West Coast Wednesdays: Avengers Annual #15 4


Avengers Annual #15Avengers Annual, Issue 15 (1986)

WEST COAST CREDITS!

Writer: Danny Fingeroth

Breakdowns: Steve Ditko

Finishes: Klaus Janson

WEST COAST SUMMARY!

The Avengers from both coasts meet in Kansas City for their annual baseball game. But just when the game was getting interesting, Freedom Force – made up of mostly reformed villains – arrives with a warrant for their arrest. After a long fight, the teams are taken out by Freedom Force and sent to a secret government base in the Rocky Mountains where they are accused of treason. They’re sent to the Vault to await their trial where they are put into cells that leave them powerless. Spider-Woman, a member of Freedom Force, has doubts about the Avengers being under arrest and helps them to escape.

WEST COAST THOUGHTS!

Oh, boy! Steve Ditko and Klaus Janson. Now there’s a combination I never thought I’d see. That said, the art is more Janson than it is Ditko, but there are some panels where you can see Ditko’s influence plain as day.

This annual amounts to 6 pages of both Avengers teams playing baseball, 16 pages of fighting, 6 pages of speeches, and 11 pages of additional fighting. And this is my way of saying that there’s not a lot going on here. The issue feels stuffed, that’s for sure, but it comes across as being more filler than anything of substance. Take the way the government decides to arrest the Avengers for treason based on the testimony of a mystery Avenger. One of the underlining mysteries in this story is who the traitor could be – it’ll certainly be one of the big reveals in the second part of this story – which makes it more strange why this part of the story is treated so casually in the first part. There’s no weight. Just a lot of moments I’m confident Fingeroth felt would be cool on the page, but just falls flat when executed.

By the way, it’s cool that the demon stalking Hank Pym at the very end of West Coast Avengers #13 let him go on this trip to play baseball. Most demons portrayed in comic books are never shown to be this considerate.

WEST BOAST OR ROAST?

Roast. It tries, it really does, but this one’s stuffed with too much nonsense to qualify as a good story. If this were a normal 22 page monthly, I’d probably be on board. But for an annual, it’s a poor excuse for an event.

WEST COAST SCENE (OF THE WEEK)!

Sometimes the team overcompensates when Cap delivers a terrible speech…

I believe in the American Dream

Comments


About Christian A. Dumais

Christian A. Dumais is an American writer, humorist and public speaker living in Wrocław, Poland. He has published fiction, journalism, and academic articles in several magazines and journals such as GUD, Shock Totem and Ha!Art. His first collection of short stories, Empty Rooms Lonely Countries, was published in 2009. He also created, edited, and contributed to Cover Stories, a euphictional anthology of 100 stories inspired by songs, which was published in 2010. His most recent book is SMASHED: The Life and Tweets of Drunk Hulk.


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4 thoughts on “West Coast Wednesdays: Avengers Annual #15

  • NFPendleton

    Today’s writing is spare in comparison, especially since now it’s a no-no to get inside a character’s head or explain too much with captions. You almost forget how wordy the old books used to be, and some writers were more verbose than others. I remember actually losing my temper with Roy Thomas on ocassion because he would explain in as many words as possible what what happening in each panel. It’s a slog to get through some of those books from the 70s and 80s.

    This is a nice treat, though, art-wise. From the few panels I see here, the May-December art team is pretty good. As always, Janson’s inks are insane, and he often dominates his pencilling collaborators.

  • Christian A. Dumais Post author

    Claremont was crazy-heavy with the exposition. I remember reading somewhere that Stan Lee overused to caption boxes just to compensate for the disconnect between the art and writing, but I imagine there was often a disconnect with the Marvel house style of writing (at least back then).

    Yeah, the Ditko-Janson marriage is a nice surprise. I forgot how much I like Janson’s inks.