West Coast Avengers #41
Issue(s): West Coast Avengers #41
The Avengers have called in Daimon Hellstrom to investigate Mockingbird's claim that the modern Hamilton Slade is the incarnation of his dead ancestor, Lincoln Slade, the Phantom Rider that raped Mockingbird in the past. They meet at the University of Nevada, where the Tom DeFalcos frolic in the park.
While Hellstrom is investigating Slade, he also notices something odd about Moon Knight.
But he goes forward with the exorcism of Hamilton Slade and finds that he's possessed by not one, but two Phantom Rider spirits.
One is Lincoln Slade, and the other is Carter Slade, the original Phantom Rider, and brother to Lincoln (making him Hamilton's great-great uncle). Carter is here to stop Lincoln, who he says was never worthy of the Phantom Rider mantle.
Also note Hellstorm's new costume. It's really going in the other direction after all those years of going around shirtless.
Watching the spirits fight, Hellstorm realizes that another spirit is needed to settle things, so he exorcises Khonshu from Moon Knight.
Meanwhile, in Asgard, the battle between Seth's Egyptian god forces and the Asgardians and Celtics rages on...
...and when Khonshu is detected on Earth, Seth's General Cheops sends his minions to Earth to prevent Khonshu, who is after all part of the Egyptian pantheon, from interfering. They arrive while Khonshu is explaining to Moon Knight that he's been controlling his body for a while now.
So basically, there is a hell of a lot of stuff going on in this fill-in issue! Hellstorm! Phantom Riders! Seth's minions! Khonshu!
And a cool shot of Tigra.
Too bad the college kids are all so jaded, they think it's all just a bunch of holograms.
We also see Mockingbird, at least, backing away from the idea that her team of Avengers are ok with killing.
Which makes sense. Mockingbird's situation was very specifically about the guy who raped her.
Lincoln winds up getting defeated by Carter, who tells Hamilton that it's cool for him to continue on as the modern day Phantom Rider.
And Seth's minions are driven back, and they retreat.
And Khonshu tells Moon Knight that he's done playing around in his body...
...and Moon Knight decides to quit the Avengers to deal with all that he's learned.
Tigra suggests that she and Mockingbird therefore go back and rejoin the main West Coast Avengers team, but Mockingbird isn't ready for that.
If nothing else, this issue gets us past this strange period for Moon Knight (who is getting his own series again later in 1989) where he was in direct contact with his godly patron. In Englehart's run, the character had gotten pretty far away from his regular themes. To be fair to Englehart, Moon Knight isn't the most interesting character so i can understand the impulse to play up his Egyptian connection. And it also made him a more fitting Mighty Avenger; several times Moon Knight got knocked out or otherwise wound up with Khonshu in direct control of his body, which helped the Avengers out. But without turning him into a Thor-like character, it's hard to know where you could go with that set-up, especially in a solo series.
But on top of that, it settles the looming vengeance issue for Mockingbird and otherwise sets things up for John Byrne's run. The issue actually does a lot of work for a single fill-in, and still manages to be a relatively coherent story despite what is, to me, an overwhelming number of Phantom Riders (zero is my preferred number). It might actually be a great idea, whenever a regular writer leaves a book, to just have the editors come in and bite the bullet and write a story that just wraps up all the loose ends and resets the status quo for the next writer. That's not exactly what happens here, and if this issue went so far as to reconcile Hawkeye and Mockingbird it would have felt too pat, but it's a good step in that direction.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: This takes place during Thor #396-400. I'm keeping the Thor issues as a single entry and placing this directly afterwards with the idea that events are taking place concurrently, but the MCP has Sif, Lier, and Set's brief appearance at the beginning occurring between Thor #399-400.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showBanshee (Horse), Banshee (Western Era Horse), Hellstorm, Khonshu, Leir, Mockingbird, Moon Knight, Night Rider (Carter Slade), Night Rider (Hamilton Slade), Night Rider (Lincoln Slade), Seth, Sif, Tigra
It's not Seth that thinks the "even him" line but one of his minions, a General Cheops. It's also Cheops who sends the minions after Khonshu, because he's afraid Khonshu will stop their plans.
Posted by: Michael | September 7, 2014 6:46 PM
Thanks, Michael. Revised the entry regarding Cheops.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 7, 2014 6:54 PM
Moon Knight would not be an Avengers again until the first volume of Secret Avengers in 2010. Tigra goes back to the WCA, giving them five members.
Posted by: Steven Printz | September 7, 2014 7:50 PM
Now that's an awesome fill in issue. So many sub-plots dealt with and a fantastic battle to boot. It has so much going on but gives a lot of space for character and continuity. Makes perfect sense that Seth would go after Konshu.
Posted by: kveto from prague | September 8, 2014 3:41 PM
@Steve Printz: I'm fairly certain you are mistaken. Roughly at the time of Infinity War Moon Knight was still receiving calls from the Avengers, albeit failing to answer them. He and Spider-Man even agree to keep in touch during "Round Robin" by Avengers communication cards.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | September 8, 2014 5:22 PM
Moon Knight destroyed his Avengers card in Moon Knight #50. He didn't take part in Operation Galactic Storm or any other mission. In Volume 3 #1 he makes a cameo but takes off without participating. He may have shown up at the time of Disassembled, but he didn't join any team. He only became an active Avenger again in Secret Avengers.
Posted by: Steven Printz | September 9, 2014 12:44 AM
That is certainly a valid reading. I believe he also appeared in a few crowd scenes - probably one when Captain America reestablishes the team somewhere later in 1989 IIRC, and at least one during Avengers Disassemble.
Avengers Disassemble had a lot of people hanging around just to remind them that they were technically former Avengers, it seems.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | September 9, 2014 11:14 AM
Another of my least favorite WCA issues. Opening it, I didn't think I was reading an issue of Thor and that was what bothered me. Don't take your random storyline and force feed it into my comic!
I also found it really odd that at the end, Moon Knight's costume has basically changed back to his original one, without the gold bands.
It was, I agree, good to clean up the slate a bit going into Byrne's run. Still, they didn't do it completely and the start of next issue was a little confusing, with Hank, Jan and Tigra back at the compound (as I recall, WCA #42 came out before the issue of Solo Avengers where Hank's wife turns out to be a fake). I wasn't thrilled to have Tigra back as I wasn't a big fan, but Byrne will quickly remove her anyway.
Posted by: Erik Beck | August 15, 2015 7:53 AM
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