Guest-Starring the Avengers! Oh Wait, It's Just the West Coast Avengers

In Drawing Crazy Patterns, I spotlight at least five scenes/moments from within comic book stories that fit under a specific theme (basically, stuff that happens frequently in comics).

The West Coast Avengers have a very odd place in comic book history. Generally speaking, over the course of their decade in existence, they probably had MORE of a "standard" Avengers roster than the "official" Avengers team, with Iron Man and Hawkeye being on the team for their whole run and Wasp, Hank Pym, Vision and Scarlet Witch all serving long stints on the book. Which team had Doctor Druid on their roster, ya know?

And yet, let's face it, they were inherently the "second class" Avengers just by virtue of them having the whole "West Coast" part in their name. There was the Avengers and then there was the West Coast Avengers. The West Coast Avengers had some top rate creators on them (Steve Englehart, John Byrne, Roy and Dann Thomas) and they were a well-regarded series for years, but they were also clearly the OTHER Avengers team. There's nothing wrong with that, of course. You can still be a great comic book even as the OTHER Avengers series (for instance, I'm looking forward like crazy to Kelly Thompson's West Coast Avengers book, but heck, her book seems to specifically run ON the notion that the team is very much the "other" Avengers. They're funding themselves through a reality series!). However, one of the funny side effects is that when you want to have the Avengers guest-star in your comic book, you're almost never going to pick the West Coast team. Even wehn the "real" Avengers was, like, Sersi, Crystal and Black Knight, you would still choose them over the West Coast team.

Except sometimes they actually WERE guest-stars in other titles. We'll spotlight five instances of this happening. Note that we are specifically eliminating their guest appearances in comics that starred members of the team (Iron Man and Wonder Man) as, well, come on, that should just be obvious, right? Similarly, we're eliminating guest appearances where EVERY superhero guest-starred in the comic (like Secret Wars II, Acts of Vengeance, Infinity War, etc.) or when it was an Avengers crossover or something like that. We are just looking for times that a comic book series said, "Hey, let's have some guest stars in this issue. I know, how about the West Coast Avengers?"

Also, you could PROBABLY count their crossovers with Darkhawk in the 1992 Annuals (back then, Marvel would do these crossovers involving their annuals and if you were a character that was hard to tie into other series, writers would have to come up with bizarre reasons to get, say, Darkhawk crossed over with the Iron Man, Avengers West Coast and Wonder Man Annuals), but I won't, as crossovers are iffy for me on whether that constitutes "guest-starring," as if you're doing a crossover, then it is more like a CO-starring thing, right? Same reason I'm discounting their early crossover with Vision and Scarlet Witch.

Okay, on to the list!

Captain America #308 (by Mark Gruenwald, Paul Neary and John Beatty) is first up. Now, you might be thinking, "Wait, wasn't that part of Secret Wars II? Didn't you just discount Secret Wars II from this?" and while yes, that's true, Cap #308 isn't REALLY a Secret Wars II crossover. It's a regular issue of Cap where the Beyonder just watches Cap all issue long and then makes his own body at the end based on Cap's body. It's really just a regular issue of Cap and it opens with Cap visiting his old friend Hawkeye and the West Coast Avengers...

Next, bizarrely enough, is John Byrne's FINAL issue of his legendary Fantastic Four run. He left in the middle of a story where Reed, Sue and Johnny are on one adventure while She-Hulk is busy with the West Coast Avengers (the issue, Fantastic Four #293, was inked by Al Gordon. Roger Stern would come on to finish the story based on Byrne's plot)...

In Damage Control #3 (by Dwayne McDuffie and Ernie Colon), Wonder Man stars in a Damage Control movie and his teammates are there for the premiere...

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