1984 · The 80s

May 1984: West Coast Avengers 1 – Or, for a robot, the Vision can’t organise for s**t

Synopsis: West Coast Avengers 1 was written by Roger Stern with art by Bob Hall and Brett Breeding and opens up with Clint ‘Hawkeye’ Barton (now heading up his own West Coast division of the Avengers) declaring “Avengers Assemble”. The only problem is that there is no one there except for his newlywed wife Roberta/Bobbi ‘Mockingbird’ Morse. The team has a new compound, a charter from the Avengers Chairman the Vision, but no actual members. Vision calls them and mentions that he has sent some messages to former members to bolster their ranks.

We then get introductions to Greer ‘Tigra’ Nelson who is just saying goodbye to Jessica ‘used to be Spider-Woman’ Drew after working for her private investigation company. We also get to see Simon ‘Wonder Man’ Williams working as a stuntman on a movie set. Also featured is James ‘Iron Man’ Rhodes who is summoned as well. Tigra and Iron Man meet at the compound, but both have no idea why they have been asked for.  Unknown to them Drew has asked for someone to keep an eye on Tigra. Hawkeye meets the new arrivals and briefs them about the new team. During this  Tigra points out that she’s not keen to join when the security systems detect an intruder. Who takes advantage of both darkness and a lack of any leadership or teamwork on the part of this nascent team to battle the Avengers to something of a standstill.

 

This ‘bad guy’ is shown to be the Shroud, a lesser known hero posing as a criminal to destroy the criminals from within (a bit like the Green Hornet, but without Bruce Lee) he declines the offer, seeing as being an Avenger would hamper both his activities and theirs. Then Wonder Man arrives and has no idea what’s going on and Hawkeye has to start explaining all over again.

Notes: It’s hard to imagine in a post Marvel Cinematic Universe world that the AVengers was just one book. We’ve since had New Avengers, Young Avengers, Uncanny Avengers, Mighty Avengers and so on and so forth, but this was the first Avengers spin-off title. Rather than a more traditional ‘getting the bad together’ story, this is a lot more shambolic, leaging you with the impression that this was an Avengers B team and a second tier comic but that doesn’t really count as a negative. Stern writes a bombastic and eager Hawkeye, clearly loving this chance to shine and the moments between him and Mockingbird definitely add some much needed heart to the story. It’s easy to see Mockingbird as a cheap Black Canary knock-off, but as a scientist and former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent with her own mind and skills the similarities are just on the surface. The inexperienced and less than top shelf heroes don’t do  great against the Shroud, but there’s a lot of decent action. This isn’t flashy or milestone, but a fun comic that promises more, best start to a limited series you can get.

Next Time: The future, well 3 years from now.

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