The final issue of West Coast Avengers (or Avengers West Coast, if you’re so inclined) sees the team calling it a day—not entirely voluntarily, though. And as you may have guessed based on the subtle hints on the cover, this does not sit well with some of its members, most of whom immediately make plans for a new venture (previewed below).
Our story opens with quite a dramatic statement from the Vision…
…followed by the top part of a two-page spread, in which he prepares to give his reasons (having been the one to initiate the idea of a second Avengers team, although not with the best of intentions).
If we zoom in on the right side of the image, we see the Scarlet Witch and USAgent are the most vocally upset about this—and if Cap is already this annoyed with Walker, you can imagine how it goes from here.
Vision starts by citing the haphazard nature of the West Coast team’s membership, with several prominent members (Hawkeye and Wonder Man) missing, and their headquarters being repeatedly subject to attacks. Wanda argues that this is a result of their team being underfunded compared to the “premiere” team in NYC, an argument that Cap dismisses—unfairly, says this public university professor—citing ancient history when the team consisted of just four members and a dream. Then he turns to War Machine and USAgent specifically, criticizing their performance in the recent Bloodties event, becoming very sarcastic with Walker in particular. (I mean, sure, it’s Walker, but still—not a good look for Cap when he’s trying to make a point.)
Vision reclaims the floor, proposing that the West Coast team be terminated and the members be considered for reserve status with the primary team, to which Wanda takes particular umbrage. After she reminds her colleagues that she’s been an Avenger longer than her ex-husband, another Avenger shows up to say he’s been there even longer than Cap—and then gets into it with him (giving Walker a break).
Tony makes the point that Operation: Galactic Storm signaled a split in the team and demanding an update in their thinking. (And he’s much less contrite about those events than he was in Captain America #401!)
Cap argues in return that this shift in thinking, which he has acknowledged recently, is not something to be celebrated or encouraged. Before Tony can respond, though, USAgent decides he wants to run with the big dogs, but Cap shuts him down hard—and when Hercules offers to take him down a notch, Cap tells him not to feed the trolls. (In the next panel, Tony puts a hand on Walker’s shoulder and says, apparently in the spirit of counseling respect for your elders, “Not here. Not now. Not ever.”)
Note that Walker is leaning on his fists the same way Cap does on the cover, which I always found odd. (For Cap, that is… not for John. Weirdo.)
Jarvis arrive in the nick of time to announce that lunch is served, giving the assembled heroes a chance to… continue the discussion in a different room.
War Machine resents Tony for making him look like a junior Iron Man, then quits the team and flies away. This earns Tony more criticism from Cap, which only attracts Walker’s interest anew…
…and this time, Cap decides he is worth it (if only because he simply won’t go away).
Walker raises his fist, and Cap doesn’t react—but Tony does, reminding John of what he said earlier. (Maybe it’s a case of “nobody hits my brother but me”? Tony’s certainly no happier with Cap than John is, albeit for more legitimate reasons.)
Finally they vote on Vision’s proposal, with the members of the two groups mostly taking predictable sides and Tony casting the deciding vote in favor of disbanding the West Coast team. This comes as a surprise, especially to Cap, but Tony makes clear the damage is irreparable at this point.
Understandably, Wanda refuses to accept reservist status and quits instead…
…followed by Tony and Walker…
…and finally Spider-Woman. Outside, Tony tells his fellow former Avengers of his plans for a new team, and when Cap and the others chase after them to talk it out, they decline.
At the end, we get a rather touching scene with John Walker, who has apparently not just given up being an Avenger, but his role as USAgent as well.
Not so fast! He is lured back to rejoin the rest of the West Coast gang in Tony’s new group in May 1994’s Force Works #1 (written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, the writers of West Coast Avengers #102, with art by Tom Tenney, Rey Garcia, Joe Rosas, and John Morelli). And look. at. his. costume!
West Coast Avengers (vol. 2) #102, January 1994: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (writers), Dave Ross (pencils), Tim Dixon (inks), Bob Sharen (colors), Steve Dutro (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Not yet collected. (Force Works #1, however, has been.)
PREVIOUS ISSUES: West Coast Avengers #101, Avengers #368-369, X-Men #26, and Uncanny X-Men #307 (November-December 1993)
ALSO THIS MONTH: Captain America #423 and Marvels #1 and Avengers #370, Thunderstrike #4, and Plasmer #3 (January 1994)
>War Machine resents Tony for making him look like a junior Iron Man
I mean, moreso due to all the shenanigans Tony pulled when he faked his death while keeping Rhodey out of the loop.
And I get what they were going for with the Agent’s new costume – they hoped they could make him his own man instead of an alternate Captain America. They failed, but it was worth a shot.
Good points! And I can appreciate trying to distinguish John, but geez… LOL