West Coast Avengers #1-4 (1984): 1st WCA

The West Coast Avengers were Vision’s idea, from Avengers #243.

I’ve read every issue of The Avengers ever written, up through Brian Michael Bendis’ run. It seems like everywhere I turn, there’s another book about a bunch of dudes who feel the need to call themselves Avengers. Remember when people had their own franchises? Like The Defenders? The Champions? Why is every group of two or more Marvel heroes called The Avengers? The answer, of course, is movie dollars. But let’s pretend it isn’t. Let’s pretend it’s all Roger Stern’s fault.

In 1984, Roger Stern and artist Bob Hall launched a miniseries—just four issues—with a terrific cover: Hawkeye,a bunch of heads, and a silhouetted corner box.

So: Who’s on the team? Hawkeye (leader), his wife Mockingbird, Tigra (who quit the original team after Molecule Man made her his sex slave), Iron Man (James Rhodes), and Wonder Man (because he’s already in California trying to be an actor).  That’s the original lineup.


Issue #1 is the Avengers Assemble issue.  They all meet at the Avengers’ “West Coast Compound.”  Tigra receives an invite from Vision, and Tigra’s friend Jessica Drew (who was de-powered in a recent Avengers story) sends The Shroud to the complex to make sure Tigra isn’t getting herself into trouble.  The WCAs fight Shroud for several pages, which is kind of bizarre—how can they not be able to defeat a single, D-list hero?

The issues that follow are not quite as good. Villains are a new guy called Blank…

…Who can “blank” himself, and he’s working for Graviton and Madame Masque. There’s a Casket of Winters tie-in. But it’s the character moments that matter, as always in a Roger Stern script.

One thing that is confusing: Tigra now has the ability to turn human…

…but still wears a trenchcoat disguise.


And it ends, as traditional team-formation books do, with a group shot…

Overall: Good stuff—a Roger Stern script from the 1980s is always worth reading. This is one of the top 10 Marvel Miniseries of the 1980s. It’s also one of my favorite Avengers’ lineups.

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