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Avengers West Coast #69: Review

Apr 1991
Roy Thomas, Paul Ryan

Story Name:

Grudge match

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers West Coast #69 Review by (January 2, 2018)
After various problems with the authorities The US Government revoked the Avengers' charter in Av#327 during a diplomatic incident with the Soviet Union. This applied also the the West Coast team. But they got a new charter from the United Nations in #329. This included the 7 members, 7 reserves rule. The Avengers alternates are now Black Knight, Captain Marvel, Falcon, Hercules and Spider-Man.
Back in #56-57 (John Byrne's last issues) the West Coasters were being evicted from their Compound by the local government. Roy & Dann Thomas mentioned it in #60 but nothing more has been said. Maybe their new UN status will make it go away - I don't recall it ever actually happening.

Mockingbird goes off to do her own thing with Shroud in Marvel Comics Presents #87/4. But she can't keep away from the team. She meets some of them at the premiere of a new film featuring Simon Williams in Damage Control v3#3, and then at a general (East Coast) Avengers party (and attack by Dr Doom) in Av#332-333, before returning for real in #78 (after a phone call in #76).

There's probably a gap between most of this issue and the epilogue during which Tigra has a solo adventure in Marvel Super-Heroes (1990) #2/5. And Henry Pym makes a recording reviewing Avengers West Coast history, which Spider-Woman will view in Annual #6/2.

Meanwhile US Agent goes to help Captain America against his old foes the Watchdogs in CA#386. But he'll get dragged back into this series in #71.

Quicksilver won't leave until next issue.

Dr Pym and Wasp will stay for the 5-part Pacific Overlords story.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers West Coast #69 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This issue is split between a fight between Hawkeye and U.S. Agent and flashbacks to the events that led up to it. It begins with the start of the fight, but I'm going to do all the flashbacks 1st to present the tale in order.

Hawk and USA are arguing as usual as the Avengers West Coast hold a meeting. They're going to vote on who the regular 7-member team will be from this point on. Mockingbird has popped over from Detroit, where she's still training the Great Lakes Avengers, to throw her hat in the ring. She exchanges barbed words with her estranged husband Hawkeye, who effectively did the same thing in #60.

They play a video message from Captain America (with Black Widow, Quasar (who looks more like Nomad) and Thor in the background). Cap announces the (East Coast) Avengers new lineup as of Av#329:- the above plus Sersi, She-Hulk and Vision. He hopes to hear soon about who the AWC's regulars and alternates will be. (Strangely the whole team, including Hawkeye, Mockingbird, Quicksilver and US Agent were in New York at the meeting where the lineup was decided.)

Clint Barton suggests that US Agent is sure to be voted out, but USA says he was appointed here by the government in the shape of General Haywerth. But then Cap's message continues by introducing Heywerth with something to say. It turns out that now the Avengers teams work for the United Nations the US government can't insist on Agent remaining in the AWC. That's the end of Cap's message.

Clint is of course delighted. USA is angry. Both are certain the Agent will be voted out. But Wonder Man calms him down and persuades him to wait for the actual verdict.

A bit later Wasp reads out the voting results, but 1st she reminds them of the voting rules (seems the wrong way round to me). Each of the current regular members get to vote for 5 candidates, making 40 votes in total. The 7 people with the highest scores become the new regular team, and the others can be part of the 7 allowed alternates/reserves.

(That means 8 regulars. So which of the 9 heroes in the recent issues doesn't count:- Dr. Pym, Hawkeye, Iron Man (Tony Stark), Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Tigra, US Agent, Wasp or Wonder Man. It must be either Hawkeye (who visited in #60 and never left) or Quicksilver (who only popped up in #56 to help rescue his sister Wanda from Magneto and then Immortus, and has stayed to see her recovery). I'd guess Pietro Maximoff is the odd 1 out because Hawkeye at least *used* to be on the team (and led it).)

Hawkeye gets 4 votes and is in, but Mockingbird is only an alternate with 1. (She of course couldn't vote so thanks hubby Clint who she assumes was her lone supporter.) Tigra's also in with 4. Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man get 5 each. Quicksilver is an alternate with 2. Iron Man gets 5, US Agent 1 (Clint gives them 1 guess where *that* vote came from). Dr Pym and Wasp get 5 each. 3 votes go to the Human Torch (Jim Hammond) who becomes an alternate in his absence. And the last vote goes to Machine Man! (Well he helped out in some of the Atlantis Attacks Annuals.) (But that adds up to 41 votes so somebody cheated.)

So basically the new team is the old 7-person team with Hawkeye replacing US Agent. But as Wanda points out they're short 2 reserve members. Jan Van Dyne then drops a bombshell. She and Henry Pym are resigning (which she correctly says they should have mentioned earlier). They'll stay for a handover period but then become alternates. So they're actually short 2 *regulars*. (Strangely no-one suggests those 2 places go to HT (3 votes) and Pietro (2). I think this was all rigged by Roy Thomas to allow him to add 2 regular members in #74 - Spider-Woman and a reformed US Agent.)

USA gets angry again, quits and storms out, refusing to be a reserve. Hank Pym suggests now is probably not the time to vote on a chairman, and adjourns the meeting.

Quicksilver tells Iron Man and Tigra that he didn't want to be an Avenger and asked Wanda not to vote for him, but he guesses she did anyway. Clint tells Bobbi Barton it wasn't *him* who voted for *her*. He still loves her but it would be awkward having his estranged wife on the team. Mocky leaves in a huff. (In #81 she'll learn it was USA who voted for her to annoy Clint.) Simon Williams asks Wanda Maximoff out for a meal, but she says she thinks they shouldn't date anymore - she likes him but only as a good friend. WM flies off in a huff too.

Wanda turns to Hank and Jan as the only couple who seem to be making a success of it. But they put her straight. They're not leaving the team to pursue their renewed relationship. The divorced couple have decided that they too want to be just friends. Wasp will leave to go travelling (at least that's what she says) and Dr Pym will return to scientific research.

And US Agent arranges to meet Hawkeye for a fight.

Hawkeye has donned the armoured costume Tony Stark created for him in Av Spotlight #30. He faces US Agent on a coastal cliffside, and they exchange insults. USA asks Clint if he's sure Dr Pym cured him of the remaining effects of Ultron-13's roboticising gas (see the last 3 issues) - he wouldn't want Barton blaming losing on being sick. Hawk offers to ditch the armour, but Agent says he's got his shield.

USA dodges a volley of arrows and fends others off with the shield. But this is getting him nowhere so he throws the shield at his foe. Clint was waiting for that and fires an arrow which meets it and clamps on to it. But its vibranium content shakes(?) the arrow off, and it returns to its master. Hawk now fires 2 blast arrows, 1 high 1 low. US Agent deflects the high 1 with his shield but the other knocks him off his feet. However he grabs the other before it hits the ground and throws it back at the archer - and that blast knocks *him* over, but his armour protects him.

Winded they pause and Agent tries to talk Hawkeye into giving up. (USA is open about his past and Clint already knows, so the Agent must have told the team after he regained his full memories in Captain America #380-382.) US Agent reminds Hawkeye that he wasn't just the replacement Cap (CA#333-350), he has super-strength courtesy of the Power Broker (CA#323). His fists could do serious damage to Clint's unprotected face.

Hawkeye's response is to compare USA unfavourably with Cap. And then throw down his bow and arrows and take off his armoured helmet and gloves and offer to fight man-to-man. USA throws away his shield and they go at it. After shrugging off Clint's blows Agent accidentally pushes him over the cliff. But Hawk manages to arrest his fall with a grappling line arrowhead - but still lands on the beach with a thud.

US Agent clambers down to see if he's alright. Groggy Hawkeye takes another swing at him. Losing it, USA starts hitting him relentlessly (but still pulling his punches), taking out all his frustrations with the AWC. Barton still won't give up, so USA knocks him out.

But then the other Avengers (except Mocky and WM) turn up. Wasp says Clint will be on probation for a while for this, but US Agent is *off* the team for good. Iron Man tries to give him a bit of hope. He says that Hawkeye earned his Avenger status, but Agent bought his powers and then was given the job by the Government. Ever since he's proven himself to be a troublemaker and not a team player. But if he can change they might take him back. USA throws it back in his face and leaves (in a 3rd huff).

Scarlet Witch hopes USA won't turn supervillain.

An epilogue leads directly in to the next 5-part story. In Long Beach harbour a cyborg called Jawbreaker leaps off a boat to shore carrying a large trunk, to avoid US Customs who are looking for something in particular. He is accosted by a character called Taifu (Japanese for typhoon) who apparently intends to betray their boss (the Doc) by stealing the box. As winds shoot out of his sleeves knocking Jawbreaker backwards someone invisible (we see a female silhouette) knocks Taifu out with a staff.

She turns visible but dressed all in black and says the Doctor sent her to meet him. She introduces herself as Kuroko (the Black One) - the Japanese stage attendant who shifts scenery while a play continues, and the audience pretend not to see him. Jawbreaker picks up Taifu as well as the box and they head off to see the Doctor. Kuroko says its contents will make them Masters of the Pacific Rim, and then of the world.

Paul Ryan
Danny Bulanadi
Bob Sharen
Paul Ryan (Cover Penciler)
Danny Bulanadi (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Bill Oakley.
Editor: Howard Mackie.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Pietro Maximoff)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

(Greer Nelson)
U.S. Agent
U.S. Agent

(John Walker)

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Doctor Pym (Henry Pym), General Haywerth, Jawbreaker, Kuroko, Taifu.

> Avengers West Coast: Book info and issue index

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