West Coast Avengers #1
Issue(s): West Coast Avengers #1
It's a pretty weak team - Hawkeye and Mockingbird are powerless and Tigra's barely a step above, and the Iron Man in question is James Rhodes, who is still pretty inexperienced with the suit.
This is a recruiting story. Neither Tigra nor Iron Man are convinced they want to join a team (Iron Man tries to mention that he's not the one they knew before, but he's interrupted).
The action for this issue is provided by the Shroud.
Tigra had been hanging out with the now powerless Jessica Drew...
...when she received the mysterious phone call from the Vision asking her to go to the West Coast compound. Suspicious, Drew asks the Shroud to tail her, and when the Shroud breaks into the mansion, he's able to fight off the entire team until Wonder Man shows up. Considering he's depicted as a street-level hero, it's not a good first showing for the team. I guess that's why Hawkeye tries to recruit him, but he declines.
Despite what may seem like complaints above, this was an enjoyable issue. Decent art, and a well written story that takes just the right amount of time addressing the way characters feel about stuff - Hawkeye's concerns about leading a team, Tigra's concerns about her qualifications, etc. - without getting mushy.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Takes place after Avengers #248. Has to take place before Wonder Man's appearance in Beauty and the Beast #1. Has to take place after Iron Man arrives on the west coast in Iron Man #185.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (7): show
The West Coast Avengers vol 2, handled by Englehart and Milgrom in the mid-to-late 1980's, were some of the most dire comics of the day. Just terrible.
But the art here (Bob Hall, you say?) and the connection to Stern makes me want to give this mini-series a try. It seems to draw on a bit of the Cap's Kooky Quartet period in the mid-60's, when the Avengers were under-powered and most of them were inexperienced.
Posted by: James N. | August 26, 2011 1:21 PM
This title was originally announced as "Avengers II".
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 10, 2013 1:19 PM
Seconding James N.'s two-year-old comment. That WCA unlimited series was dreadful until Byrne took over (abruptly leaving the SUPERMAN titles to write/draw this and the better SHE-HULK for Marvel). It was far from his best work, but the Englehart/Milgrom period was so bad that I still cringe when I hear the team's name. When everything before and after gets tainted, it is a real dog of a run.
Posted by: Todd | August 11, 2013 4:04 AM
OTOH, Byrne's handling of Wanda arguably damaged her character permanently and resulted in Disassembled.
Posted by: Michael | August 11, 2013 9:00 AM
The Enselmo case that Jessica Drew mentions was a running gag on the MOONLIGHTING tv series around this time.
Posted by: Gary Himes | August 11, 2013 11:26 AM
Stern's original intention was to use the West Coast team in the main Avengers book. He said it was an attempt to make sure key Avengers characters stayed in the book and out of the hands of other writers as he was frustrated by being told he couldn't use character X because some other writer had grabbed him.
He had a whole year worth of stories planned out when he was suddenly told that the WCA was made a separate monthly and given to Steve Englehart.
I am of mixed minds when it comes to the Englehart/Milgrom WCA. On one hand, there were some awful stories and Englehart portrayed some characters in a way I did not like, but there were several very good stories. The major problem I had is that he was obsessed with continuing storylines from his original run, and it didn't quite make sense given the changes in the Avengers and the Marvel Universe since then. I did not like his handling of the Vision and Scarlet Witch however. His insistence on giving Wanda babies from the Vision never made sense to me, and I think that more than Byrne (whose take on the Scarlet Witch can't be properly evaluated because he never had the chance to resolve that storyline as he planned) it started the chain of events that lead to Disassembled.
I would have preferred Stern though, as he is my favorite superhero writer at the time.
Given that Iron Man and Wonder Man are some of the most powerful Avengers, I never understood the criticism that the team was underpowered. Certainly the combination of Hawkeye, Mockingbird, and Tigra are underpowered compared to them, but the NYC team had similar combinations. I think if there had been a 6 member whose power level was between the top guys and them, it wouldn't have seemed so disparate.
Posted by: Chris | August 11, 2013 3:53 PM
Chris, I don't see how giving Wanda babies started the chain of events that led to Disassembled. It was clearly stated that Wanda could only have created life because her power was boosted by the energy she absorbed from the witches. And it didn't make Wanda look crazy since Strange confirmed it was possible. (And how is Wanda created babies different than Clea conjuring up a rabbit?)
Posted by: Michael | August 11, 2013 4:06 PM
Michael, you are certainly right that there is no direct correlation, but I don't think there is a direct lead from Byrne's story to Disassembled some 15 years later either. Wanda certainly had a nervous breakdown, but that doesn't mean she was crazy, just that she had been under enormous stress and snapped. The vast majority of people who go through similar stress recover and act fine for the rest of their lives. I would also argue that Immortus was definitely manipulating things, so we can't say everything she did was truly her own actions. We can argue about "true" root causes forever, but Disassembled was not something that MUST happen because of Byrne's WCA story.
I think a real problem is not the story, but how the Scarlet Witch's powers morphed over the years. Having a the ability to create bad luck, does not mean she can control probability, or retroactively change things back in time, or change reality. Her power levels just got ridiculous.
In any case, this discussion is probably best left when FNORD reaches this era in WCA.
Posted by: Chris | August 11, 2013 9:26 PM
I really loved John Byrne's issues of this. I wish that he had been allowed to finish the story he was telling.
Posted by: Steven Printz | August 12, 2013 1:55 AM
Byrne's run was VERY enjoyable for me at the time, but now I see a lot of it for what it really was: Byrne taking it upon himself to "fix" the work of other writers, particularly Roy Thomas. He also seemed to have almost an axe to grind with fans of the Vision.
Posted by: Jay Patrick | August 12, 2013 2:19 AM
It's funny. I feel the exact same way about Byrne's WCA.
Jay-Then, Roy Thomas followed Byrne as writer of WCA.
Posted by: Chris Kafka | August 12, 2013 4:34 PM
"Having a the ability to create bad luck, does not mean she can control probability, or retroactively change things back in time, or change reality."
I agree with you on the time bit, but - DOESN'T the ability to create 'bad luck' entail the other things? I mean how else would it work? Of course we've seen other characters with luck powers (Longshot, Domino, Black Cat) and they never got anything like what Wanda ended up getting in terms of power, but on the other hand - the principles involved in those powers DO seem to entail the ability to warp reality and alter probability. That's the only thing that can be going on.
As for Wanda's getting the full logical extent of her powers (and more), I think it had to do with her having witch in her name and having a sort of mystical tinge, as well as her eventually revealed relationship with Magneto who is incredibly powerful. It would seem absurd for Longshot or Domino or Black Cat to get godlike powers, but it seemed appropriate for Wanda - there are some characters who have a dignity to them and who seem like heavy hitters, or potential heavy hitters, from the start - as if they have mysterious abilities of uncertain extent. It's usually "magical" characters, or characters who have an air of being involved in magic.
Posted by: Paul | August 12, 2013 5:09 PM
And don't forget Shamrock and Roulette! ;)
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | August 19, 2013 5:19 AM
Posted by: Paul | August 19, 2013 5:40 AM
You made your post here before you'd read either of my replies, meaning I was dead-on in the second part of my assessment (the part I didn't go explicitly into because it seemed to be based on an assumption merely) - you're harassing me and board-stalking me on here on purpose. It's personal and on purpose, rather than just a coincidence.
I react very poorly to this kind of antagonism, and would encourage you to stop before it goes any further.
Posted by: Paul | August 19, 2013 5:45 AM
I don't really believe this merits an explanation but i'm a chump so here goes: A lot of people who come here click on Recent Comments and see what people have commented on recently, and then reply to those comments. Paul has left a lot of comments here lately, and so Jay went through and replied to some of them. He even disagreed with some things that Paul said (!) but in this case he just winkingly added a few more of Marvel's low-level luck-powered people to a list. Completely normal. No foul on Jay's side at all, and Jay i hope this doesn't discourage you from commenting further.
Paul, the only thing that's going to happen if you "react very poorly" again is i'm going to have to ban you, because i'm tired of waking up to nonsense like this.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 19, 2013 8:50 AM
Thanks fnord12, I really appreciate that. I'm sorry if Paul thought I was stalking him. I really didn't notice that I was replying to his posts, specifically. I was just joining the conversations because they had come up fairly recently in the "All Comments" stream and looked interesting.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | August 19, 2013 2:50 PM
For what it's worth I actually agree with Paul's assessment of Wanda's ability in comparison to Longshot & Domino's (and Shamrock's) powers which are mostly their own personal luck-aka focusing on a positive outcome and having things go their way. Black Cat's (and Roulette's) powers are a bit more like Wanda's as they affect other people's luck badly but the scale of their abilities is much less powerful than Wanda's.
I think the main problem with this particular revelation was that Wanda's powers travelled back in time and changed the past. (I think that was later proven to be not the case... *cough*Loki*cough*). The clearest description of Wanda's powers I read somewhere was making the improbable- probable and the impossible possible.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | August 19, 2013 7:28 PM
If both title had kept a single writer, AWC might have worked, but as it turns out the expansion destroys what made Avengers great and we get 10 years of mostly mediocre comics from both coasts' teams.
What makes the Avengers the Avengers is 1) They're the all-star team, and 2) there's a family-like dynamic with Jan, Hank, Viz, Wanda, Clint, and Simon. To get the classic Avengers feel, you usually need some of the all-star aspect and the family aspect, plus some new blood.
That formula was impossible once AWC got going. There are only three all-stars--Cap, Thor, and IM. If you just have one of them, you aren't the Justice League, you're Batman and the Outsiders. To make sure AWC doesn't become that, most of the Family are put on the West Coast team too, but that's just as bad, since IM constantly feels out of place amid the deep soap opera of his teammates. Meanwhile, because the odds of getting specifically Cap and Thor in the same place at the same time are much lower than the chances of getting two out of three between Cap, Thor, and IM, the East Coast team actually becomes Captain America and the Outsiders for much of the next ten years. Bob Harras will try to start a new "family" with the Black Knight and Sersi, but the best bits of his run feel more like an X-Men knockoff than classic Avengers.
Stern might have been able to build up both books, and he might have kept them woven together to strengthen each other. But without a common guide (abpnd even once they have one with Byrne) neither book feels like the Avengers.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | October 22, 2013 11:54 PM
Genuine footnote: Gruenwald and Stern hatched the WCA concept while attending a convention in my small hometown of Rome, GA! Probably somewhere around the duck pond where I had a barefoot picnic (uh, watch where you step around duck habitats) with a very bright girl friend. Roger pleasantly recalled this was the case when I corresponded with him. Was it perhaps mentioned in the letters column? (Don't have my collection with me.) He was one of the most talented people to ever write superhero comics; he should still have monthly books!
Posted by: Cecil Disharoon | July 4, 2014 12:38 AM
Not to get too off-topic, but to continue with the theme of the posts ... I often get annoyed with the "Englehart/Byrne/Benids ruined Wanda" argument because I whole-heartedly disagree. There are seeds of her eventual undoing in as far back as Stan Lee's and Roy Thomas' issues of Avengers. The mob that tried to kill her, the slavery at the hands of Magneto, the overbearingness of Pietro, the loss of her powers, the near rape by Arkon, the disappearance of Pietro in the Sentinel mound, followed by his rejection of her after her love for Vision is made clear ... that's a lot for a young woman to take, and all that happened before Englehart got his hands on her the first time.
Then don't forget Englehart had her learn ACTUAL witchcraft to enhance her powers, and the "Knights of Wundagore" story where she was possessed ... I'm actually amazed the breakdown didn't happen sooner.
Point being, she's always been depicted as a hurt/scared broken character, going back to X-Men #4, and that's why she's always been my favorite.
Posted by: Jeff | September 11, 2014 3:40 PM
There's a difference between having horrible things HAPPEN to you and being crazy or evil. Wanda wasn't crazy or evil until Byrne.
Posted by: Michael | September 11, 2014 10:30 PM
Reading all of these comments makes me wonder if I am the only person who genuinely liked West Coast Avengers. It doesn't hold up as well as it did for me when I was a teenager, but it was one of my favorite books for a long time. Maybe it helped that I grew up in LA and all the other damn books were all taking place in New York.
Posted by: Erik Beck | May 19, 2015 5:11 PM
No, I quite liked it too, at least for the first half of the run or so.
Posted by: Thanos6 | May 19, 2015 5:20 PM
Count me among the Wackos fans as well. I recognize its flaws but it was one of my favorite books growing up and I still like to look at my back issues every few years.
Posted by: Robert | May 19, 2015 6:42 PM
I'm another Whackos fan. The book may not have been perfect, but it is still one of my favourite series...and there were a few points during its run that it was my favourite of the two Avengers books at the time.
Posted by: Dermie | May 20, 2015 12:58 AM
Crazy to see all the Englehart WCA hate here in the comments. I liked both his and Byrne's runs on it.
Posted by: Urban Commando | March 9, 2017 1:49 AM
This series was a bit uneven but always had one thing going for it, it didn't feature Starfox or Captain Marvel/Photon.
Posted by: MindlessOne | May 1, 2017 11:47 PM
Starfox is definitely awful, but what's wrong with Captain Marvel/Photon? Other than being a bit overpowered at times, that is.
Posted by: J-Rod | May 2, 2017 10:14 AM
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