the women on the team in various ways.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | December 14, 2017 7:12 PM
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