For our purposes, these three issues of West Coast Avengers (still the official title despite the new logo) are really more of a Captain America/She-Hulk team-up story within the larger “Vision Quest” storyline that saw the Vision dismantled and reassembled with no emotions (and with a completely white appearance), as well as the truth behind his children with the Scarlet Witch revealed, which would have repercussions on Wanda and the broader Marvel Universe for years. But we will discuss little of that here, as Cap and Shulkie only touch peripherally on it. (And if nothing else, we get to see John Byrne drawing these two heroes again!)
Our two heroes appear first near the end of issue #47, when they become aware of a Quinjet, belonging to the West Coast team, that was destroyed. (Look how heroically Cap rushes to the alarm in the top right panel! The man just can’t help himself.)
Earlier the issue, we saw the the quinjet had been stolen by Wanda and Vision to travel to Saunders College in Texas in response to an offer from a faculty member to help with their problem (more Wanda’s, as she wants Vision restored to his previous state more then he does). However, it was actually a ruse designed to capture Wanda and use her to transform humanity into mutants (back when she was still considered a mutant, don’t get me started please).
In issue #48, Cap and She-Hulk rush to the scene, with the authorities offering help, but Cap seems to imply he needs to invoke his name to turn them down.
When they arrive, they meet the man who captured their teammates, Mr. Random…
…and both of them suspect something is not right, which continues (as we shall see below) even after the Vision pays them a visit.
Cap subtly questions Random…
…which only feeds their doubts, so he and She-Hulk agree to investigate further later.
That night, Cap and Shulkie go on the prowl, with the former assuring the latter that stealth is possible even if you’re a gamma-charged woman or a super-soldier…
…but those same features also help them climb lots of stairs!
Once they realize Random has Wanda and learn where she is, the need for stealth is gone, so She-Hulk smashes, and Cap follows, relying on the absorptive qualities of his shield—which She-Hulk helpfully reminded us of in Avengers #305, also written by John Byrne, natch—to soften the blow (to just a gentle WHONG).
They eventually find Wanda, looking like Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face after being “assimilated” to Mr. Random’s cause, and she brings the house down… on their heads.
Issue #49 opens with a striking close-up of two defeated Avengers taken down by one of their own…
…but after Random’s men take them to a cell and leave them alone, we see they were not as defeated as they made seem (despite Cap’s legendary antipathy toward “subterfuge”).
But Wanda is not the only teammate Cap must contend with, as he is lifted into a very Neal Adams-ish position in the top panel below. (Or is it just me?)
Cap dodges She-Hulk’s blows as he ponders what’s going on…
…before he falls to Random’s zap-gun. (Hey, do you have a better name for it?)
Random and She-Hulk deduce that Cap’s super-soldier serum prevented him from assimilating…
…wiping out “That Which Endures,” a prehistoric “passenger” that is present in some beings and allows them to speed up evolution, which in Random’s case means to bring about the rise of Homo superior. (Or something.)
Anyway, Hawkeye and the Great Lakes Avengers—his new crew, which he “adopted” in issue #46—arrive and save the day. Wanda wants to discuss the ramifications of what they have learned, but Vision couldn’t be arsed, so Cap happily picks up the slack, hoping that humanity’s future does not depend on That Which Endures.
West Coast Avengers (vol. 2) #47, August 1989: John Byrne (writer and pencils), Mike Machlan (inks), Bob Sharen (colors), Bill Oakley (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
West Coast Avengers (vol. 2) #48, September 1989: John Byrne (writer and pencils), Mike Machlan (inks), Bob Sharen (colors), Bill Oakley (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
West Coast Avengers (vol. 2) #49, October 1989: John Byrne (writer, pencils, and inks), Bob Sharen (colors), Bill Oakley (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
All collected in: Avengers West Coast Epic Collection: Vision Quest and Avengers West Coast: Vision Quest
ALSO THESE MONTHS: Captain America #356-357 (August-September 1989), Avengers #306-307 (August-September 1989), Captain America #358-360 (September-October 1989), Avengers #308 (October 1989), and Avengers Annual #18 (October 1989)
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