Comic Browser:


West Coast Avengers #6: Review

Mar 1986
Steve Englehart, Al Milgrom

Story Name:

Quest for cats

Review & Comments

4 stars

West Coast Avengers #6 Review by (November 19, 2022)
Arkon is an other-world barbarian king whose apps on Earth (Avengers #75-76 and #84 followed by some Fantastic Four and X-Men issues) seem to have inspired a series of sword and sorcery films, obviously modelled on Conan films starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and produced by Dino De Laurentiis' company.

The history of the Cat People and the Land Within was invented in Adventure Into Fear #22 and expanded in What If #35. The current telling adds the bit about a Balkatar and the 1st Tigra being the ancestors of the current Cat-People on Earth.
In #15 we will learn that the Land Within is part of Hades.

Joanne Tumolo is called Marie Tumolo here, and as usual Marvel then justified its mistake by saying Marie was her middle name.

Next issue will concentrate on Henry Pym and Ultron with Wonder Man, relegating the Cat-People plot to the background.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

West Coast Avengers #6 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Tigra wants to get rid of the cat side of her personality. Last issue the West Coast Avengers went in search of the werewolf Jack Russell who was involved in her origin (Giant-Size Creatures #1) when the Cat People turned her into Tigra. But they also found Michael Morbius, who used to be the Living Vampire, who knows more about the Cat People and is willing to help.

Now at the WCA Compound Morbius demonstrates a chant that he witnessed (Adventure Into Fear #21) sorcerer Daemond use to summon the cat-demon Balkatar who took MM to the Land Within where the Cat People dwell. But he figures they'll need to be at the Daemond Mansion to make it work. Wonder Man gets a call from his agent Mike with the offer of a role in a big movie so he leaves. And Iron Man is off recuperating from wounds the werewolf gave him last issue. So boss Hawkeye rings up Thing (who doesn't really want to join a team after splitting with the Fantastic Four) and persuades him to help them out again. And Mockingbird asks their guest Firebird to join in (and she would *really* like to be an Avenger).

Clint Barton and his wife Bobbi take 1 sky-cycle while Ben Grimm and Greer Nelson take another and Bonita Juarez flies to the mansion under her own power. (Morbius was seemingly only here to teach them the spell.) They find a room with a pentacle on the floor and Hawkeye does the incantation. And Balkatar appears via a smoking brazier. Thing attacks the visitor and Firebird automatically uses her fire against something she senses is evil. Hawkeye nocks an arrow too but Greer announces herself as Tigra which makes the cat stop fighting. And he agrees to take them to his home.

But we go to Hollywood where Simon Williams is introduced to a Director named Dino and Casting Director Christina Carson. Then he's attacked by a 'barbarian' with a real metal mace which Wondie shatters and then judo throws the attacker. Who unmasks as Arnold Schwarzburger and the film is Arkon IV. They want Simon to play the sympathetic villain.

We also pop back to the Compound to see what its manager Henry Pym is doing. He's on another sky-cycle going to meet his 'son' Ultron-12. This version of Ultron claims to not want to kill him but to become his family. To this end he calls himself Ultron Mark Twelve, a more human name. He points out that the attempts of previous versions to create a son (Vision) or a wife (Jocasta) resulted in rejection. And now that Hank is divorced from Janet van Dyne he's lost a chance to father children. So now they only have each other. Hank is sceptical.

Balkatar and the team materialise in the Land Within, an enclosed space lit by a glowsphere in the roof. Nothing grows there so the Cat People create their food scientifically. They are met by guards who are angry that Balkatar has brought Outworlders, until he introduces them to Tigra. They are brought before the king who orders the others imprisoned while he talks with the Were-Woman. At 1st the Avengers resists but then Hawkeye tells them to submit quietly while Tigra bargains.

She tells the king that she has 2 conflicting souls, the human Greer Nelson and the Cat-People's legendary warrior Tigra. She was originally given abilities by Dr Joanne Tumolo and became the costumed Cat (in 4 issues of her own series). But then in GSCr#1 she was fatally injured by Hydra and to save her Tumolo revealed herself as a Cat-Person and together with others used science and magic to transform her into Tigra. Now she wants the cat-persona removed. He agrees but says he'll take her human-persona instead. She's not happy about that but the king tells Balkatar to look after her while he considers the situation.

Balkatar tries to persuade her to take the king's offer and stay with them here just as Tigra. She feels her cat-side taking over and as usual she's attracted to the nearest male, him. He says that Balkatar is his title, responsible for answering the calls of otherworld Sorcerers. His real name is Grigar. But he also says that she is *a* Tigra, and explains the Cat People's history.

The 1st Cat-People, Flavius and Helene, were created centuries ago by Outworld (ie Earth) sorcerer Ebrok from 2 housecats. He created more of them and they bred like cats until a cabal of other sorcerers grew worried and banished them to the Land Within, but with a geas that there should always be 1 Cat-Person taking the role of Balkatar to serve them. However Ebrok had kept Flavius and Helene safely hidden and they continued to assist him in his scientific experiments until another sorcerer discovered them and killed Ebrok. Flavius in anger released the Black Death, a result of their experiments, which spread throughout the world.

The 2 Cat-People went further into hiding and attempted to find a cure for the Plague. But the sorcerers guild kept hunting them so the Cats summoned the Balkatar who was unable to help them because he was bound to the sorcerers. The 2 Cats then tried to create more Cat-People from cats but the sorcerers had prevented that from working. So instead they turned a female human into the 1st Tigra to kill all the sorcerers, freeing them to invent the Plague cure. This also freed the Balkatar to do as he wished, and he and the 1st Tigra bred a new race of Cat-People on Earth. 1 of their descendants was Dr Tumolo who invented a way to give a human, Greer Nelson, cat-like powers.

Tigra is able to tell Grigar what happened after that. The High Evolutionary had learned how to turn animals into animal-people, 1 of which was a cat-person Tabur. In Marvel Premiere #42 he killed Dr Tumolo, and Tigra got revenge by devolving him back to a cat.

Then the pair are called back to see the king who tells Tigra he has decided she can keep whichever persona she wants as long as she does a task for him, which is to kill their enemy Master Pandemonium (who is already the WCA's enemy via Firebird from #4). Tigra protests that Avengers don't kill.

At that point her teammates arrive having got fed up of captivity. They fight their way to her through Cat-People but Tigra stops them with a lie by saying that the king has promised to do what she wants with no strings attached.

Al Milgrom
Kyle Baker
Ken Feduniewicz
Al Milgrom (Cover Penciler)
Kyle Baker (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski.
Editor: Mark Gruenwald. Editor-in-chief: Jim Shooter.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Clint Barton)

(Ben Grimm)

(Greer Nelson)

Plus: Balkatar (Grigor), Firebird, Henry Pym, Living Vampire (Michael Morbius), Ultron-12.

> West Coast Avengers: Book info and issue index

Share This Page