Characters Appearing: Alkhema, Hawkeye, Henry Pym, Iron Man, Living Lightning, Mockingbird Skrull, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter), Tigra, Ultron, USAgent, War Machine, Wasp
Avengers West Coast annual #8
Issue(s): Avengers West Coast annual #8
I can just imagine Roy Thomas' thought process:
I have to create a new @!#?@! character for this annual? I just created thirty @!#?@! new characters for my Pacific Overlords story and the fan reaction was a collective "Meh." Alkhema, the Bogatyri, Deathweb, Living Lightning... i create new @!#?@! characters every @!#?@! month, and no one cares, and now suddenly we're making a thing of it? Well @!#?@! it, I'm done. They're getting a @!#?@! bird man. And if anyone complains, i'll tie him in to Red Raven and the Bird-People so fast it will make their heads spin.
At least this bird man has teeth. That's an innovation.
And what better villains to use to highlight the capabilities of your toofy big bird than a pair of indestructible robots?
Here is "Raptor" in his civilian form.
Sometimes i wonder if Roy Thomas secretly hates comic books.
My favorite characteristic of Thomas' Ultron is that he just will not shut up. I've joked before that he must speak in a high pitched blur in order to get all those words in. It's clearly disorienting to War Machine. "...a sensation-favoring-- whu? Arrhh--!"
In Alkhema's last appearance, we were told that if we were "hopelessly addicted to more descriptive epithets", we could call her War Toy. But by now i think we're supposed to have kicked that addiction.
The Avengers get defeated and captured by Ultron and Alkhema. But that's when Pocket Protector Lad turns into Raptor.
It would have been funny if Raptor was executed by Ultron the minute he appeared.
"He was no threat to us before -- but now he's a @!#?@! joke."
But Raptor escapes after picking up an Avengers ID card dropped by Mockingbird. Tony Stark - probably bored to tears from being bedridden - tries to contact Mockingbird just to chat and gets an earful of squawking instead.
Stark activates his remote Iron Man armor and calls in some reserve West Coasters. I notice that Darkhawk is not included. But we do get Living Lightning, Tigra ("fresh from 'Oztralia'), the Wasp, and Henry Pym.
The story does the 'split the team up to go after various Macguffins' thing, where they then have to fight the brainwashed captured Avengers. My favorite panel:
Iron Man draws the short straw and gets teamed up with the new bird guy, and things actually start off with a pointless fight.
Well, i call it a fight, but Raptor can't actually hurt Iron Man, for a couple of reasons.
Raptor is equally ineffective against Ultron.
Granted so is everyone else, but when you introduce a new character you normally have them contribute to the story in some way.
Ultron is actually defeated thanks to a betrayal by Alkhema, who has more fun killing people on a small scale and doesn't like Ultron's current plans to kill everyone at once.
Note Ultron calling Alkhema "War Toy". He really knows how to twist the knife.
In the end there is of course no talk of making Raptor an Avenger. I bet he made for great conversations years later, though. "Hey, remember that bird guy? Did that really happen? Was that real life?".
Raptor is mentioned in a Civil War handbook (where i understand it's said that he got into a fight with Le Peregrine, which really deserved its own dedicated issue), but otherwise doesn't appear again.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: This should probably take place before Henry Pym returns to being Giant-Man for the East Coast Avengers in Avengers #362-366. Tigra's comment about being here fresh from "Oztralia" can't be taken literally. She was left in Australia in Avengers West Coast #70-74, but she's appeared since then. Her appearance in Iron Man #284 might be written off as an art mistake, but she also appeared in Avengers West Coast #83. That story did have a kind of fill-in feel, but it was explicitly written to take place after Operation: Galactic Storm (and hence after #70-74), and it was written by Roy Thomas, so it's weird that Thomas himself seems to be ignoring it here. We can assume that Tigra went back to Australia for a vacation or something.
Iron Man's appearance here places this after Iron Man #290-291.
Crossover: 1993 Annuals
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Ultron actually does have a high-pitched voice in my head, and now you have me wondering if that's because the first Ultron issues I read were by Roy Thomas.
Posted by: Mortificator | October 20, 2016 5:00 PM
In my head, Ultron has a screeching and slightly manic voice. That's why I couldn't fully appreciate the movie Ultron... he sounded way too low and dignified.
Posted by: Piotr W | October 21, 2016 4:18 PM
In my head Ultron has the voice of the observer robot from "The Venture Bros." cartoon, the one that ran around screaming "IGNORE ME!" So, kind of funny and sinister at the same time.
Posted by: Jeff | October 21, 2016 11:06 PM
Raptor looks like a homage to DC's Man-Bat.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | January 24, 2017 3:18 PM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|