West Coast Wednesdays: West Coast Avengers Vol. 2, #30
WEST COAST CREDITS!
Writer: Al Milgrom
Layouts: Al Milgrom
Finished art: Mike Machlan
WEST COAST SUMMARY!
After visiting the Vision, Scarlet Witch and their twins in New Jersey, Wonder Man is kidnapped by the Sligs, an alien race ready to conquer Earth. When the team arrives to help, they’re each put to the test against the Examiner.
WEST COAST THOUGHTS!
First off, it should be noted that Englehart is not writing this issue. And it’s none other than Milgrom himself who rises to the challenge to bring us our monthly dose of West Coast Avengers. He does a good job here with a couple of missteps, the biggest of which is revealing the issue’s money shot on the cover.
The issue opens up with Wonder Man sitting on the couch with his nephews (by the way, they are just about the creepiest things I’ve ever seen) and reading them “The Blind Men and the Elephant” as Vision and the Scarlet Witch watch from afar. Luckily for us, we get to read the whole story with Simon, which means that this parable will be important later in the story (this is the comic book equivalent to the professor lecturing students on information that will be completely relevant later).
While this is an awkward way to start the issue, having all of these characters together again in the book is a nice way of acknowledging how the series got started way back when, and a good reason to check in with Wanda and the family.
Simon leaves New Jersey on the quinjet, showing us that while he can fly, he has no problem wasting fuel like the rest of us. On his way back to California, he’s ambushed by robots and eventually captured.
As it turns out, he’s been taken by the Sligs, an alien race looking to conquer Earth. Their angle is an interesting one, as it’s common knowledge throughout the galaxy that Earth is protected by the Avengers and have taken down larger races like the Skrulls and the Kree, the Sligs hope to establish their reputation by doing what others couldn’t and get a “propaganda boost.”
Once the rest of the team arrives to save Simon, they’re all thrown to a different dimension where they come face-to-face with the Examiner, who fights each member individually. His gimmick is also interesting, as the Examiner is destroyed after each fight, gets reassembled, and retains the knowledge of his opponents’ strengths and weaknesses.
After everyone gets a shot at the Examiner, they’re returned to their own dimension to gloat about defeating the Sligs. The Sligs manage to send the Examiner’s data to their home planet before their ship explodes. For a team that is gung-ho about no killing, I’m surprised at how nonchalant they are about the Sligs’ ship blowing up.
The information the Sligs get about the Avengers shows up as the “Composite Avenger” – just as the cover reveals. The Sligs are so shocked by this information, they immediately call off their invasion. Simon surmises that the information the Sligs get will be distorted, just like the blind men with the elephant, even though he has no way of knowing one way or another. And in case you don’t get that all of this is connected to “The Blind Men and the Elephant”, Simon finishes the story with “But I’m just taking a shot in the dark here — feeling my way blindly, as it were!”
WEST BOAST OR ROAST?
Roast and Boast. Whereas the previous issue was a good primer for Moon Knight, this one does the same for the whole team. That said, some of Milgrom’s writing tricks would’ve been shot down by the kid wearing the turtleneck sweater in every creative writing class in America. Enjoy your clove cigarettes while you can, Milgrom, because Englehart comes back next issue.
WEST COAST SCENE (OF THE WEEK)!
If you defeat me, you must fight the Enquirer and the Globe!
Previously on West Coast Wednesdays…