West Coast Avengers #3
Issue(s): West Coast Avengers #3
Mockingbird thinks, "But that's impossible -- isn't it? I mean, the Vision's human in the head, but the rest of him's plastic and wires--!"
Tigra is not happy with her performance in the fight against Ultron. Her flashback depicts a scene not shown in V&SW #2; apparently after Wonder Man and the Vision went after the Grim Reaper, Tigra attacked Ultron as a diversion for Iron Man but wound up knocking the robot into a computer console where he recharged his power, and then escaped.
So the good news is that Ultron didn't get punched out by Wonder Man as we seemed to see at the end of V&SW #2, but it does raise the question of why Ultron would flee. We do know that the Scarlet Witch was there, and he's always been vulnerable to her (she caused him to lose an arm earlier in that story). That plus the fact that this wasn't really his scheme - he was helping the Grim Reaper re-create his brother, and that plan had already been nixed - so why stick around? Hey, i'm doing what i can here... it's really odd to have the fight from last issue wrapped up in a flashback here, especially when one of the participants is Ultron, normally a headliner-level threat. And that's not even getting into the fact that Ultron is powered by an internal fusion reactor; pretty sure he doesn't need to recharge with computer wires.
Anyway, Tigra assumes that everyone else is as upset with her performance as she was, so after some griping she jumps out of the Quinjet to go off on her own, and quickly gets into a solo fight against Kraven the Hunter.
While she's chasing Kraven, she's hit on by a guy in a convertible who, among other things, tells her that he's glad that LA has its own Avengers team - not like "that black guy" or the Champions. Tigra responds by hopping in his car and giving him a kiss, with tongue, before returning to her hunt.
She thinks to herself that she'd "never have been this free if I'd stayed Greer Nelson the feminist". I'm not sure i agree with that dichotomy. There's nothing wrong with a sexually liberated comic book character, and i could just as easily imagine the Beast, swashbuckling era Daredevil, or pre-marriage Hawkeye doing the same sort of thing. I do think Tigra has been mishandled over the years and emphasizing this aspect of her character to exclusion is the wrong move. So this story, which is mainly focused on her, is worth looking at.
And unfortunately the point Englehart wants to make here is that it's ok to make mistakes and rely on teammates. Which is actually a fine point to make. Despite a valiant attempt, Tigra is unable to defeat Kraven alone, and she needs Hawkeye and Mockingbird to come in and help.
The problem is that saying that Tigra can't defeat a lone Spider-Man villain sort of validates her concern that she doesn't belong on the Avengers. Now i'll argue that Kraven's training and abilities are especially suited to taking on a cat-person. And this is an Avengers book, not a Tigra book. But all those caveats and excuses aside, this is essentially a story where Tigra has doubts about herself, tries to strike out on her own, and then has those doubts proven for her. Tigra basically accepts the "teamwork" message only because Englehart has run out of pages and intends to keep her on the team.
We also see her continuing to latch on to Henry Pym, which is creepy especially in light of the fact that the renewed effort seems like it's due to her personal failures. At the same time, both Iron Man and Wonder Man have also been expressing interest in her.
Since this series started there's been a lot of talk about how the team has a sixth membership slot open. I know six is the new self-imposed limit, but the Avengers team size has varied going all the way back to Cap's Kooky Quartet, so it doesn't seem like a pressing need on a team that has Wonder Man plus, now, the original Iron Man. But i get that Hawkeye is trying to prove himself and wants to be sure that his team is as powerful as it can be.
Henry Pym offers to oversee the running of the West Coast compound. Less Jarvis and more "Higgins on Magnum P.I.", he'd be responsible for maintaining their equipment. But it doesn't make him the sixth member. So, in what will turn out to be the biggest tease of the 80s, who should show up at their door but the Thing?
Scourge appearance: He was tracking Kraven, but he doesn't want to shoot while there's a chance he could hit Tigra. I joke about Kraven's leopardskin capris and slippers, but i have a feeling if Scourge had actually tried to shoot Kraven, the Scourge plotline would have ended a lot earlier.
My complaints about the handling of Tigra are at a content level, the choices Englehart is making. From a readability standpoint, the writing seems a lot better this issue, maybe now that the plotting isn't at an epic scale. There's still some stiff dialogue and overly histrionic dialogue as these angsty characters talk to each other, but i found this issue better than the previous two. Same with the art, again probably due to the difference in scale. Not saying it's great - the usual Milgrom complaints apply - but it's better in this context.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This issue opens in the aftermath of the battle at the end of Vision & the Scarlet Witch #2 as the mutant/synthezoid couple part ways with the Avengers. They are next seen in their own book taking a long walk home. The MCP has the Thing appear here between issues #32-33 of his series. Issue #4 of this book picks up soon after the end of this one; no characters here should appear elsewhere in between.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (5): show
The strange thing about the "feminist" quote was that Englehart was never overtly sexist or anti-feminist back in the 1970s(compared to say, Roy Thomas' less proud moments). He may have been referring to the then-current brand of feminism embodied by the late Andrea Dworkin, which was anti-sexual(not just anti-sexist)in the extreme. Not that Dworkin represented all feminists back then, but she did tend to drown the others out.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 14, 2012 7:19 PM
According to Wikipedia, Englehart felt the character of Greer was "pandering" to feminists:
Posted by: Michael | July 14, 2012 7:31 PM
Convertible guy's thought about Tigra's rough tongue brings up questions about her anatomy that I'd rather not think about.
Posted by: Robert | April 4, 2015 2:52 PM
So glad Scourge didn't kill Kraven, as we wouldn't have had Kraven's Last Hunt.
Also, it's one thing to sit around the mansion in Manhattan. It's another thing to sit around outside in LA. They all know you're Tony Stark. Take off the damn helmet at least.
Posted by: Erik Beck | May 30, 2015 2:48 PM
Even though Scourge didn't kill Kraven here, I guess he would still got to scratch him off the list in a little while. Wasn't Kraven too big a name for Scourge anyway?
Posted by: Bill | May 30, 2015 5:11 PM
Well, Scourge isn't supposed to think so.
Posted by: JP | May 30, 2015 7:27 PM
Well, yeah, I mean Scourge wouldn't think so, but from a real world editorial standpoint? I thought Scourge was supposed to "clean the decks" of C-list level villains. Wouldn't Kraven have been considered better than that or had his stock fallen to that level by then? (Not that I'm saying he was A-level to start with...)
Posted by: Bill | May 30, 2015 7:59 PM
Its sort of tough to say who exactly Scourge was after considering that his victims eventually included a founding Master of Evil (Melter) and one of the Serpent Society. Most of the other ones, including the ones in the Bar at No Name, were either one-shots or so bizarre that there was probably a belief of "no one would miss them if they're gone". Considering Kraven still had some notability (let alone is sort of still a major Spidey villain at this point; at least B-list), his murder would have probably touched off some people ultimately and thus probably why it was for the better. (besides, as Erik Beck said: Kraven's survival here lead to a way better death later)
Posted by: Ataru320 | May 30, 2015 8:05 PM
Hi fnord, "While she's chasing Tigra" Should be while 'he's' after the scan of Kraven grabbing Tigra by the hair.
Posted by: JSfan | December 6, 2015 9:01 AM
Not that Kraven would necessarily recognize her, but wasn't Bobbi actually a part of the whole "Gog Takes Manhattan" plot, as Agent 18?
And given that Kraven once made her his (sex?) slave, I'm not shocked Tigra gets rattled by him.
Posted by: Dan Spector | August 21, 2016 8:18 PM
@Dan Spector: I think you refer to the Ka-Zar story in Astonishing Tales #17-18. Bobbi was there, but I don't think Kraven was.
It is IMO out of character for Kraven to speak demeaningly of Ka-Zar at this point (as he does while fighting Mockingbird). He has fought Ka-Zar twice already, after all. And he seemed to have a measure of respect for Kevin when they last met in Ka-Zar's own 1980s book.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | May 7, 2017 1:32 PM
Wearing Giants gear in Dodgertown own could have earned Scourge an ass whippin' as well.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | September 12, 2017 8:22 PM
Is that what that symbol is meant to be? I thought it was a mangled swastika.
Posted by: kveto from prague | September 13, 2017 2:47 PM
@kvetofromprague- Yeah, I believe that's a San Francisco Giants cap and jacket Scourge is wearing. The "SF" logo and the shade of orange are slightly altered so MLB couldn't say they used the actual logo without permission.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | September 13, 2017 5:49 PM
I would say, regarding the Scourge, that this appearance shows him to be pretty ballsy, attempting to assassinate a man who got all his credibility from hunting dangerous animals and was attuned, presumably, to surprise attacks. Reading this in real time, fairly early in the Scourge storyline, was probably a good way to show how serious a potential threat he was to supervillains since Kraven would have probably been one notch higher on the villain meter than Melter (and still well below the rungs occupied by Kingpin, Dr. Doom, Magneto, Ultron, and the like)
Posted by: Jonathon | November 17, 2017 1:55 AM
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