#2 - Baptism of … Water
“Be careful, Newell! That electrical storm is more than your power receptors can dissipate!” Dr. Henry Pym, Giant Man to the general public, shouts from the control booth of the Arena, the new Avengers West Training Center, built on Hydrobase. On the other side of the protective glass, the white and red form of Stingray is trying to dodge a massive electron discharge, thanks to his artificial gliders.
“I know the limits of my power suit” Dr. Walter Newell replies, while still trying to avoid the deadly arcs threatening him “I guess that the 'honor' of being the first trainee in this new facility is not the walk in the park I thought of!”
“Maybe Newell is right” Dr. Hank McCoy, aka the Bouncing Beast, interjects, checking the monitors of the control booth and making Pym turns his way “He's not a professional crimefighter and this tests could be way over his credited skills”.
“He specifically asked for a period of hard training, Hank” Giant Man objects “We both know that our respective love for science and research can hinder our reflexes in battle and Walt is willing to prove that he can hold his own, in case his assistance is required”.
“My husband has stood up against the likes of Namor and the Hulk. Give him time and he will overcome this obstacle as well” Diane Arliss Newell speaks confidently, trying to hide her concern.
“And at least we have already enlisted the help of a physician” Tigra smiles, casually stroking Pym's leg with her furry tail, while carefully gauging Stingray's moves from her feline perspective. “Dr. Kincaid will be glad to have his first patient ... or maybe not ...”
“Well, as I see it, o beautiful specimen of the jungle life, Stingray is not going to stop his opponent at this rate” the Beast says, with his usual mix of humor and faked seriousness.
“I trust his mind more than you do, Hank” Giant Man keeps watching the scene, while in the Arena Stingray has fired his own electric stings at a globe of energy from which the lightnings come. “We lab types must stand for each other”
“You place your trust well, Hank dear” Tigra purrs as a smile forms on her face “Look! I'm a hunter ... and rays are hunters in the underwater kingdom, too. Stingray has played with his foe, but now he's closing in for the final strike. Notice his moves, his pose, the tension almost palpable around him ...”
“I wouldn't have noticed ...” the Beast is surprised by Tigra's analysis.
“We can't see those kind of things, Beast” Giant Man is amused, he knew Tigra could be much more useful in the training program than anyone thought “Only feral characters like Greer ... or your friend Logan can perceive the signals that prelude to a sudden fighting move”
“Watch! Walt is closing in ...!” Diane shouts with a little echo of pride in her voice.
In the Arena, Stingray suddenly detaches his power storage cells from his suits and throw one inside the lightning ball and the other on the metal floor, manipulating the controls, before jumping as far as he can get with the aid of his gliders. The result of his clever strategic move is exactly what he had envisioned: the lightning ball's energy core gets grounded through the circuit he has rigged ...and in a flash his opponent loses a good portion of his strength, resuming his human form and slumping to the ground, barely able to stand.
“Well, congrats, Tigra! You did see that coming!” Hank claps his feet, while standing upside down on one of his hands on the console.
“I hope Miguel will learn from this!” Giant Man says, checking the readings on the monitors.
“He will” Tigra adds, while pirouetting outside the control booth, landing gracefully on the Arena's floor and then leaping near the prone man.
“Are you ok, Living Lightning?” Stingray asks the young latino while Tigra helps him up.
“Yeah ... whew! I didn't expect that!” Miguel Santos answers “I've spent too many months on books and such ... and now even a lab rat can best me!” he adds, laughing.
“Don't be hard on yourself, Miguel” Giant Man speaks from the control booth “Both you and Stingray need all the training you can get, and this is just the first session ... you'll get your chance to even the scores!”
“Right!” the Beast comments “With the new training program our fearless leader has devised we get to square off with the other Avengers who have 'similar' powers to hone our own. I have to admit it's a genial concept”
“So electricity is one of my powers and the Living Lightning the obvious choice to train me on that ... but what about the other abilities?” Stingray asks, landing at his wife's side and accepting her hug.
“There are lots of possibilities, Walt” Hank Pym explains “We can ask Namor for an underwater fighting session, the Falcon to gauge your gliding skills, Darkhawk to test how your armor responds to a similar threat ...”
“And I bet we could bring in Photon to give Miguel another test of his energy form” the Beast adds.
“You're starting to think my way, Hank. Does this mean you're going to accept my proposal to join the Whackos on a stable basis?” Giant Man asks.
“Slow down, big guy! I'm here to help with the training program and the setup ... but I don't know if I want to go active again” the Beast replies, while leaping into the Arena, where Tigra is waiting “But I'm sure we can resume our talk after I and the luscious feline woman below do our part of the show ... As they say, furry is a threat!”
“I'm looking forward to this, Dr. Mc Coy” Tigra teases him.
“Well, ok ...” Giant Man smiles “Stingray and LL, check with Dr. Kincaid for a quick test, while I keep an eye on those two. Agility, strength, feral skills, claws ... Tigra and the Beast will put up a real fight, I'm sure!”
Meanwhile, somewhere, deep under the Pacific Ocean, a giant shadow moves slowly toward the US West Coast ...
A little cottage near Palos Verde.
“I'm glad to see your recovery * is speeding up, Vance” Iron Man says, seeing the young man and his fiancee sunbathing in the garden.
(* from the injuries he suffered in AVENGERS # 3, Alex)
“What they say about California is all true, Shellhead!” Justice replies, reaching for his walking stick to help himself up.
“Dr. Kincaid says that he needs to rest a little more” Angelica Jones adds “but he should be ready to rejoin the team soon”
“He? Shouldn't that be 'we' Angel?” Vance is suddenly worried.
“Ease up, Justice” Iron Man says “She's not going to dump you on us without notice. But she spoke only about you, because ... well, maybe it's better you explain this to him, Angelica”
“We had no time to talk about it, Vance ...” Firestar starts explaining, while Vance's face is getting really worried “But I'm not gonna wait till you recover completely ...”
“What? You can't do this to me, Angel! I get sick and you just decide to leave the Avengers ...” Justice protests.
“No, no, Vance! Let her finish!” Iron Man is glad his helmet is hiding his smile.
“I'm not leaving the Avengers, Vance! By the way, the team is in full capacity: the Wasp has recruited a complete seven members roster. I said I won't wait till your recovery ... because I'm rejoining now!” Firestar smiles candidly.
“Uh?” Vance is definitely surprised.
“That's why I'm here, Vance, to escort her to Hydrobase for her formal introduction to the West Coast team. Welcome to the Whackos, Angel!” Iron Man explains “You've both served well on the East Coast, I'm sure you'll do us proud here as well ... when Justice is back to full strength”
“Hey! I'm glad to hear that! Wow! But who's going to look after me here?” Vance leans on Angelica, jokingly.
“Your mom!” Angel replies, enjoying Vance's upset expression “And I, when I get back soon after the meeting. I'll be ready to answer any call from here. I can fly to Hydrobase and back in twenty minutes”
“I'm glad you accepted, Firestar ... but, be warned, Giant Man has training sessions scheduled for you in the coming days. His training program is very detailed” Iron Man comments.
“I know. I have to fight with people with powers similar to mine to hone my skills. I wonder who will be my first sparring partner ... there are many who would qualify in our large roster” Firestar says, while moving toward the cottage, with Vance at her side, to get into her outfit and on to Hydrobase.
At the same time the gigantic form gets closer to the coast, its large fins surprisingly silent while they move underwater ...
Palos Verde. The ruins of the Avengers West Compound.
“I see that the workers are starting already. That's good!” Namor, wearing one of his black business suits speaks with his usual confidence to the beautiful blond woman at his side “I've spoken to my cousin, Namorita, and she said her friends, the New Warriors could have some use for the Compound ... especially since the Avengers West are better relocated at Hydrobase. And I'm glad you came to supervise the rebuilding, my dear Jacqueline”
“I'm always glad to help, Namor” Lady Jacqueline Falsworth Chrichton, once the World War II heroine Spitfire and now a rejuvenated woman ... eighty years old, replies “But I'm sure this is not the only reason why you called upon me”
“Am I that easy to read, Jackie?” Namor frowns.
“We've known each other for so long ...” Jacqueline smiles. “Is this about Jim?” *
(* Jim stands for Jim Hammond, the civilian identity created for the Original Human Torch, Alex)
“Always the direct approach, Lady Chrichton” Namor laughs, but then he gets somber again “Yes, it's about Jim. I need to ask you a favor”
“Am I right in assuming this is something that comes straight from the way ... you sold Oracle to Stark-Fujikawa?” * she asks.
(* as seen in HEROES FOR HIRE # 19, Alex)
“Right, again. He's very angry at me for that move ... and I can't blame him. But I'd like for us to solve this ... situation. And I thought of you ...” Namor explains.
“I'm sure this is costing a lot to you” Jacqueline says, knowing Namor's proud soul “And of course I will help. I'll talk to the Torch later”
“Thanks, milady” Namor courteously bows “I knew I could trust you ...”
“Well, my Prince, we're both born and bred in aristocracy. So if we can't help each other, who can?” she offers her hand to be kissed in a parody of an official ceremony at the court.
Under the ocean, tiny forms swim all around the big dark creature as it continues its progress toward the coast ...
“So can I get my husband back, Keith?” Diane Arliss Newell asks to Dr. Kincaid, out of the Infirmary.
“Of course, Diane. He and the Lightning are fine” Keith replies “Let's hope Tigra and the Beast will keep their claws in check, though ... or they could need some help on my part”
“True” Diane nods “Have you heard the West Crew is being gathered? I think the Crew Chief will arrive in a few days”
“I've heard that ... but I've no clue on whom Giant Man is calling” Keith answers. *
(* curious about the Avengers West Crew? just wait and read AVENGERS CREW # 6, coming out this month, Alex)
“It'll be good to have other ... civilians around here. So far we're the only two crew members and we could really use some help” Diane says “Oh, a new visitor ... I'll go meet him or her. Maybe it's Iron Man with Firestar”.
Diane moves to the entrance and opens the door, finding a young girl, with unmistakable latin features, dark hair and a yellow and red suit.
“Good morning. I'm Bonita Juarez, Firebird. I have an appointment with Giant Man”
“Bonita! I'm so glad you came!” Hank Pym greets warmly the young woman.
“It is good to see you, too, Henry” Firebird replies “And to see such enthusiasm in your voice. This re-launch of the Avengers West is really something you believe into. That's a good thing”
“I've missed you ... your calm. The wisdom of your words, Bonita. And you're right: I have such big hopes for the Whackos” Giant Man can't avoid to think of the time when the two of them were very close.
“I guess this is why you called me here, then. You want me to join” Bonita states “Is this the only reason?”
“What do you mean?” Hank is puzzled ... and a bit expectant, wondering if old feelings are resurfacing in both of them.
“I've heard of your current ... estrangement with the Wasp. When we met after the fight with Morgan Le Fey I had the impression you two were going to re-marry. I wouldn't want for me to be ... just a replacement ... or a stand-in ... or even a tool to make her jealous. Sorry if this offends you, Hank, but I need to know.”
“I ... I can't ... do you really think I would do this ...?” Giant Man is not so much hurt by Bonita's question as by his own doubts on the subject.
“Not intentionally” Bonita smiles “But isn't it a bit too ... opportune that both Tigra and I are among your first recruits?”
“I see. Does this mean you're not going to stay?” Hank asks, feeling suddenly that old tinge of pain in his heart that pops up every time he thinks of Jan ...
“No, Henry. It means I'm flattered ... and I want to help you, with both the team and your life, but just as a friend, at least for now” she smiles.
“I couldn't ask for more. Thank you!” Hank says.
... and the swimming army gets closer ...
A while later. The Boardroom.
“Well, I think the team is shaping up good” Giant Man speaks to the assembled Avengers: Tigra, Iron Man, Beast, Stingray, Living Lightning, Firestar and Firebird, “Even though Iron Man will leave after the line-up is fixed and the Beast is still unsure ... Justice should be able to join us soon, as well.”
“What about Namor? I thought he was considering active membership, too” Tigra asks.
“I don't think so” Iron Man speaks “I've talked to him and I doubt he wants to actually join. He's content with his position as team's sponsor”
“I have a few more people who should give me an answer about joining” Giant Man adds “And we have to schedule some training sessions for the East Coast team too. Especially for Sandman. Of course the next training will see Firestar versus Firebird”
“It won't be as funny as ours” the Living Lightning says, patting Stingray on the back.
“... or the delectable fight Tigra and I had after that” the Beast jokes.
“If there is no further need for my presence today, I'd like to go back to Vance, Giant Man” Firestar asks, but the Avengers leader can't answer, for suddenly the whole artificial island is shaken as if something massive has just hit it ...
“Walt! Avengers! Hydrobase is under attack! A huge monster is ramming our Northern shore!!” Diane's voice is heard through the intercom.
“This can't be!!! Every time the Avengers get settled on Hydrobase, someone tries to sink it!” Stingray pulls on his helmet as the Stingray suit hums to life.
“Living Lightning and Iron Man, you're faster than the rest. Go and reconnoiter! Firestar and Firebird, get ready to back them up! Tigra and the Beast with me! Don't worry, Walt, we won't let them destroy your baby a second time!” Giant Man shouts his orders.
“I hope you're correct, Hank! The hits are getting more frequent!” Tigra leaps out of the room as the Avengers move.
“Lots of blue skinned and green skinned soldiers! They're using some strange breathing equipment and wield sophisticated weaponry!” Miguel reports, arcing back.
“Atlanteans and Lemurians! What's this? And that form ... Giganto!!” Stingray recognizes their foes as the monster rams once again the shore, causing the equivalent of a small quake.
“Firestar! Use your microwave powers to dehydrate the air around the soldiers. That should incapacitate them! Stingray, LL, Firebird, see what you can do for the big whale! Tigra, Hank, Shellhead, we scatter the soldiers! Any guess on who might be mounting this attack?” Hank Pym falls in his leadership role so easily that he's amazing himself with it.
“You don't need to ask for that, surface-dweller! This abomination must end now ... as the first sign for the world to fear the power of my new army. So speak Attuma!” the underwater ruler, charges onto Giant Man with his incredible muscles, clashing with the size-altering Avenger!
In the Comm Center, Diane Arliss Newell turns on the alarms, sending an all-out call for help, wishing Namor can get here in time, then she runs off, grabbing a stun rifle, ready to defend her home.
“Hydrobase is under attack!! I must go back there!” Namor suddenly rips off his suit, ready to take off.
“Wait! Where are you going without me?” Jackie stops him, then sprinting away and getting back in a few seconds, wearing her familiar yellow and red costume “I've been hitching to do this for months now. I guess it's almost Invaders time!”
“Are you sure?” Namor asks.
“You bet it! Spitfire is not going to back off from a fight! Now get us there, Your Majesty!” she jumps in his arms.
“We must get Cap and the Torch one of these days, for an Invaders revival! That if you will convince Jim to speak to me!” Namor comments, while taking off.
Attuma's strength and battle skills are proving to be a real trouble for Giant Man, regardless of his bigger size. While trading punches with the Atlantean warlord, Hank Pym watches around him, gauging how his new team is faring. The superior firepower of Iron Man is single-handedly dealing with all the forces on the Southern portion of the battle field. Not even the advanced weaponry of the invading army can best the finest piece of hi-tech armor in the world. The Beast and Tigra are holding their own, though outnumbered, but the soldiers are also being bombarded by Firestar's dehydrating attack, considerably weakening their strength and endurance. Dr. Kincaid and Newell's wife have sealed the main facility and are firing on the soldiers from their safe spot. The only real problem is the continual ramming of Giganto on the Northern section ... but that's Stingray's problem now ...
Attuma notices the scientist's unfocused mind, and using his monstrous strength manages to topple him. Hank Pym finds himself on his back with the warlord ready to pierce his throat with his jeweled trident, while shouting his war cry. Giant Man suddenly changes his tactic altogether. He shrinks himself to ant size in a second, surprising his foe and making him lose his balance. Then he regains his normal size, using his size-altering powers on the trident, before Attuma can react. Then again, once his opponent is weaponless, he resumes his ten feet height, clubbing him on the head with his giant fist!
Having gained a moment to think, Pym runs toward the Northern shore ...
“This monster seems impervious to my lightnings” Miguel Santos reports, while he and Stingray swoop down from another useless attack on the creature set to sink Hydrobase.
“His hide is too thick, able to withstand the pressure of the ocean depths” Newell answers “And the fat is acting as a perfect insulation. What about your fire powers, Firebird?”
“They're as useless as your electricity. The monster is too wet ... and I can't force myself to increase the intensity of my fire. This creature is merely doing what its master commands. It's not intrinsically evil!” Bonita reports “But there is another aspect of my abilities that might be of greater use here: this one!”
With that she flares with her power, unleashing a powerful blast of concussive force, hitting Giganto square in its deformed face and stopping its next ramming attack.
“That's perfect, Bonita! We now have room for another strategy. Follow my lead, LL!” Stingray orders, gliding toward a section of the monster's side, hosting his enormous gills. “Focus your lightnings on the same spot I'm hitting with my stings!”
Miguel does as he's told and the immense behemoth suddenly writhes in pain. “It's working!” the latino shouts.
“Pour it on! We must keep it off-balance. The island couldn't take more hits!” Stingray keeps his own barrage of electric stings up and running.
“Bonita! I need you assistance!” Giant Man calls to his teammate from the shore, having understood Newell's tactic.
“What do you need, Hank?” Bonita gets closer, after having hit the monster with another force blast.
“I'm shifting to ant size, I need you to drop me on the monster ... trust me, it'll work!” Giant Man shrinks again, stepping on Firebird's hand.
Still unsure about her leader's strategy she carries on her task, throwing the diminutive hero on the monster's face. While flying in mid-air, Hank Pym regains his gigantic aspect, smashing the fish and immediately exerting on him his size-altering powers.
“It's shrinking down ... though not so much!” Firebird warns, as Giant Man struggles not to fall in the water, while exerting his powers to the max.
“The sheer size of the monster is so great that I doubt a full shrinking can be operated” Stingray comments “But if we manage to confuse it that might cause it to flee! Strike again, LL ... and you, Firebird, as well!”
Giganto squirms, disoriented by the sensation accompanying the use of the Pym particles on him. The subsequent electrical attack and Firebird's force blast are enough to make him submerge, searching the protection of the ocean depths.
“I got you, boss!” Stingray grabs Pym's arm, while the scientist shrinks down again, allowing a faster transport back to the shore.
“They're en route!” Firestar reports, still bombarding the fleeing underwater army with her microwaves.
“Same on the Southern part!” Iron Man warns.
“And we're taking care of big, blue and horny here!” the Beast is kicking Attuma in the face while Tigra follows him, slashing the warlord's arm.
“I think you should surrender, Attuma!” Hank Pym speaks, arriving on the spot with Firebird, Stingray and the Living Lightning “You're definitely outmatched!”
“Never! I'm not beaten yet! To me, my beauties!” Attuma shouts, at the exact time a powerful mental assault hits everyone on the island.
The Avengers are taken by surprise, clutching their heads and falling to the ground under the relentless assault. What an army couldn't accomplish a single telepath is doing very easily. But one of them is not so open to mental trickery.
“Stop this now!!” Iron Man's repulsors hit the ground under Attuma “I won't fall for mental manipulation again! My suit is proof against mind attacks!”
“But there are other special surprises my beauties have in store for you, one of the lackeys of those who wold pollute our sea for their profits!” Attuma stands again, waving his hand.
Tendrils of dark mystic energy erupts from the ground immobilizing the armored Avenger. “You see” Attuma says “Magic is much more effective than psionic!”
Iron Man is paralyzed by the magic attack, cursing in his mind for magic seems to come again and again to haunt him. On the ground of Hydrobase the other Avengers are falling unconscious, defeated by the mental assault ... all but one, whose cybernetic helmet somewhat shielded his mind ... but Giant Man can see he could be forced to play possum until the proper occasion presents itself to counterstrike ... and until Attuma's mysterious beauties reveal themselves ...
... which they do, in all their beauty and captivating glory. From the sea four splendid sirens rise, one black-skinned, her hair pearly white, still commanding the spell imprisoning Iron Man; another is blue-skinned and sending waves of psionic force to keep the Avengers sedated; the third is golden-skinned and her powers still a mystery, same for the fourth, red-skinned one.
“Sometimes a warlord must concede to the ways of treachery, Avengers! Even if it pains me to admit that beauty and cunning won where an army was pitifully defeated. But I thank you, my beauties, my Sirens!!” Attuma laughs ...
“What's happened here? The island is damaged ... even sinking! There are signs of a fight but no-one is showing up!” Namor lands, carrying Spitfire and frantically looking around.
“I'm making a fast sweep of the place!” the British heroine uses her speed to look around ... then calling for Namor to join her in the main building.
“What have you found, Spitfire?” Namor asks.
“A man ... the Avengers' physician, I guess from his white coat” Jackie answers “But he's unconscious ... No-one else is here!”
“No-one but me!” a voice surprises them.
Namor immediately turns, ready to strike, but he stops, seeing a modified version of the Stingray costume staring at him, but black where Stingray's suit is white and white where the other one is red ... and clearly housing a woman. The Atlantean Prince recognizes who's standing in front of him ... “Diane?”
“Not just Diane, Namor! I'm MANTA! I've asked Walt for a suit myself ... it's still a test-model, but I won't stay behind while Attuma tortures my husband after destroying my home!” Diane Arliss Newell answers with determination.
“ATTUMA??!” rage appears on the Avenging Son's face.
“We must do something, Namor! Or Hydrobase is going to sink!” Spitfire warns.
“But we must save the Avengers, too!” Sub-mariner states, shifting his head from Spitfire to Manta ...
... somewhere, below the Pacific Ocean, Giant Man starts broadcasting a distress call through his cybernetic helmet, while feigning unconsciousness ...
Next: Who are the Sirens and what secrets they hold? How they got involved with Attuma and what does he plan to do with the Avengers he just captured? But more important, what can Namor do to save both Hydro-base and his friends? And is Giant Man planning some countermeasure, too? Be here in AVENGERS WEST COAST # 2 to find some of the answers as the Whackos conclude their first adventure and set the team core line-up. Introducing: the deadly MANTA!!!
West WordsHi Alex
Well, you were right about this not being your usual # 1. I assumed that you would have tried to work out all the aspects of the reformation in either the Avengers book or the Crew book, but instead you decided to make that your first issue. That way worked well, too.
A few aspects I'd like to address:
1. Hank Pym being team leader. I think it'll be interesting to see how Hank will lead this team. Will he lead in a fashion similar to fellow scientist Reed Richards or will he take a more militaristic approach?
2. Hydrobase. This seemed like the most logical thing to do. It seems very realistic that the team would want a base that was away from the mainland.
3. Hawkeye's appearance. Something that really needed to be seen. I think when a lot of people think Whackhos they think Hawkeye. Even though he can't lead the team it's good to see that he's still in the loop. I also liked the part where Tasha "warned" Moonstone.
There's a whole lot more things that happened in that issue. It was very complete and I look forward to seeing the next issue.
Adam Di Stefano
Thanks a lot, Adam, for the response. I do hope that Hank Pym will have his moment of glory in my AWC run, and I hope you're liking how the team's shaping up. Write again!
hi. I've been following the Avengers 2000 books since the creation of the group, but this is the one I have most been looking forward to. The West Coast Avengers and the Fantastic Four were the first American Marvel comics I collected, and in my mind, the Whackos are still the real Avengers, so I thought I'd drop you a line about your new fan-fiction series.
Although it's hard to get a feel for who your team will be due to the necessities of this first issue, I liked what I saw so far. Hank deserves the spotlight, and is one of my favourite members. I would like to see the team as equals though, and hope that the east coast team does not regain the feeling of being the "primary" team. This is why I'm not sure if I like the training aspect of the new team though. Does this mean that any brand-new Avengers must first serve with the Whackos before graduating to the East Coast team? What if the new Avengers are based in New York - must they still train in California?
Hydrobase sounds like an unusual location for the team, but I'm sure you'll make it work. I miss the Compound though.
I liked the current tension introduced between Jan and Hank. I loved their relationship in the original WEST COAST AVENGERS series, and especially in the Perez written GIANT MAN mini-series. Busiek's Hank and Jan has done nothing for me though. With everything that has happened between them, they should never turn into Reed and Sue Richards, although their love for each other should never be in doubt. Their relationship, in my opinion, should be along the lines of "Can't live with each other, can't live without". Having them as leaders on separate teams should make things interesting. I am particularly glad to see Tigra back on the team, not just because I like the character, but because of her past with Hank. Hank and Greer had a very passionate fling a couple of years ago, and I would like to see the two being drawn back together due to spending so much time together, and Jan's reaction to this.
As for the rest of the line-up. I don't believe Tasha or Iron Man should stick around, and neither Namor or Stingray particularly interest me as active members. Seeing U.S.Agent on a regular basis again would be fun, but I have no other preferences of past Avengers, although I would love to see Sharon Ventura join as Ms.Marvel. She is from California after all...
Overall though, I liked the issue and am looking forward to the next. Keep up the good work.
Thanks a lot Gary for your words. About some of your questions and concerns: I consider both teams the Avengers, without having one overlooking the other. This is the way it should be, in fact I keep calling them the Avengers in the story :) So, don't worry about eh Whackos becoming second-string Avengers ... at least until I'm on the book. The Training aspect will make for a lot of interplay with the other team and the reservists ... you'll see. Hank and Tigra are two characters I truly hope I will be able to develop. As for the rest of the line-up, you've seen some of them in this issue. Not everyone will stick around, though ... Hope you're still liking the book and that you will keep reading it.
I've been looking forward to the new Avengers West Coast series ever since the logo was put up. I've been a fan of the orginial series and was interested in how you were going to re-start AWC after it was disbanded so ungraciously 5 years ago. I breathed a sigh of relief after I read AWC # 1. Finally, someone got it right! After the events in the other Avenger titles, Jan would feel the need to reform AWC, even if there is only one of the founding members around. I liked the conversation between Jan and Hank. He's right, he HAS been overlooked in the past so why not give him leadership status now? I think he's proved himself as a hero enough to warrant the special title. I like the use of the Avengers old Hydrobase idea. It's a welcome change from a regular team HQ compound like AWC had in its final days. It was a surprise that Namor, and not Iron Man, is funding the team! I didn't see THAT one coming but it's a welcome change from the old "Let Iron man fund it" mentality the Avengers have been under for years. I don't think he'll join though since Namor's pretty much been active for awhile. Of course, that could be the very reason he joins! As for the new AWC roster, I'd like to see Hank, Jan, Tigra, Living Lightning and Stingray on the team. These charcaters aren't used enough and could make a powerful team. Throw in the surprise member and an all new one and you've got yourself a full fledged, ready to fight Avengers West Coast team! Let's hope the Avengers show them the respect they deserved the last time they were together(and I think they will, since your writing both books!). I look forward to the official roster call as well as the new AWC's first adventure.
Thanks, J.D. I hope # 2 lived up to your expectations and you can see that the line-up might just be shaping up the way you asked for it (save for Jan who's too busy leading the East team to join the West one, too). I hope things will keep rocking for a while, since I've got some very interesting plots for the Whackos.