WEST COAST AVENGERS #42-45: VISIONQUEST

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Issues #38-41 flounder without a regular creative team, as Steve Englehart left his 3+ year run with #37.  His run establishing the West Coast Avengers team was good, but never great.  It was wild, unpredictable, sometimes silly, and other times dark.  But never great.

John Byrne signs on with issue #42, and we’re getting some solid 1980s comic books.  Vision disappears, and it’s an inside job, and the traitor is…Mockingbird!

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All traces of Vision are gone, and we don’t know why.  Of course, that’s just the beginning.  By the end of #45, the two factions of WCA are reunited to face a SHIELD-level conspiracy, and there’s tension between Hawkeye (who was never a great leader) and the team’s newest member—and Avengers founder—Wasp.  Check out this classic Byrne interaction…

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Yeah, that “Get Smart” kind of humor was pretty typical Byrne.  Funny, cute, charming…And corny.  Byrne was also known for weaving in ongoing subplots, which he does here with a few scenes of Tigra becoming, gradually, feral, and Vision and Scarlet Witch’s twin boys disappearing—for just a moment—and the reappearing as if nothing had happened.  These threads will become part of the rich tapestry of his run, no doubt.

And it wasn’t just the original Human Torch…If we’re talking tributes to the classics, check out the cover to #45…

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Also classic Byrne, who was the Brian Michael Bendis of his day, was the weaving in of Marvel’s vast history.  If there’s a problem with Vision, it makes sense to involve Phineas Horton, the creator of Vision.  Also classic Byrne: The involvment of Marvel’s pantheon of heroes…

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That’s not Cap, by the way.  It’s USAgent, who was filling in while Cap roamed the country as Nomad.

And finally, we end with a new look for Vision—and a personality stripped of all personality…

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It will indeed.  It is more than sufficient.  For the first time since it was created, WCA appears to becoming…Great.

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