Avengers West Coast #102

Issue Date: 
January 1994
Story Title: 
Avengers West Coast: Terminated a.k.a. “The Avengers West Coast are Finished!”

Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning (Writers), Dave Ross (Penciler), Tim Dizon (Inker), Steve Dutro (Letterer), Bob Sharen (Colorist), John Lewandowski (Assistant Editor), Nelson Yomtov (Editor), Tom DeFalco (Editor in Mourning)

Brief Description: 

Scarlet Witch, USAgent, Spider Woman and War Machine have arrived at Avengers Mansion in New York for a meeting to discuss the future of the Avengers West Coast. Wanda is furious at the way her ex husband the Vision is chairman of the meeting and already talks about the team as if it is no more. With Captain America and the Black Widow quite clearly on his side, the Vision claims that the Avengers West was an “experimental” operation which has always been overshadowed by the original team, that their Compound has been so badly damaged their ailing funds will not be able to repair it, and it’s roster is not the most powerful. Captain America reminds the Avengers West of their recent mission to Genosha, and how USAgent and War Machine did not perform up to standards. The Vision informs the four West Coast Avengers that after they have had evaluations done on them, they can be reintegrated into the East Coast team on reservist status, which Wanda is extremely unhappy about. Long time West Coast member Hank Pym has sympathy for his former teammates and suggests that there must be a better way to deal with this, when Iron Man makes an unexpected arrival. This upsets War Machine, before Iron Man reveals that he thinks this is an anti-West Coast vendetta and reminds Captain America of Galactic Storm, telling him that they don’t want what happened there to happen here. USAgent is about to spark a fight with Captain America, when Jarvis announces that lunch is served. During lunch, the West Coasters ask Iron Man what is going on, but he doesn’t answer them. War Machine and Iron Man have an argument which results in War Machine quitting and flying off, while USAgent and Cap have another argument also. Back in the conference room, Iron Man tells the Vision that he has said all there is to be said, and they should just put this to a vote. Captain America, the Vision, Black Widow, Black Knight and Hercules all vote for disbanding the West Coast Avengers, while Wanda, Spider Woman, USAgent, Sersi and Hank Pym vote against. Crystal abstains, leaving Iron Man as the tie breaker - and shocking everyone, he votes to disband the team he was a member of for so long. Iron Man explains that the team cannot function without the support of the East Coast team, before Captain America suggests they talk about integrating the West Coasters into reservist status - which leads a furious Scarlet Witch to quit. Iron Man follows suit, despite the pleads of his friends, and the USAgent and Spider Woman are not far behind. Iron Man tells Wanda and Julia to meet with him back in Palos Verdes as he has something he wants to discuss with them, while unbeknownst to everyone, some mysterious beings are keeping watch of the Avengers, and have a interest in Vision and Wonder Man. Later, a very upset USAgent tosses his uniform and shield into the ocean, while Wonder Man arrives back at Palos Verdes, only for Iron Man to reveal to him that the Avengers West Coast have been disbanded.

Full Summary: 

‘The Avengers West Coast are FINISHED!’ exclaims the android Avenger known as the Vision in a very tense meeting being held deep within Avengers Mansion in New York. The Vision stands up at the round table and thanks the Avengers’ Chairperson, Natasha Romanova a.k.a. the Black Widow for allowing him to chair this extraordinary meeting. Sitting alongside the Vision are his teammates Steve Rogers, better known as Captain America, the sultry Sersi, Dane Whitman the handsome Black Knight, Hank Pym in his Giant Man guise, Olympian God Hercules, and the Royal Inhuman Crystalia “Crystal” Amaquelin.

The Vision announces that recent events have shown it is imperative that they review the viability of the West Coast division, and as progenitor of the concept, he feels it is his duty to conduct the post-mortem on this experimental team which - ‘POST-MORTEM?’ shouts the Vision’s long-estranged wife and leader of the Avengers West Coast, Wanda Maximoff, a.k.a. the mighty Scarlet Witch. Wanda motions to her teammates beside her - Julia Carpenter a.k.a. Spider Woman, James Rhodes a.k.a. War Machine and John Walker a.k.a. the handsome USAgent - and tells the Vision that if he hadn’t noticed, there are four living, breathing members of the West Coast team right here in front of him.

Sporting a new elegant and revealing dress-style costume, and with her hair straightened and shorter, Wanda remarks ‘You insist we attend this meeting and then you refer to us as if we’re terminated!’ She declares that as West Coast chairperson, she demands a full explanation. The USAgent stands up and exclaims ‘Darn straight! Are we allied teams? Or is this some blasted kangaroo court-martial?’ Captain America tells his “lesser” to sit down and let the Vision continue.

The Vision states that any assessment of the West Coast performance must conclude that it is an understudy operation, overshadowed by the power and competence of the original Avengers. The Vision adds that the West Coast branch’s fluctuating membership has robbed it of any consistency and reliability in the field, and that those in attendance today represent a sadly depleted force. He remarks that while Hawkeye’s absence is understandable, Wonder Man is a baffling absentee. The Vision reveals that Wonder Man’s last known location was the third-world state of Kanem, where he engaged the Hulk, and declares that his cavalier behavior seems characteristic of the West Coast team’s priorities.

While former long-time West Coast Avenger Hank Pym looks at his West Coast teammates, the Vision tells the Avengers West to consider the vulnerability of the West Coast Compound, as it is under constant attack, and not it is in a demolished state. He reminds Spider Woman that her daughter was in constant jeopardy. ‘Pardon me for being fertile!’ snaps Julia. The Vision asks Julia to forgive him, as there was no intended discourtesy and claims that his observations are intended as an objective evaluation and not as a personal slight on her.

‘It sure as heck sounds personal to me!’ shouts the USAgent as he stands up and defends his friend. Wanda tells him that there is no need to shout, ‘That’s my job! I don’t believe what I’m hearing!’ she exclaims, declaring that the Vision’s sanctimonious attitude is equaled only by his blindness to what they regularly achieve. The Vision doesn’t answer his ex-wife, so the Black Widow tells Wanda that the aim of this meeting is to reconcile the situation, not drive them apart with bitter recriminations.

The Vision addresses Wanda formally and tells her that she accuses him of blindness, but surely she is failing to see the problems that beset the West Coast operation, reminding her that their Compound has been severely damaged by attacks that might have been avoided, and the cost of rebuilding will be scarcely met by their ailing finances - only the continued support of the Stark Foundation is preventing bankruptcy. The Vision asks if such financial extravagance is justifiable to maintain a four-person roster that is clearly not the most powerful in the world? ‘That’s hardly surprising…your team always gets the gods’ Wanda mutters angrily.

Captain America goes over to a large screen and tells his long-time friend to be reasonable, reminding her that the team has always been what they make of it, and asking her if that wasn’t the cast when the “Mighty Avengers” consisted of the two of them, Quicksilver and Hawkeye? The screen flicks on and Captain America suggests they take a look at their recent mission with the X-Men to Genosha. Images of War Machine fighting Exodus, and the USAgent flash on, and Captain America reminds War Machine that when he battled Exodus he allowed him to defeat him spiritually.

Captain America reminds Rhodey that Exodus tore him apart psychologically - not physically, but his taunts of racial superiority were used to goad and weaken him. Turning to the USAgent, Captain America remarks that he was chosen to accompany Professor Xavier to Genosha for his sheer brute force - and at no time was he required to exercise his famous powers of composure and diplomacy. Each of the Avengers West listen and watch intently, until the screen goes blank.

The Vision thanks Captain America and remarks that the problems are becoming abundantly clear. ‘Avengers West has failed, conceptually and practically’. He states that the logical response is to wind up the operation and re-absorb the membership into the East Coast organization. The Vision declares that re-evaluation will be necessary for certain individuals, and until then, they will be placed on reservist status. Wanda gets to her feet again. ‘Reservist?’ she asks, asking if all they are going to do is odd jobs. ‘Are we such an embarrassment? Has your work been so much more important than ours?’

Hank Pym exclaims that this bickering isn’t necessary, that there must be a solution agreeable to all. He suggests that they create a governing committee of long-serving members to administrate both teams, that way they can coordinate the Avengers as a whole and have a role for everybody. Julia asks Hank who the “we” is, to which he replies ‘Veteran members such as Cap…Vision…’ when suddenly, a furious Wanda shouts ‘I’ve served longer than the Vision! Just then, another Avenger enters the room, and in support of Wanda exclaims ‘And I’ve served longer than Captain America!’

‘You!’ exclaims Cap as he looks at the newcomer, ‘Ha! Reinforcements!’ remarks USAgent. Iron Man walks over to his former teammates and declares that it seems to him that the notion of what an Avenger is has changed for each of them over the years. He suggests that they should be taking a long hard look at every aspect of the operation, rather than just singling out the Avengers West. ‘Him, great’ mutters War Machine, while Cap asks Tony Stark if he honestly believes this to be an anti-West Coast vendetta.

The Vision greets Iron Man and remarks that they were not expecting his attendance. Iron Man replies that he hopes it doesn’t mean he is not invited, and tells Captain America than in answer to his question, he is afraid that he does think this is an anti-West Coast vendetta, remarking that not all Avengers are of a like mind - and Galactic Storm showed them that. He reminds everyone that the team was split over the decision to eliminate the Supreme Intelligence. He adds that none of them who participated in that mission regret their actions, as the Supreme Intelligence was monstrously dangerous and had to be stopped forever.

Iron Man recalls that on that day, Captain America said the Avengers would never be the same again - and he was right - though not because they decided to kill, as he thought, but because they began to question the traditional philosophies of the Avengers. ‘Discord exists already…the entire Avengers concept needs rethinking!’

Captain America stands up and declares that Galactic Storm didn’t question their traditions, it nearly destroyed them! ‘So you’d still let a genocidal killer walk free?’ Agent asks Cap. Captain America tells USAgent not to goad him, as he doesn’t like it. ‘Blast you and your superior attitude, Rogers!’ John exclaims, slamming his fists into the table and cracking it. Hercules leaps up and asks Agent if he wants to settle this with brawn, but Captain America tells him to sit down and not to give Agent the pleasure. ‘Not here. Not now. Not ever!’ Iron Man whispers to Agent.

Hercules declares that there has been enough debate, so they should cast their vote. ‘Why bother? What’s to vote about?’ asks Sersi. Black Widow calls to her team members, when suddenly, Edwin Jarvis enters the chamber, informing them that luncheon is served on the patio.

Shortly, Sersi leans against a table laden with food, while Hercules remarks that USAgent is an ill-tempered lout who should be taught a lesson. Captain America asks Hercules what that would achieve, and points out that this is going badly as it is. The Black Widow tells her teammates that she has never seen Wanda so angry, but somehow, she doesn’t blame her. Standing in the middle of the room, Crystal and Dane are supporting Hank, as Dane remarks that this cannot be easy for him. Hank remarks that there must be something he can say, as he was part of their team for so long.

On the other side of the room, Agent, Wanda and Julia are gathered together, and Wanda declares that she is still shaking, as this is so unfair. ‘Unfair? This bites!’ Julia exclaims. As Iron Man enters the room, Jarvis asks War Machine if he is sure he won’t have anything to eat. Noticing Iron Man, Rhodey replies that he has just lost his appetite. Iron Man passes the Avengers West Coast as USAgent asks him what the story is. ‘This mean you’re back in the team?’ Spider Woman asks. Iron Man tells them that he will explain later, and noticing Hank wants to say something, he tells him ‘Not now’. ‘But, Tony, I -’ ‘He’s not listening’ Crystal tells him.

Iron Man approaches Jarvis and thanks him for the timely intervention back in the conference room, as things were getting a bit heated. Jarvis tells his employer that he is at a loss as to know what to think, for he is torn between to him, to the Avengers here at the mansion…’What will happen, sir? Tell me it will be all right!’ Iron Man assures Jarvis not to worry, and that his place is here, for it is his home and these people here need him, they’re his family now.

Tony goes over to War Machine and asks him if they can talk. Rhodey calls Tony something offensive and tells him to back off, asking him when he is finally going to understand that the time for talking is long gone. War Machine declares that to make it perfectly clear, he wants Tony to know that he doesn’t appreciate this cheap bit of theatrics, and asks him if he is trying to make him look like some second-rate imitation of the real thing. Iron Man tells James that this thing is bigger than any beef he has with him, and puts his hand on War Machine’s shoulder, only for Rhodey to exclaim that he has had enough of Iron Man’s endless spandex politics.

‘You and your Avengers can do what you like - I’m outta here! I quit!’ War Machine declares as he takes to the air and flies off, despite Iron Man calling to him and asking him to wait. ‘Looks like things are worse than I thought!’ Iron Man then remarks. Captain America asks Tony what happened, to which Iron Man tells Cap to leave it alone, as it was personal, and War Machine has quit the Avengers because of a conflict of interests. ‘What? The Avengers’ newest member walks and you say “just forget about it”?’ Cap asks, before reminding Tony that the Avengers depend on team spirit, and that if he and Rhodes have had a disagreement, they should discuss it, not drive him away.

Captain America declares that they cannot have another Galactic Storm, that they must talk things out. Iron Man begins to protest, when USAgent remarks to Wanda and Spider Woman that he doesn’t believe Captain America, before storming over there and asking him why he cannot let that Galactic Storm business go. ‘You’re still steamed because their actions were louder than your words!’ Captain America mutters that it is typical of USAgent, remarking that he would like to solve every problem with physical violence - even this argument no doubt.

Agent declares that Captain America makes him sick, and claims that he was prepared to talk, but as “Mister high and mighty” is always right…’I’d hate to disappoint you!’ John declares, raising his fist to Captain America - only for Iron Man to grab, and pulling him aside tells him that he meant what he said earlier - ‘Not here. Not now. Not ever’. Wanda glances at Agent and suggests that everyone calms down, or else they will never get any sense into this ridiculous situation. ‘Well said, Wanda’ declares Giant Man, suggesting that they reconvene this meeting and try to reach a decision before anything else happens. Julia quietly says to Agent that whacking Cap wouldn’t have accomplished a lot, would it? ‘Nope, but it sure would have felt good!’ Agent replies.

Soon, everyone is back in the conference room, and the Vision brings the meeting back to order, announcing that there are several more evaluations he would like to make, when Iron Man suddenly tells the Vision that he thinks he has said everything that needs to be said, so he suggests they stop procrastinating and put it to a vote. The Vision glances at the Black Widow, who tells him to do as Iron Man says. ‘Very well. All those in favor of disbanding the Avengers West Coast operation?’

Captain America and the Black Widow both show their support for the Vision and announce that they agree. Wanda gives a very firm ‘Nay’, Somewhat unsure, the Black Knight exclaims ‘Yes…I suppose’. Leaning back in his chair, the USAgent swears as he exclaims ‘No way!’ Crystal abstains, while Sersi smiles as she declares that she votes against - as she doesn’t want “these people” cluttering up the mansion. ‘Nice vote, lousy motive’ Julia tells Sersi, before stating that she is also a “nay”. Hank Pym also says no, for he believes that there must be another way. Hercules is another “aye”, and the Vision announces that he also votes affirmative, meaning they have five for and five against, with one abstention.

The Vision turns to Iron Man and asks him if he wishes to exercise his voting privilege, to which Tony replies ‘Darn right I do. I VOTE WE DISBAND THE AVENGERS WEST COAST!’ The Vision carries the motion as everyone turns to Tony, ‘What the -’ exclaims Julia, as Captain America tells Iron Man that he surprises him, and asks why. Iron Man explains that the team cannot continue to function with the resentment and lack of support from the East Coast team. He adds that there will be no going back and suggests that they just end it cleanly.

‘Then it’s settled!’ Cap exclaims, before suggesting that they discuss the mechanics of the break-up. He points out that they will need to issue a press-statement and work out how the West Coast membership can be absorbed into the East Coast on a reservist status. ‘RESERVIST?’ shouts Wanda. ‘After all this time as an Avenger? For the record, ladies and gentlemen - the Scarlet Witch just QUIT!’ With that, Wanda tosses her identification card onto the table, and storms away, though Cap asks her to wait, she ignores him.

Iron Man tells the shocked Cap that Wanda means business - she won’t be back - and neither will he! Tony places his identification card on the table too, to which Cap asks him why he is quitting, for he supported the break up of the West Coast branch. ‘Yes, I did. But I didn’t mean I was going to stay’ Tony explains. As he walks out of the room also, Tony remarks that he knows it sounds corny, but that he believes it is better this way. With that, he simply says goodbye. ‘Tony! After all we’ve been through!’ Hank exclaims.

Black Widow looks at USAgent, who says ‘Get real, Widow…do you really even need to ask?’ Hank exclaims that he cannot believe this is happening, and asks Julia to stay with them - with the Avengers, as they are not trying to drive her away. Julia stands up and thanks Hank, before remarking that if there is no room in this outfit for the likes of Iron Man or the Scarlet Witch, then she doesn’t think she is going to be up to their exacting standards. Tossing her card on the table next to the other three, Julia tells them its been real. The other Avengers look at Hank, ‘That went really well, didn’t it?’ he remarks, quite upset.

Outside, Wanda and Iron Man are standing together, and Tony motions to Julia, remarking to Wanda that it looks like it was a clean sweep of resignations. Wanda asks Tony why he did it - ‘Why did you vote that way?’ As Julia joins them, Tony explains that it was time for a change, that they were going no where as an imitation of the main group, and their only future lies in an identity of their own. He tells the women that he has some ideas he would like to share with them both if they will meet him at their Palos Verdes Compound in two days, where he will explain everything. With that, Iron Man takes off into the air.

The other Avengers suddenly approach Wanda and Spider Woman and ask them to reconsider. Hank suggests that they take a Quinjet back to the West Coast and think it over for a couple of days. Sternly, Wanda declares that their minds are made up. ‘And we’ll make our own way now, thanks’. Captain America agrees with Hank, and asks the women to give it some thought. The Vision looks at his ex-wife with no emotion, then Wanda and Julia turn their backs on the Avengers and walk away. Julia asks Wanda if they did the right thing, for she has never felt so scared! ‘Ask me again in six months…’ Wanda replies.

Elsewhere, ‘Ask me again in six months…’ Wanda reply is being shown on a view screen. Someone announces that scanner resolution is now at optimum - the world below them is totally exposed to their inquisition, The mysterious person exclaims that he will activate the bio-spore tracer if Hala is willing to find their quarrels in a few short hours. Someone else declares that it doesn’t matter how long it takes, for they will be patient until they find them - and then they will act. ‘Are you sure these are the two we were told of?’ Looking at images of Wonder Man and the Vision, the first being replies ’Oh, yes. Quite sure!’

The wind is cold out here in the shadow of Liberty. The ferry rocks on the grey tide, its motors thudding. There is a salt-tang in the air, like the taste of tears. It is like the end of a marriage, when there’s nothing left to be said, and there’s nothing left to do but walk away…walk away and try to forget what could have been. USAgent looks at his shield, with his uniform strapped underneath it. He thinks that he didn’t want it to end like this, and while he wasn’t always happy working with them, it was the best he ever had. Tossing his shield and costume into the ocean, it almost breaks his heart. ’It’s over, blast it…and I don’t believe in anything anymore’. As the ferry draws closer to Liberty Island, John’s shield sinks.

Epilogue: Avengers West Compound, Palos Verdes, California. A figure slowly drops down from the sky, landing on the grounds of the badly demolished complex that used to be home to one league of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. It’s Simon Williams a.k.a. Wonder Man. He calls out to Wanda and Julia, but getting no response, he enters the compound and wonders where they all are, not to mention what happened to this place. ‘Oh for goodness’ sake…I’m back, Wonder Man is back!’

He exclaims that he is ready rejoin Avengers West, when Iron Man reveals his presence, and informs Simon that it will not be possible. Wonder Man is surprised by Tony’s presence, and asks him what is going on here. Iron Man tells Wonder Man that there is no easy way to say it…but the West Coast Avenger’s don’t exist anymore. ‘I’m sorry’. ‘So am I…so am I…’

The End…and just the Beginning…

Characters Involved: 

Scarlet Witch, Spider Woman II, USAgent, War Machine, Wonder Man (all Avengers West Coast)
Black Knight IV, Black Widow II, Captain America, Crystal, Giant Man, Hercules, Sersi, Vision (all Avengers)
Iron Man (former Avenger of both branches)

Edwin Jarvis

Members of the Kree race

In Flashback Images:
Black Knight IV, Captain America, Captain Marvel II, Crystal, Giant Man, Hercules, Iron Man, Quasar, Scarlet Witch, Sersi, Vision, Wonder Man (all Avengers)

Supreme Intelligence

On Computer Image / Flashback:
USAgent, War Machine (both Avengers West Coast)


On Computer Screen:
Vision, Wonder Man

Story Notes: 

It is quite ironical that the meeting in which the Avengers West Coast are disbanded is chaired by the Vision, considering the original West Coast Avengers (as they were known then) were set up under his influence.

The Vision’s comment about the Avengers West Coast being an understudy operation overshadowed by the power and competence of the original Avengers is a rather unfair comment, considering they did just as great deeds as the East Coast team, and at any one time sported such power houses as the Scarlet Witch, Iron Man, War Machine, Firebird, Wonder Man and the Vision himself.

Hawkeye’s understandable absence is due to the death of his wife, Barbara “Bobbi” Morse-Barton a.k.a. Mockingbird at the hands of Mephisto in Avengers West Coast (2nd series) #100.

The gods that Wanda thinks the East Coast Avengers always gets include Thor and Hercules, as well as “sort of gods” Sersi, Starfox, Gilgamesh, and perhaps Thunderstrike.

Captain America, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye and Quicksilver comprised the Avengers beginning in Avengers (1st series) #16.

Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Spider Woman, USAgent and Wonder Man all regroup as a new West Coast team called Force Works. While sadly, Wonder Man dies on their first mission [Force Works #1], they are later joined by Century, the enigmatic Moonraker, and an alternate version (from Earth 2012) of Suzi “Cybermancer” Endo. War Machine allies himself with the team in time, and they meet the Avengers in Force Works #13. The series lasted 22 issues and one special, though much of the last few issues was taken up with the crossover taking place in the Avengers line of comics, “The Crossing” Force Works is disbanded during the Crossing as Iron Man is killed (and subsequently replaced by an alternate-teenage version of himself). Scarlet Witch rejoins the Avengers, where she remained until she went insane in “Avengers Disassembled”, while USAgent and Spider Woman realigned themselves with their former teammates, they never rejoined the team, and since then, Spider Woman has retired, while USAgent has fought against them.

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