West Coast Avengers: A Brief History of California's Mightiest Heroes


Earlier this month, Marvel announced that a new volume of West Coast Avengers would arrive in August of this year. Written by CBR alum Kelly Thompson (Rogue & GambitHawkeye) and drawn by Stefano Caselli (Invincible Iron Man, Avengers World), the book will see Kate Bishop team up with "other Hawkeye (Clint Barton)," her boyfriend Johnny (aka FUSE), the Unbelievable Gwenpool, America Chavez and Quentin Quire (AKA Kid Omega) to take down the influx of villains heading to her new home of LA... and also earn cash by appearing on a reality show, in the style of the New Warriors.

The second project from Thompson since she signed an exclusive deal with Marvel, and Caselli's first big project since working with Brian Michael Bendis on Invincible Iron Man, this comic lookslike a fun romp in the vein of the late, lamented The Unbelievable Gwenpool and the most recent Kate-starring Hawkeye series. But as novel as it still is to see a Marvel team outside of NYC, this isn't the first time Clint or the Avengers have been fighting crime on the West Coast.

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In 1984, with the original Secret Wars in full swing, the Vision detected that the Dire Wraiths (aka, the Marvel villains from ROM Spaceknight that became very important to the Marvel Universe but may never be referenced in-continuity again as ROM was a tie-in toy comic) were coming and that more needed to be done to prepare for their arrival. Thus, in a four-issue miniseries written by Roger Stern (best known as the co-creator of the Hobgoblin) and drawn by Bob Hall (longtime Avengers and Spider-Man penciller in that era) and Brett Breeding, the Vision, after requesting permission from the US Government (who were supervising the Avengers more at the time) suggested to Clint that the Avengers expand their influence.


Liking the idea, Clint, his then-wife Mockingbird, Wonder Man, Tigra and Iron Man (who was Jim Rhodes at the time, unbeknownst to all, as Tony Stark was an alcoholic mess) decamped to Los Angeles, where they fought the Blank and Graviton. The initial West Coast Avengers miniseries proved so popular that an ongoing series of the same name began in October 1985.

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Initially written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Al Milgrom and Joe Sinnott, the team, cheerfully calling themselves the "WACOS," added Hank Pym as support and fought villains like Ultron and Master Pandemonium, an actor who, after losing his arm in a car crash, made a deal with Mephisto to get it back but wound up with a fragmented soul, demonically grafted metal limbs and demons living inside him that he could control for his trouble. (See, even before One More Day, people shouldn't have been making deals with Mephisto!) When Tony returned as Iron Man, he joined the team, but was kicked out for his actions during the "Armor Wars" storyline.

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