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West Coast Avengers #12: Review

Sep 1986
Steve Englehart, Al Milgrom

Story Name:

The attraction between two bodies

Review & Comments

4 stars

West Coast Avengers #12 Review by (November 29, 2016)
Graviton will remind us of his history next issue. Quantum and Halflife are new characters - more on them next time too.

Zzzax's origin in Hulk #166 has already been mentioned - it was in a nuclear accident caused by terrorists. He reformed in #183 and #285, on the last occasion being scattered in space. In between those last 2 apps he was recreated in Power Man #47.
Graviton doesn't bother getting Zzzax back next issue. he'll be back in Hulk (again) #325-327 where a SHIELD experiment merges him with General Ross and they interrupt a fight between grey Hulk (Bruce Banner) and green Hulk (Rick Jones).

Next issue will make it even more obvious that Graviton is the mystery man watching Tigra at the beginning. And presumably it was his gravity power that made her miss a branch and fall *heavily*.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

West Coast Avengers #12 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Wonder Man shows the rest of the West Coast Avengers his new look. His costume still has a red W on the chest but most of the rest of it is green rather than blue, and his jets have moved from his hips to his back. He's no longer hiding his ionic eyes behind shades. And he's dyed his prematurely-grey hair (which he blames on having been dead for some years) to black (or actually dark blue but that's a comics convention).

Mockingbird reacts by running out and returning with her new costume. She's bared her legs (and her white boots are now blue). And her hair's a bit longer.

Iron Man asks Tigra why she never uses her mystic cat-amulet to change her appearance back to human Greer Nelson. She replies that, especially in the LA sun, she revels in running around in just a bikini, but feels more comfortable doing that as Tigra than as Greer. WM reminds her that the Cat-People have promised to remove 1 of her 2 conflicting souls, and she chose to keep human over cat. He wonders if she has changed her mind. Tigra denies it.

Little do they know that someone is watching them from miles away by bending light rays from their scene. Someone who swears Tigra must be his!

Bobbi Barton takes Tigra aside for a private chat. In #5 Greer had asked Mocky for help dealing with her conflicting natures. And despite what she just said to Simon Williams, Bobbi thinks Tigra seems happy as she is. The cat-woman reacts angrily and shouts that the Cat-People have promised a cure with no strings attached. MB's SHIELD spy training makes her think that Tigra doth protest too much.

Tigra's thoughts let us know that there is a string. The King of the Cat-People wants her to kill Master Pandemonium, and she's not told her team-mates that. She justifies her intention because MP has tried to kill them twice (#4 and #9, but in at least the 2nd case the WCA attacked him 1st). Plus it's a cat's instinct to hunt and kill its prey.

But now she indulges another cat-instinct and snuggles up to Simon Williams in another room. But he fends her off because she's with Henry Pym now, and he's getting close to Christy at the film studio who Tigra met last issue. Tigra hotly denies that she and Hank are an item, but Simon says that Hank certainly thinks so. She stalks off ...

... and runs into Shellhead outside. Tony Stark has removed his helmet to get some of the sun the others have been enjoying. (I presume his armour is air-conditioned.) Tigra comes on to him now and Tony responds. But when she suggests they go to her bungalow he too backs off. He thought it was just playful flirting. He still feels guilty about dating Jan Van Dyne (Av#224) so soon after she and Hank were divorced, and doesn't want to spoil Pym's happiness now. (Actually his guilt is more that Pym was in jail at the time, and he dated Jan as Tony Stark without telling her he was her team-mate Iron Man.)

Tigra stalks off again, determined to set Hank straight. She brusquely interrupts him giving instructions to the head gardener Joachin Mendez. But before she can say her piece Henry asks for a kiss. And the cat-girl responds enthusiastically.

Now it's time to introduce some (more) villains. A beam of energy shoots from Earth to the Sun causing a solar flare which sends a costumed male to the planet. And in the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant a green-skinned female with a Bride of Frankenstein hairstyle melts her way out of the reactor and out of the building. As she passes some high-voltage lines they snap releasing the electromagnetic being we know as Zzzax.

Back at the Palos Verdes Compound Hank has analysed the ashes of the book page from last issue, but his report to team-leader Hawkeye is just what he knew then - evidence of sulphur and high heat, but no other pages were affected. (He doesn't repeat that the page would have named the owner of the defunct Anvil Studios who they suspect from #9 to be Master Pandemonium.) He suggests Simon asks around the studios, while Hank himself continues Firebird's tack of visiting occult bookshops. Clint Barton thinks it's a good plan.

Tigra is leaping through trees from branch to branch while her Greer side berates her for reacting to any man who shows a sign of interest. But her Tigra side celebrates it, and declares that when she's killed Pandemonium it will be the human personality that she will get rid of!

Suddenly she misses a branch and falls heavily to the ground. And lies inert.

The blazing man from the sun appears over Sunset Boulevard speaking an alien tongue. The crowd panic even more when Zzzax and the green woman appear. She names herself (in English) Halflife and the sun-alien as Quantum.

The police call for the WCA. Pym answers and summons the team (without Tigra). A short hop by quinjet and they're there. Iron Man and Wonder Man fly down to attack while Hawkeye parks the vehicle.

WM hits Quantum, but he splits into multiple copies each as strong as the original. IM joins in fighting them. Hawkeye takes on Zzzax. They recognise each other from Hulk #166 (also written by this issue's author). Mockingbird tackles Halflife, but 1 touch turns her old.

Clint wants to use the method he defeated Zzzax with last time - shoot a wire trailing an arrow through him to water to short the electrical being to ground. But there's no water handy. Then a Quantum slams Simon into the ground and WM finds a water main in the resulting hole. He quickly creates a large pool, Hawk fires his arrow and Zzzax dissipates.

Clint notices what's happening to his wife as Halflife touches her again and she gets even older. He rushes to her aid but Iron Man interposes himself, assuming his armour will protect him. But it doesn't, and the green foe explains that each touch ages someone halfway to their death. And the next touch halves the gap again. Wonder Man also leaves off fighting the Quantums and carries the woman off. His ionic form means that he is immortal, so her power means nothing to him. And he just knocks her out. And her effect on Mocky and Shellhead evaporates.

Hawkeye has deduced somehow that Quantum is solar-powered. And a smoke arrow makes all his selves collapse.

But as the team congratulate each other they are pressed to the ground. Iron Man realises the connection between their 3 foes, and who the source of the new attack must be. And Graviton confirms his theory as he arrives on a flying rock with Tigra on a leash unconscious at his feet. He and the others represent the 4 fundamental forces:- gravity, electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force.

Al Milgrom
Joe Sinnott
Ken Feduniewicz
Al Milgrom (Cover Penciler)
Joe Sinnott (Cover Inker)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Franklin Hall)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

> West Coast Avengers: Book info and issue index

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