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West Coast Avengers #40: Review

Jan 1989
Mark Gruenwald, Al Milgrom

Story Name:

And now the ... Night Shift

Review & Comments

4 stars

West Coast Avengers #40 Review by (February 11, 2023)
Steve Englehart invented Shroud in Super-Villain Team-Up #5-8 but he continued under other hands to #12. Mark Gruenwald then took him into Spider-Woman #13-15 and Marvel Preview #21. Marvel Team-Up #93-94 introduced him to Dansen Macabre, Tatterdemalion and Werewolf (after the end of his Werewolf By Night series). Contest Of Champions #1 allowed him the chance to meet Gypsy Moth. SW#50 reunited him with them all plus Needle and Tick Tock.

Mark Gruenwald later invented the Night Shift in Captain America #330-331. Shroud recruited all the 6 above plus Brothers Grimm from Iron Man #187-188 and Digger from SW#47 (he was previously a host for stories in Chamber Of Darkness and Tower Of Shadows). And since then Roger Stern had them meet Moon Knight in Solo Avengers #3. That was the last previous app for Shroud and the Night Shift members.

Steve Englehart has left this series and Mark Gruenwald writes this issue, bringing in Night Shift. Misfit is a new addition to the team created for this issue.

Werewolf will pop up next in Hulk #362, and then his solo story in Marvel Comics Presents #54-59 will begin by saying that he was thrown out of the Night Shift for being uncontrollable.

Night Shift's next group app will be our #76-79 with a new Hangman taking over from Shroud. The rest of the team will all be involved.
But before that Dansen Macabre and Gypsy Moth will be part of Superia's Femizons in CA#387-392 and the Brothers Grimm will have a busy schedule:- In a big villain gang vs Hawkeye in Av Spotlight #22-24. During Acts Of Vengeance in Spectacular Spider-Man #159. As part of a break-out from the Vault in Web Of SM #64-65. With Werewolf in Shroud's tale in MCP#87.

Shroud himself will go his own way to have tales in MCP#54 and Marvel Superheroes vol 3 #7 before NCP#87.

Next issue will deal solely with Mockingbird, Moon Knight and Tigra against Phantom Rider.

The main group will return for #42 but do a lot before then:-
Hawkeye will have Solo Av #14-16 co-starring Mockingbird and Black Widow, and individual issue #17-18 co-starring Sandman and Texas Twister & Shooting Star. Meanwhile Scarlet Witch, Vision and Wonder Man cameo in WOSM#46 getting Dr Pym to help Spidey deal with Nekra.
Then Hawkeye and Wonder Man along with Pym and Tigra help Quasar and the East Coast Avengers against Super-Nova in Av#302-303, and the same 4 are on hand as Quasar joins the Avengers in his backup tale in Av Annual #18. (Spoiler - Tigra rejoins the main WCA at the end of #41.) Meanwhile Vision has a solo tale in Marvel Fanfare #48.
Then Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man along with Pym and Tigra feature in Fantastic Four #333.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

West Coast Avengers #40 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Mockingbird is doing a night patrol when she sees a Frankenstein Monster lookalike with a shovel burying 3 men neck deep in a road. While he waits for a passing car to run over them he starts to tell them a tale but Bobbi Barton interrupts him. What follows is a contest between battlestave and shovel which Mocky wins. She turns him and his 3 victims in at a police station and learns that he's Digger, part of a group she's heard of called the Night Shift.

In a mysterious mansion, the Tower Of Shadows, outside Los Angeles that group are waiting for Digger and Gypsy Moth. They don't expect their boss Shroud because he's away on business in San Francisco. Tick Tock predicts that Gypsy will be here immediately but can't tell anything about Digger. She turns up as he's speaking to tell them that she's heard that Digger was shaking down the Calamari brothers and got arrested by Mockingbird. They disagree over whether to go to his rescue because Shroud always insisted that he handle the police or the West Coast Avengers himself. But Tatterdemalion says that they were vigilantes here before the WCA arrived and they should teach them a lesson. Deputy leader Dansen Macabre agrees with him and they drive off in 2 hearses to the WCA Compound.

Tick Tock predicts metallic snare coil defences so the 2 Brothers Grimm ride their cloud banks up to the wall and toss magic beans which grow into giant beanstalks which entangle the coils. Gypsy Moth's power over fibres extends to causing the fibre optics in the monitoring system to break. And the monstrous Misfit breaks through the gate. They break into a house which turns out to contain the sleeping staff. Needle hypnotises a man into telling them the layout of the place while the Werewolf (Jack Russell) reluctantly kidnaps a woman named Yolanda who has just pressed a panic button.

Hawkeye is woken by his alarm and alerts the others. Vision leaves his wife Scarlet Witch to look after their 2 young boys. But Wonder Man is away doing his Hollywood actor stuff.

As Hawk and Vizh dash towards the staff building the Brothers Grimm intercept the synthezoid. Tick Tock has warned them against using funny foam or exploding eggs against him and recommends twinkie dust, which hardens around his floating intangible form and causes it to solidify and crash to the ground. Hawkeye has caught up but Gypsy Moth causes his bow string to break. The heroes see Needle menacing Yolanda, and Hawkeye recognises them as the Night Shift.

Clint Barton resorts to throwing his arrows. An adhesive arrow splatters all over GM's wings but unfortunately they aren't what keeps her aloft, as she demonstrates when she applies her power to Hawk's costume and levitates him with it. Vision is now standing but still can't control his density when Werewolf and Tatterdemalion attack him, the latter with his weighted scarf. But he is able to hurl them away and use his solar beam to dispel the Grimms' magic clouds, causing *them* to fall to the ground. Super-strong Misfit grabs Vision from behind until floating Hawkeye throws an explosive arrow to separate them.

Meanwhile Mockingbird climbs a rope ladder to Moon Knight's hovering 'helicopter' where she meets up with him and Tigra. She tells them about Digger and Shroud's Night Shift. Bobbi and Tigra remember Shroud from the original WCA mini-series where Hawkeye tried to recruit him. It was never clear whether he was a hero or a villain. Marc Spector tells them that Shroud once (Solo Avengers #3) asked him to take over the Night Shift but he declined. But he can take them to where they met.

Back at he Compound Gypsy Moth threatens to stop levitating Hawkeye on high and let him go splat on the ground. Meanwhile Dansen Macabre is succeeding in mesmerising Vision with her dance. But Scarlet Witch has left her twins with Jorge of their staff and has come out to help. Her 1st hex causes Moth to be pulled down to the ground while Hawkeye floats down like a leaf. Next she disrupts Dansen's dance but the Brothers throw jumping beans at her which rapidly enlarge, and her hex turns them into giant cotton balls which Gypsy makes smother her and stop her using her arms to cast more hexes.

Hawkeye has at last reached the ground and heads to help her but is distracted by Yolanda screaming as Needle's huge needle is held against her throat. Then Dansen causes both men to freeze, and she explains why they're here. They want to trade Yolanda for them arranging for Digger to be freed. Hawkeye doesn't know what they're talking about. And Werewolf and the Brothers Grimm plan to go looking for more Avengers.

Moon Knight has flown the other West Coast team of Avengers to the Tower Of Shadows which he warns them is full of traps to catch intruders. But it seems that Shroud has changed them since his previous visit because Moony gets caught in a steel mesh net with the other 2. Luckily Tigra's claws and his night-time strength get them out. After working through 7 more traps they still haven't seen or heard anyone and Tigra says all scents are at least 2 hours old. They finally reach the meeting chamber which is piled with loot and they find a note for Shroud left by DM to say they've gone to the WCA to negotiate Digger's release. Bobbi says they can't warn Clint's group because they haven't seen a telephone here. And she proposes their best move is to wait here in case Hawkeye's lot don't catch them all. (And probably really because she doesn't want to meet her estranged husband.)

Hawkeye's paralysis extends to his vocal cords as he tries to protest his team's ignorance. Dansen says that his wife should have minded her own business. Clint now regrets that they haven't made public the split up of his team and marriage (#37). But just then Wonder Man zooms in from wherever he's been and rescues Yolanda, scattering his opponents. He helps Vision rip the cotton balls from Wanda as Misfit attacks him. Hawkeye has recovered some movement and throws smoke arrows at Tick Tock and Werewolf. Vizh punches Needle and Tatterdemalion but then Dansen starts her hypnotic dance again. The Brothers Grimm start spinning straw into gold (why?) but SW's hex tangles them up in it. WM KOs Misfit while Wanda clonks Dansen saying *she*'s the only 1 allowed to do exotic dances for her husband.

Shroud arrives back at the Tower and detects intruders. He enters under his cloak of darkness and is surprised to see it is 3 of the WCA. Tigra has found a list of the loot identifying all of it as being stolen from criminals but now she detects Shroud's scent. He speaks to them from the shadows and says he'll leave them there to wait because he and his gang will move to 1 of his other bases. And we learn that he's read Dansen's note.

The 'real' WCA have now captured all the Night Shift and Hawkeye has told them that Mockingbird is no longer an Avenger so they should take their complaint to her. But Simon Williams doesn't want to let the crooks go, and Tick Tock foresees that this could get unpleasant and demands their right to be handed over to the police. However the place is suddenly plunged in darkness and the Shift know that Shroud is here to save them. He tells his squad to scatter and escape. But Hawkeye has turned up his hearing aid to the max and is able to pinpoint his position and pin his cloak to a wall with an arrow. Shroud agrees to talk with him in their 'usual place' in 10 minutes.

When the darkness lifts Clint stops the WCA from pursuing the Shift. He then goes to a particular oceanside clifftop to meet Shroud. Clint tells him that if he can't keep his team in line he should pack it in. But Shroud says he's heard Hawkeye's leadership hasn't been good lately. He confirms that most of the Shift still don't know that he's a good guy undercover as a bad guy. Hawkeye says he's going to have to let *his* team in on the secret. They part in agreement.

Al Milgrom
Mike Gustovich
Paul Becton
Al Milgrom (Cover Penciler)
Al Milgrom (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Rick Parker.
Editor: Howard Mackie. Editor-in-chief: Tom DeFalco.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Clint Barton)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

(Greer Nelson)

(Jack Russell)

Plus: Brothers Grimm, Dansen Macabre, Digger, Gypsy Moth, Misfit, Needle, Shroud, Tatterdemalion, Ticktock.

> West Coast Avengers: Book info and issue index

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