This Character Needs a Comic: The West Coast Avengers
Ever since the announcement of The Avengers movie and its subsequent and overwhelmingly well-received release, Marvel has been milking every aspect of its Avengers franchise for all its worth—especially the comics! Today there are so many Avengers teams that it’s leaving our heads spinning. On top of the original team we got New, Dark, Secret, Uncanny, Diet, and Holiday Spice Avengers. Each serves a somewhat vague function and protects the world on their own terms. But since Marvel is keen to having so many variations of the Avengers team roaming the world and beyond at once, why not bring back the one that safeguarded the state of California and the West? That’s right, we’re talking about the West Coast Avengers!
Who Are The West Coast Avengers?
Immediately following Marvel’s 1984 Secret Wars maxi-series that sent a handful of Avengers and other heroes and villains to an alternate dimension, returning team members were met with a change in the status quo: as decided by the Avengers’ then leader, Vision, there would be a second unit of Avengers established on the West Coast to act as an ancillary group for the main team. And who was given the honor of leading this new and experimental assemblage? None other than the swashbuckling hothead Hawkeye!
Hawkeye along with fellow Avenger and girlfriend, Mockingbird, arrived on the sprawling West Coast Avengers Compound just in time to meet the team’s inaugural roster—all of them veteran Avengers: Iron Man (James “Rhodey” Rhodes temporarily filling in for Tony Stark), Wonder Man, and Tigra. Initially the roster was markedly smaller than that of their East Coast colleagues, but the ranks quickly swelled with the inclusion of more heroes such as the Fantastic Four’s very own Thing, the mysterious Moon Knight, and neophytes Firebird and Living Lightning.
The West Coast Avengers faced a number of threats both new and familiar during their tenure as California’s team of defenders, but they were forced to disband once the East Coast branch unanimously voted that, due to the West Coast team’s roster being in a constant state of flux and the costly (and near constant) repairs to their compound, it was more beneficial to have the members be reabsorbed back into the main Avengers team; this decision was, obviously, met with opposition. Since then, the West Coast Avengers have become a source of derision and an example product of Marvel’s wackier days. But any true fan will say otherwise.
Why They Deserve Their Own Series
The first and most obvious reason is that the West Coast Avengers have a clearly defined set of functions: defend the West Coast and other areas in the western portion of the continental U.S. and provide support for the main Avengers team when needed. Today’s current Avengers teams don’t truly vary despite what the prefix in their respective team names may imply. The Secret Avengers have become less black-ops with the Dark Avengers kind of filling that role as of late, while the New Avengers—touted as the street-level, in-your-face team—have become no different from the main Avengers in that they’re also combating threats both galactic and paranormal. Basically, it’s difficult to actually give each team a proper label given that their mission statements have become ambiguous over the years. With the West Coast Avengers, their mission is clear.
As it stands, there aren’t any heroes stationed to defend California from threats. Whether or not the X-Men and the other mutants return to their island home of Utopia off the coast of San Francisco post-“Avengers Vs. X-Men” remains to be seen, so it makes sense that there be an organized group ready to take on any disasters or attacks that may come; super villains, ancient deities and other creeps aren't localized entirely in New York and they don’t let geographical boundaries stop them either. Plus, the West Coast Avengers Compound is still standing and fully equipped with the latest technology since it was previously used as the base of operations for the Avengers Academy and its students.
Come the semi-reboot of Marvel’s series of comics in their Marvel Now! initiative, the main Avengers team will be an all-star cast including the movie roster and other cashcows like Wolverine and Spider-Man. In other words, no B-listers. So where can left-out Avengers like Vision, Quicksilver, or Photon find some well-deserved recognition? Go west, young Avengers—a potential audience awaits you!
Would you read a West Coast Avengers series?