Comic Review: West Coast Avengers Volume 1

The West Coast Avengers is a long-established, and long-absent, Avengers team that recently came back with a new group of younger, less-experienced heroes.

But is it worth a look?  Well, I did read the first trade, subtitled Best Coast, so I may have some answers there.

Second Hawkeye Kate Bishop relocated to Los Angeles, and quite frankly, she needs help out there.  She has some in the form of original Hawkeye Clint Barton, her Young Avengers teammate and BFF America Chavez, and her new boyfriend, a rookie hero going by the name “Fuse” who can assume the properties of anything he comes into contact with.  Seeing that Los Angeles has something of a supervillain problem and no real hero teams, she advertises for people to join her new team and gains Gwenpool (who everyone assumes has superpowers) and Quentin “Kid Omega” Quire, a powerful telepathic and telekenetic mutant who is somewhat depowered at the moment.  Clint is there mostly as a mentor figure while Kate gets to be team leader, working out of her private investigator office, and for now, Quentin has supplied a source of revenue to upgrade the building and so forth in the form a reality TV crew.

Yes, the book does mention the last time Marvel had a prominent superhero team do a reality show, and yes, they acknowledge it went badly.

But there are some other problems that need a new Avengers team immediately.  Former Avenger Tigra has grown to 200 feet tall and is going all kaiju on the coast, and soon other giant monsters appear, and the mastermind behind it is a new form of M.O.D.O.K., now in a more human body but calling himself B.R.O.D.O.K. and seemingly not noticing that everyone immediately saw through his disguise more or less immediately.

Writer Kelly Thompson gave the series a somewhat breezy feel, getting the reality TV stuff more or less right and giving each new Avenger a distinct personality.  Clint’s the old pro, Kate’s unsure of her leadership abilities, Fuse is unsure of everything, America is the somewhat professional hero and good friend, Gwen’s crazy, and Quentin is arrogant.  Factor in a rather Bro-tastic M.O.D.O.K. with a toxic masculinity-flavored spin and a setting that appears to be mostly beaches and smaller buildings, and there’s a distinct feel to this book.  That said, the volume doesn’t have a lot in it.  Marvel basically released a trade with only four issues, plus reprints of a Young Avengers special with no creator credits listed (the art did look like the great Alan Davis’ work, so that helps) and then the first issue of Gwenpool’s original solo series.  I’d rather get more from the new series than other random issues, but that’s Marvel for ya:  put out a trade fast with other issues when there isn’t enough for a full-sized trade by itself.  8 out of 10 sightings of Lucky the Pizza Dog.

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