Monday, August 24, 2009
1985 - West Coast Avengers/Vision and the Scarlet Witch Crossover
The West Coast Avengers #1-2
The Vision and the Scarlet Witch #1-2
Steve Englehart, writer
Allen Milgrom/Joe Sinnott, artists - West Coast Avengers
Richard Howell/Andy Mushynsky, artists - The Vision and the Scarlet Witch
I can’t say that I was overly fond of Englehart’s first run on the Avengers (#105-150ish), but he was one of Marvel’s underrated writers in the 1980s penning the West Coast Avengers and Silver Surfer.
And one of his best stoylines didn’t involve some of the more recognizable Avengers like Captain America, Thor, Wasp. But rather the 2nd Avengers team, the West Coast Avengers.
>The basic blot involved the Grim Reaper who wants the brother he knew (Simon Williams) back and he’s willing to destroy the Vision and Wonder Man to bring that about. He forms an alliance with Ultron who also wants the Vision destroyed. And for good measure, throw in a wildcard, one Dr. Henry Pym (Ultron’s creator).
Steve Englehart did a great job with the story all around. On one side with the West Coast Avengers he juggles five very different characters and through some good characterization establishes the bonds between them. He also manages to insert a level of intimacy by recounting their individual origins.
On the other side in the Vision and the Scarlet Witch, in a strong prolog sequence, he delves into the origins of both the Vision and Scarlet Witch. In both titles, he spends a lot of time on the characters and demonstrates the importance of their internal conflict as well as physical:
- The Vision’s ongoing struggle to be human as well as deal with the consequences of his recent actions in the Ultimate Vision where he tries to take over the world’s computers.
- Wonder Man realizing who he was and how he’s become a better man as well as coping with his fear of dying.
- Tigra’s inner struggle with her feline side and trying to contribute to a team in which she feels inadequate.
- Pym, who has sworn off heroes, is dragged back into it because of his past actions.
- And Hawkeye who is trying to bring his team together and establish it as a legitimate branch of the Avengers.
The art in The West Coast Avengers is good, dynamic, and simple, but nothing more than that. However, the art in The Vision and the Scarlet Witch is weaker and the action doesn’t flow as well as its counter part.
It was nice to see a complicated crossover span only 4 issues (2 of which were 39-page special issues). It was a great start for both series, but unfortunately the Vision and the Scarlet Witch didn’t live up to for the length of their 12-issue run.
The story ends as predictably as super-hero epic do, with good triumphing over evil since the evil doers couldn’t work together and were defeated by the good who did come together as a team. The Vision and Wonder Man force a climatic confrontation with their brother, the Grim Reaper. They force the Grim Reaper to abandon his prestige view of his brother Simon, but he sees the bond between Vision and Wonder Man as something he can never be a part of, and dies fleeing from this.
And enjoyable read worth keeping an eye out for.