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West Coast Avengers #44: Review

May 1989
John Byrne, John Byrne

Story Name:

Better a widow ...

Review & Comments

4 stars

West Coast Avengers #44 Review by (March 18, 2023)
Immortus 1st appeared as an enemy of the Avengers in their #10. Then in the Celestial Madonna Saga (#131-135 including Giant-Size Av#3-4) he helped them against Kang and revealed that he was Kang's future self. In #141-143 he helped them against Kang again and appeared to fade away when Kang seemingly died. In Thor #281-282 he 'borrowed' Thor's hammer and as a result it lost the ability to transport Thor through time. In Av#200 his son Marcus abducted Ms Marvel to give birth to himself as a human. In #269 Immortus fought Kang and told *him* that he was his future self. No wonder Wonder Man thinks he's untrustworthy (not to mention confusing).

Avengers Forever #8 will attempt to disentangle (or further complicate) Immortus life. In particular it will reveal that Prof Horton really did die when he told Vision he did, and this Horton is 1 of Immortus' lackeys the Space Phantoms as part of a plot that will become (a bit) clearer in upcoming issues.

John Byrne has been depicting Tigra in feral ways since he took over in #42. But Tom DeFalco did it too in his single #41. So maybe that was another example of him preparing the way for Byrne there.

John Walker started his Marvel career (Captain America #323 & 327 & 332) as an enhanced wrestler who set himself up as Super-Patriot, a semi-villain alternative to Cap. Then (#333-350) the Government set him up as an actual alternative Cap after Steve Rogers quit to become just the Captain. Walker appeared to die in #351, but actually the Government gave Walker a copy of the Captain uniform as US Agent (#354), which is how he appears here. (Later we'll learn they also gave him a new civilian identity Jack Daniels.)


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

West Coast Avengers #44 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Last issue the West Coast Avengers tracked down the secret organisation that had abducted the Vision. But when Mockingbird and Scarlet Witch broke into the central lab Wanda Maximoff was horrified to discover that her android husband had been disassembled.

But when she angrily turns on the lab techs demanding to know what they've done Bobbi Barton tries to calm her by pointing out they'd done what they always intended. The whole purpose of the plan they tricked Bobbi into helping with was to make sure Vision didn't have any state secrets that he picked up when he took over all the world's computers (Av#251-254). The surest way to do that was to erase him completely. Wanda grasps at the straw that the KGB would surely want to get at other countries' secrets.

But Wonder Man joins them carrying the boss of the operation Cameron Brock and says this isn't a KGB operation, or not entirely. Brock is quite willing to come clean now that they've succeeded in their goal. The operation is a cooperative effort by multiple nations. He himself is part of the Canadian Secret Service. The KGB only ran the detention centre where Mockingbird was imprisoned. The CIA are included (but not it seems SHIELD who they told Bobbi Barton they were). (Mockingbird keeps very much in the background for the rest of this issue but she'll certainly make her presence felt next issue.)

Wanda says the Avengers can rebuild the synthezoid, but Henry Pym joins them to say that it might not be so simple. He's familiar with the android's body (and even went inside it as Ant-Man in Av#93) so he may well be able to rebuild it. And they can even reinstall Simon Williams' brain patterns as a basis for his mind as before. But that won't give Vision back his memories. Wanda points out that he has a backup memory file that's very recent. But Hank has to remind her that the bad guys used a virus to wipe out all mentions of Vision in the world's databases, and that includes his backups. So her husband may not remember her.

He also says putting the body back together may not be plain sailing. That body may have belonged to the WWII android Human Torch but it was extremely sophisticated even by modern standards. At which point Wasp enters the room to introduce them to an old man she found in 1 of the KGB cells - Prof Phineas Horton the creator of that Human Torch. Wanda protests that when Immortus showed Vision his origin (Av#135) Horton was there helping Ultron-5 and he died. But Horton now declares that he doesn't recognise the parts of Vision's body here as *his* work.

We'll now look away to where Hawkeye hears Tigra growling and finds her menacing 2 cleaners. When he interrupts her she turns to attack *him*, looking feral.

And elsewhere on Absolom College campus near Saunders, Texas a group of men are considering an array of mutants on screen. They discard nearly all of them (including the current X-Men team who are thought dead, but really hiding in Australia) until they settle on Scarlet Witch. (But we won't follow that up until #47.)

Back with the main action the WCA have called the cops in plus an ambulance to take frail old Prof Horton away after his ordeal in the detention cell. Wanda can't understand why he would deny turning Human Torch into Vision. The cops can't arrest the conspirators because they all have diplomatic immunity. Dr Pym says they'll take it up with their government liaison Ray Sikorsky. Hawkeye joins them with a tamer Tigra. They prepare to leave but before they go Scarlet Witch destroys the base with 1 powerful hex.

They fly home with all Vision's bits but they find an alarm light blinking from the guest house and Wanda rushes off in a panic thinking something's happened to her kids. She finds nanny Helen Bach in a state saying that she looked away from the twins for a second while they were in their bath and then they were gone. Wanda runs to the bathroom and finds her very young boys playing together in the bath. Janet Van Dyne has followed Wanda and finds her accusing the nanny of playing a sick joke and she fires her and storms out with her babies in her arms. Miss Bach swears to Wasp they'd vanished and Jan thinks she sounds like she means it. But she can't do anything but ensure that she gets the right severance pay.

2 days later Wanda is camped outside Hank Pym's lab where he's working on rebuilding her husband. Simon Williams comes to see how she is. She tells him that Hank is confidant of getting it done successfully but it would have gone faster with Prof Horton to help. She's still convinced that the guy they met couldn't be the real Horton who's dead (doesn't she know this is the Marvel universe?). Simon wasn't around at the time (*he* was dead and came back later) but he points out that it was Immortus who showed Vision Horton dying after helping create him from the android HT. And Immortus isn't exactly trustworthy.

Then there's a lot of loud noises from the lab sounding like a fight. Wonder Man forces open the door and his face is pushed back by a semi-metal arm. Vision stands in the doorway, his metal and pseudo-flesh body not covered by his 'skin'. Wanda pleads with his metal skull to be recognised but he hurls her away. WM tries to hold him back but gets thrown against a wall. Hawkeye's upstairs pondering over how he'd had to gas Tigra to stop her attacking him. But he hears the commotion and runs down to tangle the android with a constrictor arrow. However Vision just breaks the steel cables and attacks *him*. Simon tries to persuade Wanda to stop her husband with a hex but she just can't do it. However Dr Pym has regained consciousness and zaps him with a neutraliser gadget Brock's people used to capture him earlier.

Later Hawkeye calls Sikorsky to demand to know what the Government are going to do to help Vision. Ray says they've done what *they* want so the Avengers can reprogram him however they like. Pym protests that they've killed the person Vision was and traumatised Wanda. Ray apologises for the last part but closes the subject down.

He then tells them some other news. The Government insists on them accepting a new team member they've appointed as leader, and he should be arriving about now. The 2 men and Wonder Man rush to the door and see a familiar shape outside with small wings on his head and carrying a round shield. They're relieved that it's Captain America but confused because he's got his hands full leading the East Coast team. Then the man enters and it's U.S. Agent.

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)
U.S. Agent
U.S. Agent

(John Walker)

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Doctor Pym (Henry Pym), Ray Sikorsky.

> West Coast Avengers: Book info and issue index

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