Hawkeye in trouble

West Coast Wednesdays: West Coast Avengers Annual #1

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West Coast Avengers Annual #1West Coast Avengers Annual, Issue 1 (1986)

WEST COAST CREDITS!

Writer: Steve Englehart

Breakdowns: Mark Bright

Finishes: Geof Isherwood

WEST COAST SUMMARY!

The teams decide they need all the help they can get with the United States government on their tail. This allows readers to check in with Avengers from the past and present. And just when it looks like things are looking up, the traitor is revealed to be Quicksilver (though the cover probably gave it away earlier). Apparently he felt neglected and took it out on the Avengers. Or something like that. From there, it’s Avengers fighting generic villains the Zodiac Cartel until the Vision flies in to save the day with hologram babies. Oh, hologram babies, what can’t you do?

WEST COAST THOUGHTS!

After escaping from the government, the members of both teams find the most conspicuous cave in America to hide in. It’s here they try to work out who betrayed them and decide what to do next. The pages that follow is a nice way to see where previous members of the Avengers are in the current Marvel universe. There are a lot of interesting panels that probably worked in getting twelve-year-old-me to check out other monthly titles at the time.

While sharp-eyed readers will notice Quicksilver popping in and out of the background throughout the first part of the book (it would’ve been fun if they had done this in the previous issue), he makes his appearance known on page 10. The next page is his confession and the reasons for why he betrayed everyone…and it doesn’t make much sense. Quicksilver has always been a problematic character for Marvel (this has changed in recent years), and here it’s pretty clear why: writers don’t know what to do with him.

The biggest problem with the book is that the Avengers vs. the U.S. government is side-stepped and replaced with Quicksilver and the Zodiac Cartel vs. the Avengers. Chapters are purposely divided to create set pieces for selected members of both sides to fight one another. So when the conflict between Quicksilver and the Avengers is resolved, there’s still the large matter of the U.S. government wanting the team for treason that is never mentioned again. In fact, within seconds after Quicksilver is taken off the table, Hawkeye immediately starts talking about continuing their baseball game. And while it’s a cute way to wrap things up, it’s painfully lazy.

How is Quicksilver dealt with, you ask? Well, I’m glad you brought that up. The Vision shows up with a magic ruby just when Quicksilver holds in his hand a vague weapon from the Australian government (don’t ask) to destroy everyone.  Using the ruby, the Vision is able to project the image of his children – Quicksilver’s nephews – before Quicksilver’s eyes. Basically, Vision says, “You claim to hate everyone, but can you possibly hate these two cute babies that couldn’t possibly exist because their father is a robot?” This is, naturally, too much for Quicksilver, and he runs away screaming, “Enough!”

Which was exactly what I was thinking too.

WEST BOAST OR ROAST?

Boast, but barely. This is certainly a step up from the previous part, but really makes no sense if you think about it for more than five seconds.

WEST COAST SCENE (OF THE WEEK)!

Ha! Ha! Ha! It’s funny because the Avengers are throwing their weapons (one of them god-like) at Hawkeye…

Hawkeye in trouble

3 thoughts on “West Coast Wednesdays: West Coast Avengers Annual #1

  1. Technically, the Zodiac CARTEL is the twelve costumed crimelords (some of whom have had to be replaced a time or two) first seen in Avengers v.1 #72. These are the Zodiac Androids, created by Scorpio in Defenders v.1 (Jesus, it gets tiring going “v.1” all the f’ing time…) #50. (Which is, IMO, the best comic book Dave Kraft ever wrote. Just saying.) Of course the differences between the two will be dramatically shown later in this series…

  2. Oh, and as noted on a letters page somewhere, the Black Widow gets a lot of play here because Steve thought he was going to be taking over Daredevil at this point. He wound up with Fantastic Four instead, where he starts the whole “Two Dooms” plot that plays back into this book, when Quicksilver reappears.

    (And the part of Whitey’s motivation you glossed over is the bit from the Vision/Scarlet Witch maxi-series; Norman Webster strikes again!)

    It’s also pretty cool to see Thor being a dick and accusing Hank Pym, keeping consistent characterization with Avengers v.1 #224, the “Tony Stark makes an ass of himself by hitting on a newly-divorced Jan Pym. Because Tony doesn’t get enough pussy without trying to nail his friend’s vulnerable ex-wife who hasn’t dated anyone else since she was 17. For fuck’s sake, Tony, get a grip”, issue. When Cap and Thor find out about this, Steve is like “Jesus!” but Goldilocks is all “yes, he betrayed us, take his woman!” so the Thunder Douche is well-portrayed here, even if someone might have pointed out that Hank wasn’t actually guilty that time, either. Just sayin’.

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