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Avengers West Coast #65: Review

Dec 1990
Roy Thomas, Paul Ryan

Story Name:

Whatsoever a man soweth ...

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers West Coast #65 Review by (June 3, 2023)
Dann Thomas co-writes with husband Roy again.

The main story in this issue is The Reaper And The Robot part 1 of 4. But there's also a backup starring Human Torch.

2 of the gravestones in the cemetery on page 1 are names of chars from DP7, a series which Paul Ryan pencilled and which ended with the termination of the New Universe fairly recently.

Nekra made another attempt to zombify Eric Williams between Vision & Scarlet Witch vol 2 #12 and here, in Web Of Spider-Man #46, but it failed.
Then she also had minor apps during Acts Of Vengeance in Alpha Flight #79-80 and Avengers Spotlight #29.

Unusually for Roy Thomas the backstory of Eric and Nekra given here doesn't quite match up with their previous apps.
Grim Reaper and Nekra were lovers when they conspired with Black Talon to raise a zombie lookalike of Simon Williams (V&SWv2#1). And Eric did die in V&SWv2#2.
It was in V&SWv2#12 that Nekra said she rescued Eric's body then studied Voodoo under BT (rather than after that issue). And she used that combined with stuff she'd learned earlier from the Cult Of Kali (Spider-Woman #16) and some West African tribes (Shanna The She-Devil #5) to resurrect him in that issue as a zombie that could pass as human. But when he realised he was a zombie he died again (while kissing her).
So BT was never actively involved in raising Eric from the grave. However he *did* revive Wonder Man (in Avengers #151-152) while working for GR.

Presumably Simon has been supportive to Wanda since the Immortus thing in #61-62, but I don't think we've seen any evidence of it. Before that she was angry with him for refusing to let Vision have his brain patterns again (since #45). He relented in #53 but Vision then said he didn't want them. But Wanda wasn't herself between then and #62.

I don't know why the Satannish cultists are chanting "Ka nama kaa lajerama". Following Robert E Howard, Marvel chars in many issues have used that phrase to expose Serpent Men.

The last Ultrons in this series were U-11 and U-12 who fought each other in #7. This U-13 was created by Dr Doom in Daredevil #275-276.

Sub-Mariner appeared to be killed in an explosion in Iron Man Annual #10, an early part of the Atlantis Attacks Annuals event. Since then he has supposedly been considered dead by the world.
Indeed many of the apps that the Marvel Chronology Project places between that issue and this support that idea. The immediately preceding Hulk #370-371 sees a reunion of the original Defenders where Hulk is surprised to see him alive. Before that Namor The Sub-Mariner #1 shows him working behind the scenes to create the company Oracle Inc. And before that the MCP includes lots of apps in Marvel Comic Presents where he's wandering the oceans alone. And he is also seen in later parts of Atlantis Attacks helping the good guys in disguise.
However *some* heroes must have known he was alive. In the climax of AA in Fantastic Four Annual #22 he fights alongside them openly as himself. And he's also involved against his will in the Acts Of Vengeance event that follows soon after.
But soon after this issue he will again become publicly known as the head of Oracle.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers West Coast #65 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Simon Williams (Wonder Man) stands over the grave of his brother Eric and reminisces about their past. As a kid Eric was always the risk taker while Simon played it safe. Simon took over the family munitions business when their dad died while Eric turned to gambling and later joined the mob. But it was Simon who led the company to failure and embezzled from it. (He doesn't mention that he let people blame Eric for the latter.) Then (in a desperate bid to repay his debts) he got (let Baron Zemo's Masters Of Evil give him) superpowers as Wonder Man to infiltrate the Avengers. He died (a hero) (and his brain patterns were used for the Vision). Then Eric became Grim Reaper to get revenge on the Avengers (for Simon's death) and Vision for stealing his mind. Eric couldn't accept it when Simon came back to ionic life, but when he finally realised it was true (Vision & Scarlet Witch vol 2 #2) he fell off a cliff and died - which Simon says he suspected was suicide. Later Eric's lover Nekra raised him as a zombie (V&SWv2#12) but now he's at rest.

But when Simon leaves by quinjet Eric, dressed as Grim Reaper complete with scythe for a right hand, rises from his grave. It's Nekra's doing again but he's not happy being a zombie again - he says he doesn't want to take orders from a Voodoo priest like Black Talon. She assures him that he won't have to take orders from *anyone*, not even her. When they kissed as he died the 2nd time (V&SWv2#12) she realised how much she loved him, and then she learned from BT how to do Voodoo resurrections herself. But her particular spell means that he has to kill at least 1 human every 24 hours and absorb his life force via his scythe. A groundskeeper spots them and Nekra suggests he should be the 1st victim. But instead he kills *her* to *ensure* that no-one can order him around.

In grounds of the West Coast Avengers Compound Hawkeye is using a whirligig to move him randomly while he shoots arrows at targets. He's practising in the evening because last time he did it during the day (#42) he almost shot Scarlet Witch. U.S. Agent interrupts with a thrown shield to break his arrow. Hawkeye expresses his ongoing hostility to the man who the Government replaced him with as leader. Clint Barton punches the Agent in the face but the other guy stops his 2nd blow and throws him into a bush. The Witch and her brother Quicksilver show up to try to calm things down, as does Wonder Man when he steps out of the just-landed quinjet. The 2 rivals agree not to shake hands but leave.

Pietro goes inside too but Wanda Maximoff stays to thank Simon for his support while she's been recovering from everything that's happened to her lately (most recently being used as a nexus being by Immortus in #61-62). She's in civvies now because her Scarlet Witch hex power hasn't returned after #62, and she's resigned to starting a new life (without her husband Vision and their 2 unreal babies). Her admirer Simon suggests they nip off somewhere for a meal. She hesitates but then accepts and they head for a Mexican restaurant.

Meanwhile Grim Reaper announces himself to a cult in a WWII bunker praying to Satannish. They react badly, especially when he starts killing them with his scythe. He doesn't *need* to kill them all but after the 1st reinvigorates him he finds the act gives him a high. Only 1 female escapes ...

... and of course she runs into the very restaurant where Simon and Wanda are eating. Simon has been recognised as a film star (for his part in Arkon 5) but they don't realise he's an Avenger, and Wanda is just his 'date'. The fleeing woman only has chance to mention the bunker and Grim Reaper before she collapses on the floor. 2 cops are also in the place and they take charge as Simon pronounces her DOA. Wonder Man and Scarlet Witch make their identities known to them, and all 4 head to the bunker in their patrol car.

WM enters the bunker alone because he's invulnerable. He finds all the bodies dessicated and he's greeted by his brother. As they fight Eric explains that he needs to kill to survive, and Simon says it's his job to stop him. The other 3 enter. The cops' bullets have no effect on the Reaper, and he bats the cops aside to try to kill his brother. Simon lets the scythe touch his chest and as expected it can't hurt him. But it *can* hurt its wielder. GR feels all the stolen life energy drained from him, and Simon is sickened by the foul evil that he's absorbed.

Reaper turns to the other 3 to regain energy by killing them. Knowing their guns are useless the cops turn to the Witch for help. Wanda desperately tries to summon a hex but nothing happens. So she knocks over the only lamp still functioning in the place, plunging the cultists' bunker into darkness. Simon has recovered and pleads with Eric to let them help him. GR knows that WM won't let him kill the people here so he runs out into the night to find an easier victim.

We'll leave things there for this issue. But we have 1 more scene in this story. Henry Pym and Janet Van Dyne are off on vacation. Jan has persuaded Hank to rent a car (with no jack) and drive like normal folks rather than use his Rover flying vehicle. But now they have a flat tire miles from any service station in the middle of wheat fields. Luckily they're just in front of a farmhouse, but the husband and wife occupants deny having a jack to lend them. So Hank admits to Jan that he brought Rover along miniaturised in his pocket just in case. He applies his Pym-Particle-power to enlarge the vehicle and starts it up.

But the farmers start to heat up and then they explode. And the broken bodies turn out to be androids. And the scene is being watched by Ultron-13.

Story 2:- Toro, Toro, Toro starring the android Human Torch

Pencils Rik Levins. Inks Keith Williams. Letters Michael Heisler.

Human Torch remembers when he and his young sidekick Toro helped out the D-Day landings by destroying coastal guns. Since then Jim Hammond has spent a lot of the time comatose but human Thomas Raymond grew up and married. Jim has heard that (in Sub-Mariner #14) the Mad Thinker brainwashed adult Toro into thinking he was HT and sent him to fight Namor. But Toro came to his senses and gave his life saving Subby.

But Thomas' wife Ann Raymond only knows it was on some volcanic island in the Pacific, so she came to the recently-revived Torch for help. They advertised for information in papers all over the world and got 1 anonymous reply which brought them here to the shore of an island off Santa Barbara.

Suddenly the Mad Thinker appeared on a clifftop above them ranting that he sent the letter. He who temporarily resurrected HT (Fantastic Four Annual #4) and caused Toro's death SW of Lisianski Island now intends to kill the other half of the Torch/Toro team. HT flies up to attack him but he turns back when Ann is menaced by the huge whale-like Giganto (which Namor once summoned in FF#4). Jim means to drive it off with flame but it catches fire. Then Thinker and beast both exit the scene.

The remaining duo don't understand what all this was about, but at least they now know where to look for Thomas' body so they leaved for Lisianski Island.

But we see Thinker emerge from the ocean and comment that it all went to plan. He 'accidentally' told them where to go and then Giganto, which was actually a robot, gave him time to escape. Thinker then removes a facemask to reveal his true identity as Sub-Mariner, who wanted to help his old ally's quest without exposing the fact that he wasn't as dead as the world currently believed him to be.

Paul Ryan
Danny Bulanadi
Bob Sharen
Paul Ryan (Cover Penciler)
Danny Bulanadi (Cover Inker)
Mark Chiarello (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Bill Oakley.
Editor: Howard Mackie. Editor-in-chief: Tom DeFalco.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Clint Barton)
Human Torch
Human Torch

(Jim Hammond)
Janet Van Dyne
Janet Van Dyne

(Janet Pym)

(Pietro Maximoff)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
U.S. Agent
U.S. Agent

(John Walker)

Plus: Ann Raymond, Grim Reaper (Eric Williams), Henry Pym, Nekra (Nekra Sinclair).

> Avengers West Coast: Book info and issue index

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