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Wonder Man Pulls a 'Spider-Man No More' on the Avengers West Coast!

This is a feature called "Beg Steal or Borrow," which is about when comic book characters are abruptly pulled from one book to another. I'm not talking about when comic book characters simply migrate from one title to another (I spotlight examples of that in my feature, "Looks Like I'm Moving"). I mean examples where a writer has a character taken out of the book against their wishes. It almost always happens in team books, but sometimes it occurs in solo titles, as well.

Today, we look at Wonder Man's bizarre departure from the Avengers West Coast in the early 1990s.

For the first almost DECADE of the Avengers West Coast's existence, the only constant in the series was Wonder Man...

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He was used really well in the series. However, that's sort of the Catch-22 of having characters from team books get their own ongoing series. You get more stories featuring them, which is good, but then you often end up losing them from the thing that made them interesting enough to get a solo book in the first place!

For instance, Wonder Man's development was a major part of the Avengers West Coast for years, but once he got his own book, he became more of a static character. There wasn't a whole lot that Roy and Dann Thomas could DO with Wonder Man. This was especially true for the sort of romance between Wonder Man and Scarlet Witch, which could never get started since Wonder Man had his own series and anything to do with him and romance would be in THAT series.

In any event, Wonder Man continued to be a regular member, but after the team helped defeat Ultron and Ultron's new creation, Alkhema, in Avengers West Coast #91 (by Roy and Dann Thomas, Dave Ross and Tim Dzon) we see a hint about Wonder Man's doubts about his humanity...

This tied in with a plot in the Wonder Man ongoing series, where Wonder Man was sort of leaking ionic energy and in Wonder Man #10, his ionic energy ended up powering a monk into becoming a destructive villain...

Wonder Man slowly began to regress as a person. He became obsessed with violence, specifically the fact that violence had so much of a control over the world. He became quite creepy to everyone around him, as seen in Wonder Man #16...

He then nearly beat a crook to death and the Avengers showed up to try to get him under control...

It did not go too well. He gave them a bunch of "violence is violence is violence is violence" mumbo jumbo and then stormed off...

They followed him and then he proceeded to tear into them...

The worst was reserved for his former love interest, the Scarlet Witch.

In the next issue, he absolutely TORMENTED HER to show her that he was a different person now...

So yeah, the next issue of Avengers West Coast dealt with his departure...

Eventually, he got his ionic energy under control and re-found his humanity. He went to rejoin the Avengers in the last issue of his series. Sadly, he was too late as the team had JUST disbanded! Luckily, he joined their new incarnation, Force Works. Unluckily, he died on their first mission (not even technically their first mission yet).

If anyone else has a suggestion for an example of a comic book character being ripped from a series, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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