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West Coast Avengers #42: Review

Mar 1989
John Byrne, John Byrne

Story Name:

One of our androids is missing

Review & Comments

4 stars

West Coast Avengers #42 Review by (March 4, 2023)
John Byrne takes over the writing for this series and jumps forward to where Tigra and Dr Pym are back on the team without any explanation. Tigra was part of Mockingbird's breakaway group with Moon Knight after the team (Clint and Bobbi Barton's marriage) split after they discovered that she had allowed the Old West Phantom Rider to die. Tom DeFalco tied-up Steve Englehart's PR plotline last issue and also took MK out of the team ready for his new series leaving Tigra wondering what she should do next.
Henry Pym had left the team several issues prior in order to find a cure for his 1st wife Marya Trovaya's artificially very enlarged brain. Tom D fixed that also in the Hawkeye tale in Solo Avengers #14-16 where it turned out that the woman wasn't actually Marya but a female version of MODOK called SODAM working for AIM.
The Marvel Chronology Project inserted that (which also featured Mockingbird) and several apps of Tigra and Dr Pym with the team before this issue, but still none of them actually showed the chars returning to the fold.
Wasp also wasn't in the team in the recent issues. After resigning as chairperson of the (East Coast) Avengers she hung out with the Wackoes from #32-37 to see how her ex-husband Hank Pym was doing and she left at the same time as him. Since then she made a couple of solo apps in Solo Av #15 and Sensational She-Hulk #2. But she cameoed with Tigra and Pym alongside Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man as the WCA in Fantastic #333. And she's here for a long haul.

This begins the 4-issue Vision Quest tale which is the opening blow in John B's deconstruction of Vision and Scarlet Witch, their marriage and children.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

West Coast Avengers #42 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Wanda Maximoff wakes up in the West Coast Avengers' Compound guest house to find her husband Vision not at her side. Worried she dresses as Scarlet Witch and checks on their twin baby boys before going out to find him. Instead she finds Hawkeye practising archery from a whirligig platform. A snapped twig alerts his hair-trigger senses and he automatically looses an arrow in her direction which she stops with a hex. Clint Barton apologises and says he's taken to early morning practice since his wife Bobbi left him and the team. She explains about not knowing where Vision is so he calls out for him and uses the Compound's comms system to carry his shout all round the place.

Henry Pym is another early riser who's running a systems check on their mainframe computer which has returned some inexplicable niggles. He answers Clint's call but the comms go dead at the other end so he runs out to see what might have happened. And he sees the pair of heroes under attack by their robotic mega-foe Ultron. Arrows and hexes have no effect on his adamantium body shell.

Meanwhile in an unearthly jungle a maned 'tigress' stalks and kills a blue deer and rips it apart. But it's only Tigra's dream and she's really shredding her bed. She's worried because it's a recurring dream which gets more 'realistic' each time. Then she hears the loud sound of conflict outside and dons her skimpy bikini costume to dash out where she sees diminutive Wasp. She's surprised to see her flying from ex-hubby Hank's bungalow rather than the main house. Then Wonder Man flies past them both courtesy of his waist-jets, though the ex-chairperson of the (East Coast) Avengers can't resist ordering him to fly ahead and reconnoitre. Simon Williams zooms towards Ultron who repels him with a magnetic field blast (an unexpected weapon in his armoury). But WM jets back to trade blows with the robot.

The coincidence of Ultron appearing when Vision disappears makes Wanda flash back to her husband's origin. Which of course begins with the origin of the original android Human Torch, created by Prof Horton in 1939. He had the unfortunate side effect of bursting into flame unless deprived of oxygen, but he soon learned to control the flame and became a superhero - fighting alongside his flaming sidekick Toro and with Captain America, Bucky and Sub-Mariner as the Invaders. But then in the 1950's he lost control of his flame and fled to the desert to go nova and disappear. He was revived by the Mad Thinker to oppose the Fantastic Four (in FF Annual #4) but committed flamicide again. Next Ultron-5 found the body ...

... but here Wanda's thoughts return to the current battle where Ultron is still holding off Wonder Man but Wasp flutters in close to distract the robot with a sting to the eye so WM can get another blow in. But Hank notices that Simon's blows are denting Ultron's body which wouldn't happen if it was really made of adamantium. He calls Simon off and then gives him a Pym-particle touch which shrinks the ionic body to insect-size. Then he tells him to jet down Ulty's throat. Simon trusts him and does so, astonished to find that the metal mouth only contains a simulation of its usual atomic furnace. he's safely inside when the Pym particles on a timer wear off and he starts to grow - and ends up shredding the robot apart from the inside.

Wanda wonders why anyone would send a fake Ultron against them. Hank theorises that it was a diversion to keep them occupied while something else is happening. He suggests the "Avengers Disassemble" to search the Compound. But while Scarlet Witch searches she remembers the rest of Vision's origin as explained by Immortus (in Av #134). Ultron-5 kidnapped Prof Horton and made him turn the android Human Torch into the Vision (as Wasp named him when he invaded Avengers Mansion). But Vision turned on his master and became an Avenger, met Wanda and they fell in love.

This time her reverie is disturbed by Dr Pym calling her to say he has news. When she joins the others in the meeting room Hank tells her that all trace of the Vision has been deleted from their database. And the virus has spread and wiped him from other systems such as those of the East Coast Av, the FF, SHIELD and the Pentagon. He thinks it had to be someone with inside knowledge to hack their systems. Hawkeye wonders who the traitor could be.

And then his estranged wife and ex-WCAer Mockingbird walks in and owns up.

John Byrne
Mike Machlan
Paul Becton
John Byrne (Cover Penciler)
John Byrne (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Bill Oakley.
Editor: Howard Mackie. Editor-in-chief: Tom DeFalco.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Clint Barton)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

(Greer Nelson)

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Doctor Pym (Henry Pym).

> West Coast Avengers: Book info and issue index

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