the Kids Are Alright: West Coast Avengers (Marvel, 2018)
In the late 80’s the West Coast Avengers had become the quasi-respectable b-team. This was largely due to a run by John Byrne. Eventually, the West Coast team was disassembled. considering how few comics seem to take place outside of the New York locations of so many Marvel comics, this is a bit of a shame.
But in 2018, Marvel brought back the team. Once again led by a Hawkeye, the team is a bit different this time around. There are two Hawkeyes, for one thing. Clint Barton is more along for the ride, giving the leadership mantle to Kate Bishop.
Along with the Hawkeyes…Hawkei? Is there a special term for this situation? Anyways, along with the two Hawkeyes, there is America Chavez (super strong and able to transport the team to locations), arrogant telepath Quentin Quire, the quirky Gwenpool and Kate’s boyfriend Fuse.
Through Quentin, the team is filmed by a documentary crew, allowing for character asides a la the Office. In their first storyline, giant monsters are attacking the city (beginning with former West Coast Avenger Tigra). The man behind it is B.R.O.D.O.K. however, he claims at first he is reformed and no longer evil. to get to the bottom of it all, they allow him to hang out with the team.
to an extent, this series feels a bit more like a spiritual cousin to Young Avengers, rather than a continuation of the West Coast Avengers. This is not a bad, thing, as writer Kelly Thompson seems to have a specific vision for this team. mainly, that seems to be…fun:
Land sharks folks.
I really like the line art by Daniele Di Nicuolo. The characters are slightly cartoony with a really expressive look. when you add the often bright “neon” colors from Tríona Farrell make this look different from prior Avengers books. It feels kind of…California. Joe Caramagna’s lettering keeps the playful feel of the book going.
Certainly, the use of a reality show to advance the character arcs is not a wholly new one, and Marvel has done it before. But Thompson understands how to use it in a fashion that keeps if from being either tired or intrusive.
West Coast Avengers has so far been a fun and enjoyable read. Thompson and the art team get the characters and how to make them both hilarious and interesting.
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