West Coast Avengers #10
Issue(s): West Coast Avengers #10
Tigra is upset because she needs to hunt down Master Pandemonium as per her agreement with the Cat King...
...and she's fairly irrational about blaming the Thing for the delay. Despite her declaration above, though, she does help the rest of the team look for the Thing, and next issue we'll see her lounging by the pool, so this isn't exactly a turning point for her.
The team get a tip luring them to a beach (weirdly contrasted with the Savage Land)...
...where they are instead attacked by a new villain, the awfully named Headlok.
In addition to mental powers of misdirection, Headlok is also in control of the Griffin, who is now totally feral.
Tigra sees the fully regressed Griffin as a "nightmare version" of herself.
After the now "full-fledged" Wonder Man enjoys a rematch against the creature that once caused him a lot of terror before he got over his fear of death...
...he gets possessed by Headlok and sent against the rest of the team.
Mockingbird uses her training to determine where Headlok is actually located.
Like her recent fight against Master Pandemonium, it's nice to see the non-powered Mockingbird using her specialized skills in an effective way. That said, the execution of her sequence here is a little dumb.
The West Coast Avengers are helped in their fight by an off panel Thing...
...who remains in shadow at the end of the issue (looking decidedly less mutated than at the end of his own series), and apologizes for not being able to join the group.
Firebird parts company with the Avengers this issue. She decides that it was God's will that she be humbled by having the team pick the Thing over her, and she's decided to retreat for a while. Hawkeye promises to look into the vision that she had in issue #8. Ironically, while the West Coast Avengers are putting out an all points bulletin for the Thing with the Fantastic Four and the East Coast Avengers, Hawkeye learns from the Wasp that the six member limit is not even in effect any more...
...so Hawkeye could have recruited both Firebird and the Thing. In the end he has neither.
Mr. Fantastic looks a little hurt when he hears that the Thing was planning to join the Avengers.
Englehart covers a lot of nice ground, reminding us of Wonder Man's previous fight with the Griffin, showing us Mr. Fantastic's reaction to the Thing considering joining another group, giving us a little history lesson on the Avengers' team size restrictions, and using the Griffin as a symbol for Tigra's concerns for devolving into a pure cat persona. But he also introduces a villain called Headlok. So we'll call that a draw.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The opening splash page of this issue seems to take place immediately after the end of last issue, when the Thing agreed to join the team. They agree to meet for an official ceremony in front of the press on "Saturday afternoon". Turning the page, the story starts for real on Saturday with the Thing a no show. Now, i don't know what day of the week it was when they first agreed to meet on Saturday, but i have Secret Wars II #9, Eternals #12, and Thing #33-36 between last issue and this issue, and it's definitely more than could have occurred in a non-sliding timescale compressed week, but that placement is by necessity. West Coast Avengers #8-9 begin with Thing and the Avengers teleporting back from the Cat dimension that they went to in issue #6 and going back any further than that would be asking for trouble. So we'll chalk it up to a temporal reference or assume that they had to reschedule the event for whatever reason. What is important is that this takes place after Thing #36.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): show
I like Firebird and want her to join. With all the Hispanics in California, the team really needs one.
Posted by: Steven Printz | February 16, 2014 8:17 PM
Headlok is true old-school villain: he never even gives the Avengers any explanation for why he wants to fight them, he just does.
Posted by: Tuomas | June 19, 2015 2:05 AM
I was actually a bit intrigued by Headlok at the time. I don't think the name is more awful than many others; it has a Silver Age feel to it. Did he ever show up again?
Posted by: Chris | June 19, 2015 2:28 AM
Yes, Fabian Nicieza uses him in both his Alpha Flight and Thunderbolt runs.
Posted by: fnord12 | June 19, 2015 2:49 AM
Out of curiosity: what's so wrong with "Headlok"? Does it mean anything in particular? The only thing it reminds me of is Deathlok...
BTW. Simon's "What a great fight!" is... facepalm-inducing... *resists making a Mad Max: Fury Road joke*
Another facepalm goes to Mockingbird waving her arms and shouting "Yes! He's to my left!". Shut up and just take the guy down, girl! :)
Posted by: Piotr W | July 2, 2015 3:20 PM
I guess it's just a personal thing for me, Piotr. Just in case you don't know, a headlock is a basic fighting/wrestling move where you put your arm around someone's head. I think a wizened man with mental powers having a name like that is just a terrible pun - it's not a headlock, it's a head lock! Ha ha!
I'm generally predisposed to disliking character names that are just weird misspellings of words, like Reptyl or Slyde, so that's part of problem. But in this case it's also that i don't see a guy that acts the way this character acts taking a jokey name. It's very.. comic book-y to me.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 2, 2015 4:10 PM
"I'm generally predisposed to disliking character names that are just weird misspellings of words"
Man, fnord, you must have hated every Masters of the Universe villain.
Posted by: Erik Beck | July 2, 2015 11:08 PM
Well, Skeletor was pretty awesome.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 3, 2015 12:45 AM
Posted by: cullen | July 3, 2015 2:17 AM
I admit that "Headlok" doesn't really bother me... What I can't stand are 90s-style generic names (which, I think, were popularized by the X-Men and Image Comics), especially of the "Deathblow" / "Killblow" / "Deathfist" variety.
Oh, and these guys from Hardcase's Harriers had some pretty awful names, too :)
Posted by: Piotr W | July 3, 2015 3:13 PM
Next up...Shootor! He uh shoots guns!
Posted by: david banes | July 3, 2015 3:38 PM
The Shootor era of He-Man was probably my favorite
Posted by: George Lochinski | November 18, 2016 4:13 PM
I actually liked Headlok's looks and I didn't mind his name. What bothered me is that he is never given a motive for attacking the Avengers. His mind-control powers are neat but fairly limited, so he's pretty much on a kamikaze mission, even with back-up from the Griffin. Why do something so risky instead of just committing a crime for profit as any sane supervillain would ? Does he want to make a name for himself ? Is he a masochist who WANTS to be sent to prison ? Meh.
Posted by: Freakazoid | May 16, 2018 6:00 AM
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