I have done some previously blogs (2 total) that have content that I want the world to see! These postings showcase my progression in the book blogging community and really how I have progressed as a reviewer of books. I hope you enjoy seeing some of these old posts from time to time!
The main founders of the team were Hawkeye and his wife, Mockingbird. Due to knowing some stories that happen later within the Marvel Universe it was interesting to see the beginning of the pairing here. This book took place shortly after their nuptials, as they were tasked to create a West Coast division of the superhero team “Avengers”.
Favorite Character – Firebird/Tigra
Least Fave Character – Wonder Man
Favorite Character – Spider-Woman
Least Favorite Character – Mockingbird/Living Lightening
It may seem like four team changes during the tenure of 102 is not a lot, but when many of these line-up changes do not take place in a singular issue but are spread out through numerous arcs and sometimes these characters only stay for a few issues (i.e. Living Lighening) before vanishing into obscurity, it all becomes a bit too much as a reader. This was one of the biggest issues I personally had with the book. It felt like it was constantly try to find its place within the Marvel Universe instead of just allowing itself to be a second group of the “Avengers”, which would have made the group stronger and by far more interesting to read.
My favorite character of the entire run is a toss-up between Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter) and Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff). The reason that I feel that these are my favorite characters are because those are the ones I am always drawn to when I want to read something from Marvel. I am instantly interested if either are mentioned. When Wanda was given her own series I was invested from the first issue. She is a strong female character that has had a lot happen to her, but she has survived it and comes back stronger. She becomes more ready to champion those around her. I feel that my love of Spider-Woman comes from seeing many of her issues growing up. Also having numerous action figures of her in my own collection of toys. I find her aesthetically appealing and I would like to model my own transition slightly after her, if possible. I also love the fact that she wants to be the best mother she can to her child, Rachel. I always have a deep amount of respect for someone that wants to take care of their children and Julia always is considering the effect of her life on her child.
My favorite overall story arc within the series was the “Darker Than Scarlet” story where Wanda Maximoff (aka Scarlet Witch) loses her sanity (umm doesn’t this happen to her a lot) and she is manipulated by her “father” Magneto. This was interesting having just recently came off the arc where she loses her children, which is another great arc in the 102 issues. I don’t want to go into further details about these story arcs because I want you to read them because they are readily available online and in collected editions because even though West Coast Avengers appears to be critically panned in this day and age by fans, it produced two of the best Scarlet Witch stories.
My least favorite story arc involved the Vision and I believe was started in the arc called “Vision Quest”, which is considered a classic by many people. This is the story that sees Vision lose his “humanity” and turn into the white-colored Vision. I did not enjoy seeing the character have this part of himself stripped away because it was what made him a likable character. There was something about him after this particular arc that made me want to stay away from reading about him, so I am glad that he did not feature so prominently in the rest of the series.
There were numerous villains that could be seen as “iconic” during the tenure, but perhaps the most well-known and to me the “best villain” was the classic “ULTRON” character. Here we get to see him getting rebuilt over a few of the times (since there have been numerous) and we even get to see a nicer, more gentler version during the run. The few stories with him as the “villain of the week” felt the strongest. The second best villain from WCA was the character “The Hangman”, which was attached to Wonder Man. This was unfortunate for him because I despise the character. The only villain in the series that I detested was the original villain named “Graviton”. He just seemed like a weak character to me, but for a first villain they did the story correctly. If the story had not been done correctly I would have probably hated reading this entire run, since it was the entire set-up to the series. I also found that a hero/villain featured I did not enjoy much was the character Ghost Rider (original) because they took an iconic character and made him evil. The torture and abuse that he puts Mockingbird through in the story involving him was a bit much, even for comic books. It made him one of the worst villains in the sense of I HATE YOU! VILLAIN! senses.
Final Thoughts –
As I progressed through the series I started to understand something about my previous comic book reading habits as well. I noticed that a lot of the comics that I was drawn to at Marvel largely contained someone from WCA, such as Moon Knight’s solo series or Tigra in Avengers: The Initiative. I did not know either that this is where I started my love for the slapstick team of “Great Lake Avengers”! I enjoy seeing these characters, even in the more series stuff that was produced by Marvel containing them. These are some of my favorite Marvel characters and it is all because I was exposed to them early on in childhood through this comic book series. I fell in love with Tigra, a woman that also a cat. I fell in love with a deeply flawed woman named Wanda that had to deal with so many pains that I could identify with. I saw a woman that simply wanted to take care of her child, even though now she was a superhero. I saw strong females in this series and I wished to be like them. I wished to know their adventures and see them succeed in the face of evil and atrocities. This is why I believe I will always have a soft spot in my heart for this team. They will always be “my superhero team”. I will always be an honorary West Coast Avenger!
The final issue of “West Coast Avengers” saw the team TERMINATED by the other branch of the AVENGERS! Due to this injustice some of the WCA decided to form a new team, which resulted in the team “FORCE WORKS”. As a result…