Avengers West Coast #57

Issue Date: 
April 1990
Story Title: 
Family Reunion

John Byrne (Writer & Penciler), Paul Ryan (Inker), Bill Oakley (Letterer), Bob Sharen (Inker), Howard Mackie (Editor), Tom DeFalco (Editor in Chief)

Brief Description: 

The Human Torch’s emergency signal goes off, forcing him to leave the man with the eviction notice and fly to Wanda’s cottage, where Wanda has been convinced not to kill Hank Pym - although she tries to kill the Human Torch, only for Quicksilver to stop her. Magneto lifts himself, Wanda and Quicksilver out of the West Coast Compound on a slab of rubble, destroying Wanda’s cottage in the process, but with Wanda gone, all those imprisoned by her powers - USAgent, Wonder Man, Wasp and Agatha Harkness - are now free. En route to the Compound, Iron Man comes into contact with the fleeing mutants, and tries to fight them, but Wanda ultimately wins. The Avengers West debate the best plan of attack at trying to rescue Wanda, while Wanda and Quicksilver are shown around Magneto’s Asteroid M. Hank Pym, USAgent, Wasp, Wonder Man and the Human Torch venture into space, and eventually confront their mutant foes on Asteroid M, but after Wanda deactivates the Human Torch, Magneto renders the others incapacitated, and using his powers, sends them back to Earth in a remodified Quinjet, warning Wanda that her teammates were brave enough to fight him twice, which he respects, but that they will not be so foolish as to try and fight him again, for Wanda wanted to kill them….

Full Summary: 

‘Shall I kill him now? It would be easy enough…’ exclaims Pietro Maximoff a.k.a. the former Avenger known as Quicksilver as he holds Dr. Hank Pym, senior member of the Avengers West Coast by the hair. Eight super powered beings, some of immense power, are gathered by various means in the cottage belonging to the Scarlet Witch a.k.a. Wanda Maximoff on the Avengers West Coast Compound. Quicksilver’s father, the Gray King of the Hellfire Club, Magneto, tells Pietro to stay his hand, as Dr. Pym presents no threat in his current condition. Magneto adds that there has been enough bloodshed, so there is no need to take a life when it is not absolutely necessary.

Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch, turns to her father and tells him that he disappoints her, ‘Is this the same Magneto who once led us in such glorious battles against the humans?’ Pietro tells Wanda that their father is right, there is no glory after all, in slaying one who cannot fight back. Speaking of not being able to fight back, currently, neither can the other four super beings present in Wanda’s home.

The aged sorceress, Agatha Harkness, former mentor to the Scarlet Witch, whom she thinks of as a daughter, wishes to herself that she had detected Wanda’s distress sooner, as she might have been able to deflect this turn of events. The handsome John Walker a.k.a. USAgent struggles in the force field created by Wanda’s unearthly powers. John thinks to himself that Wanda is using the magic Harkness taught her, for there is no way that her mutant hex power could have created this force field.

Janet van Dyne, a.k.a. the winsome Wasp, paramour of Hank Pym and good friend to Wanda is concerned for Hank, and thinks that when he burst in they might have a chance to escape this trap, but she never expected Quicksilver to come back - or to turn against them.
Simon Williams, famous actor and super hero known as Wonder Man is an indestructible man, with one tragic weakness - an all too human heart. Simon thinks to himself that Wanda, a woman he cares very deeply for, cannot mean the things that she is saying, and cannot be responsible for the things she is doing. He wishes there was some way to break the force field so that he could take her in his arms.

Elsewhere on the Avengers West Compound, ‘What do you mean you’re here to evict the Avengers?’ asks the Human Torch, ‘They own this property!’ The man who brought the bad news informs the Human Torch that they do not quite own it, as the Compound was sold under some very specific - the man is interrupted, as the emergency signal goes off, and taking to the air, the Torch tells the man that there will be more to say about this later, then flies past his friend Ann Raymond and exclaims that right now he has to find out who sent the signal and why.

Heading towards Wanda’s cottage, the Torch thinks that everything looks peaceful enough, before seeing the big hole in the South wall of the cottage, and decides it is his cue to make a big hole in the North wall, and bursting in, he shouts ‘Okay, hold it everybody!’ Assessing the situation, the Human Torch motions to Magneto and Quicksilver and remarks that he doesn’t know who they are, ‘But you, lady - you look like the Scarlet Witch! But how could that be?’ The Scarlet Witch grins and tells the Human Torch not to doubt his perceptions, ‘I am the Witch…and if you need further proof…remember it was my power that resurrected you, and it is my power than can as easily -’

‘Wanda! Look out!’ Pietro exclaims, interrupting his sisters spell as he shoves her aside. Wanda asks her brother why he stopped her using her hex against the Human Torch. Pietro motions to Wonder Man and tells Wanda it appeared for a moment as if he were about to break free and attack her. ‘Huh?’ Simon thinks to himself, while the Human Torch declares that Doctor Pym warned him he would find things a lot different from how they were when he was deactivated back in the Fifties, ’One thing for sure, you bad guys yak it up a lot more than in my day! Especially when you should be on your guard!’

With that, the Human Torch surrounds Magneto and his children in a cage of fire, ‘So I’ll just wrap up the three of you!’ the Torch exclaims, before turning to the captive heroes and remarking that he will see what he can do about releasing them. ‘Enough!’ declares Magneto, ‘This game no longer affords even the slightest amusement!’ Destroying the Torch’s cage and making the ground beneath himself and his children rise, Magneto declares that the time has come for them to take their leave, and destroying the entire cottage as they leave, the three powerful mutants take off into space.

‘Wow!’ is all the Wasp can say as she and the others lie in the rubble. Free from the force field, Wonder Man exclaims that they have got to go after Wanda, Hank tells Simon to hold it, as Wanda will be okay, and they cannot go after Magneto without a plan. Janet smiles at Hank, ‘You’re okay!’ she exclaims. Hank replies that he is, and that Pietro didn’t hit him very hard. The Human Torch motions to the air, where Iron Man is zooming after the slab of building that holds Wanda, Quicksilver and Magneto.

Iron Man sees Magneto, Quicksilver, ‘And a woman who looks unnervingly like Wanda…’ and he wonders if she is being kidnapped, before recalling that the three mutants were all founding members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants along with Toad and Mastermind, but that Wanda has been on the side of the angles for years, however she does not seem to be resisting Magneto. Iron Man dreads the thought of both Wanda and Quicksilver going over to Magneto’s side again.

Wanda alerts her father to Iron Man’s presence behind them, so Magneto calls out to the armored Avenger, telling him to stay back, Magneto remarks that although he once battled Iron Man’s predecessor, he has no quarrel now. ‘Guess again!’ Iron Man exclaims, before remarking that he doesn’t know what they are up to, but that he is obviously the cause of the emergency signal he received. Iron Man adds that just because he doesn’t happen to be the same man who first wore this armor, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t inherited all of his responsibilities.

Iron Man thinks to himself that this may be the one time when the myth he has created that he is not the original Iron Man could work to his advantage, as Magneto won’t expect him to be familiar with his moves. ‘You make me sad, Iron Man!’ Magneto exclaims, before remarking that his purpose in life is the preservation of mutant kind, not the destruction of humanity, ‘But if you insist upon placing yourself in the status of an enemy…as an enemy you shall be treated!’ with that, Magneto blasts Iron Man, who is knocked backwards in the air.

After steadying himself, Iron Man tells Magneto that he disappoints him, for surely he doesn’t expect one of his magnetic-zaps to affect his armor, ‘After the last time you battled Iron Man, Tony Stark modified the ferrous polymers of this suit - they now include a special demagnetizing agent! Your power can no longer directly affect me!’ he shouts, flying high above the trio of mutants. ‘Perhaps not, Iron Man!’ Wanda declares, before asking him how well he an function if her hex power causes a massive failure in all of his automated systems.

Quicksilver tells Wanda not to, as they should capture Iron Man, but it’s too late, as Wanda casts her spell and Iron Man plummets swiftly to the ground. ‘Iron Man is done for!’ Wanda declares. Magneto peers over the edge of the slab and watches Iron Man fall, remarking that Iron Man’s employer’s ingenuity dooms him, for if it wasn’t for the anti-magnetic agents in his armor, he would be able to reach out and save him. ‘Not the so-called “Golden Avenger” meets the fate of all foolhardy adventurers.

Magneto turns to his daughter and tells her that her newfound ruthlessness troubles him, asking since when is it that the fiery Quicksilver councils caution in the Scarlet Witch? ‘There is much to ponder!’ Wanda assertively tells Magneto that he is well advised to not question her actions, ‘I am no more the timid child you once recruited to your band of felons! As you have changed, so too has the Scarlet Witch!’

Meanwhile, back at the Avengers Palos Verde Compound, Hank, the Wasp, Wonder Man, USAgent and Human Torch have gathered, and Hank asks them all if they understand that they cannot afford a direct confrontation with Wanda and company as long as Wanda thinks she is one of the bad guys again. He adds that their whole approach has to be based on subtlety and subterfuge. Wonder Man asks Hank if he isn’t prepared to trust Magneto’s supposed change of heart, for these days, he is proclaiming himself something of a hero. ‘Hitler probably never doubted the correctness of his actions either, Williams!’ USAgent exclaims, before adding that even though Magneto claims to have been a victim of that particular nightmare, it has never stopped him from carrying out a campaign of murder and terror against innocent civilians. ‘There’s the blood of hundreds, maybe even thousands on his hands - and nothing will ever wash that away!’

Hank asks Wonder Man to go and prepare a Quinjet, ‘We’re going hunting!’ Simon exclaims that it is about time, for every second that Wanda is in their clutches is another chance for her to do something irredeemably evil. Once Simon has left the room, the Wasp expresses her concern for him, ‘He’s dying inside!’ she exclaims, pointing out that all his hidden feelings for Wanda have been boiling to the surface since the Vision was dismantled, so it must be making him absolutely insane to see Wanda hooked up with Magneto and Quicksilver again.

‘Hmm…about Pietro, Jan…’ Hank begins. Jan recalls that Hank was going to say something about Quicksilver before, until the Torch interrupted him. Stumbling to find the right words, Hank tells the Wasp that he wants to make sure she understands that Quicksilver must be captured alive, and suggests that they go tell their teammates the same thing. ‘Well, sure. That goes without saying, doesn’t it?’ Jan remarks, before asking Hank if he is sure that is all. Running off, Hank replies that it is, before thinking to himself ‘That was close!’ and that it just occurred to him that Magneto may be monitoring them - how else would he know everything that has happened to Wanda. ‘So the last thing I should do is blab about Quicksilver!’

Shortly, the Avengers West Coast are aboard a Quinjet and headed for space, where the see that Magneto is flying straight up, not out of the atmosphere. One of the heroes points out that Magneto’s old asteroid base was destroyed, but that there is nothing to have prevented him building another one!

Indeed, as Magneto, Wanda and Pietro arrive at Asteroid M. Boarding the high-tech base, Quicksilver tells his father that this is impressive, before commenting that he understood Magneto now headquartered with the Hellfire Club. Striding through the dock, Magneto replies that he does, before asking his son if he has known him all these years to ever be without contingency plans. Magneto adds that the Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club are of use to him, but his association with them has not been without its turbulence.

The trio enter a dinning hall and Magneto remarks that he recreated Asteroid M as the ultimate high ground from which he can survey the teeming world below and monitor all that transpires. He adds that it was in this fashion he was able to learn of his daughter’s travails - the loss of her husband, and children, his grandchildren. ‘Do not speak of such things, Magneto!’ Wanda exclaims, adding that it was a time of tempering, a fire in which her steel was reforged and made stronger. Magneto agrees to that statement, and beckons his children to come with him, as they have much to plan. Quicksilver agrees, while thinking to himself ‘Including the moment of my final vengeance!’

Meanwhile, in a condominium development in North Hollywood. A man named Clifford looks at the woman sitting on his couch and thinks to himself that he has really hit the jackpot big time now. The flame-haired woman flips through a book and tells Clifford - calling him “Cliffie” - that his etchings are really beautiful, adding that she is so pleased he invited her to see them. Carrying a tray of martinis, Clifford thanks the woman, called Bambi, and tells her that an artist is only as good as their subject. He begins to suggest to her that later they could do something, when Iron Man crashes in through the glass roof.

Clifford is shocked and Bambi screams. ‘Iron Man! How? What? Why?’ Clifford gasps. Iron Man apologizes for dropping in on them like this, and tells Clifford to contact his employer, Tony Stark, who will be happy to pay for the damages. ‘But…but…but…!’ mutters Clifford, but Iron Man quickly declares that he has to go now, and thinks to himself that it was too close, and he is relived that Wanda was specific with her hex, for although she knocked out all of his automated systems, he was still able to deploy his emergency parachute manually. Stunned, Bambi tells Clifford that she thinks he should take her home now.

At that precise moment, seven hundred miles straight up in the air: Hank Pym announces that he is turning the engines to the Quinjet off, so they are going into stealth mode, adding that they are invisible to all known forms of detection. The Wasp puts on a space-suit and suggests that they had best hold back until they have done some proper scouting of the target, exclaiming that is where she comes in handy. Hank tells Jan to be careful, and as Janet reduces herself in size, she flies over to Hank, who tells her that there is no telling what kind of traps Magneto may have protecting his orbiting headquarters. ‘Don’t worry about me, lover! I’m not the silly teenager I was when we were married!’ the Wasp exclaims.

Flying out of the hatch, Wasp thinks to herself ‘Boy! There’s a truth and a half!’ and thinks to herself that their recent battle with Loki and his unwitting minions has reminded her just how long it has been since his first attack inspired she and the others to form the original Avengers. Jan remarks that the super hero game isn’t one you would expect to grow long in the tooth at, but that she has been the Wasp all of her adult life! The Wasp realizes that she has seen a lot of super powered folk come and go in that time, good guys and bad - the Swordsman, Captain Mar-Vell, Baron Zemo, the evil Black Knight, and even the Vision by some reckoning. Janet adds that it makes her all the more determined that they will not lose Wanda back to Magneto and his wretched schemes - that would just be too cruel after all the things she has been through in the past few months.

Back in the Quinjet, the Human Torch asks Dr. Pym if this is a good idea, ‘In my day we’d never have let a girl go off alone against the likes of this Magneto character!’ The Torch adds that they cannot even communicate with her without revealing themselves to Magneto. Hank smiles and tells the Torch that he is wrong, and he pulls from his jumpsuit pocket, a shrunken down version of the cybernetic helmet he used in his Ant-Man days. Hank uses his Pym Particles to return the helmet to a large size and explains that with it, he can communicate with Jan on the same bio-frequency that insects use, he then asks Jan if she is receiving him.

Hovering underneath the large chunk of rock, Jan replies that she can hear him loud and clear, and remarks that the antennae that pop out of her forehead when she shrinks down to her wasp size may look a bit silly, but they do have their uses. Jan informs Hank that she is right up against the underside of the asteroid now and is looking for some way to get in. She adds that she has shrunk down smaller than ant-size, so she will not need much of an opening.

The Wasp discovers something that she assumes to be a gas-dispersal tube, and flying towards it, she knows that there is likely to be a bit of head-wind if it is evacuating from a pressurized area into open space, so it is a good thing she is using her jet pack to fly, as she doubts her wings would be enough to get her far against this much resistance. Flying through the duct, Jan thinks that everything is so far so good, and emerges in what she thinks is a service corridor, where it is dark and there is no sign of life. However, Jan thinks she sees something moving down the other end of the hall, when suddenly, all communication between her and the Avengers in the Quinjet is lost.

Back in the Quinjet, Wonder Man asks if something could be blocking the signal. Hank declares that it is impossible, as the only thing that could interrupt transmission is if Janet lost consciousness. USAgent remarks that the Wasp must have been captured, so they have to get over there. The Human Torch asks how, as despite what some of the old stories say about him, his powers are actually useless in outer space. Hank pulls what he calls oxygen webbing from a compartment in the Quinjet and explains to the Torch that it is his own modification of a design Reed Richards developed for the younger Human Torch.

Pym explains that like the others force-field space suits, the oxygen webbing will allow the Torch to function in vacuum for up to half an hour. Hank informs everyone that his cyber-helmet is also rigged with airtight seals and his jumpsuit has the extra-vehicular activity field built into it. Wonder Man and Agent put on their space suits and Pym asks if they are ready. ‘Avengers Assemble!’ he exclaims, then, flying out of the hatch and into open space, USAgent exclaims ‘Let’s go kick some putrid mutant behind!’ Wonder Man remarks that they have obviously captured Janet, so there is no need to be subtle about this, ‘They know we must be in the neighbourhood, I’ll just show them how close!’

With that, Simon smashes his way through the outer wall of Asteroid M, and the others quickly follow him through. Hank tells everyone to move fast, as the breach Simon created is sealing itself automatically, adding that he will just bet there are alarms sounding all over this place, when, suddenly Magneto appears before them, holding the Wasp in a jar, Magneto declares that the Master of Magnetism has no need for alarms, as he felt the anguished scream of the tearing metal - that was all he needed to tell him that the remainder of the Avengers West had come to join their distaff teammate.

‘JAN!’ Hank exclaims Hank upon seeing his ex-wife as Magneto reveals that he was alerted to her presence by one of his service robots. Magneto remarks that even with her much vaunted sting, the Wasp proved no match for the power of Magneto. Turning his attention to USAgent, Magneto remarks that he too has no means of combating his magnetic manipulations, and the Agent finds himself at the mercy of Magneto as some strips of metal that Wonder Man tore apart move as if they are alive, and bind USAgent.

Human Torch flies towards his teammate and informs Walker that he could cut him loose with his flame, but in a battle situation he doesn’t dare risk it, as he could get jolted and burn him. ‘But I don’t have to be so delicate to approach Mr. Magneto here!’ As the Human Torch flies towards Magneto, the Scarlet Witch makes her presence known, stepping forward she declares ‘Perhaps not, Torch! But I warned you before that my powers could undo your resurrection as easily as they created it!’

Power ebbs around Wanda as she exclaims that, this time, her dear brother is not here to stop her. ‘Farewell, android!’ she declares, when suddenly, the Avengers are witness to the death of the Human Torch, as he stops mid-air and plunges to the floor. ‘Wanda, no - TORCH!’ Simon exclaims, grabbing his teammate, Simon announces that the Human Torch is dead. Magneto explains that the Human Torch is not dead, but “deactivated”, the same state in which the Avengers West found him lying in his lonely, abandoned grave. Wanda adds that an android can never truly die, unless he is utterly destroyed, adding that the Torch will remain inert until it pleases her to reactivate him.

Magneto sends the jar holding the Wasp over to Pym as he declares that the time is past for such paltry considerations, and as Pym grabs the jar holding his lover, so to does the Quinjet slam into the bay courtesy of Magneto, who then reshapes it before the Avengers very eyes, and turns it into a magnetically bonded prison cell, surrounding the remaining Avengers West Coast members. A deranged Wanda screams ‘Kill them! Now! While they are helpless! Crush them!’

The five heroes are trapped inside the Quinjet, which Magneto has transformed into a globe, and tells his daughter that he will not kill them, as the days when Magneto might have slain a helpless foe are far behind them. Lifting the globe up with his powers, he tells Wanda that this should serve instead as a lesson to the Avengers - indeed to all who would stand against them, that Magneto has power enough that he can be lenient when it is his wish.

With that, he uses his powers to toss the globe and the Avengers from Asteroid M, explaining to Wanda that he is transporting them back to their Compound. Magneto tells Wanda that she should not think her former teammates will see weakness in this, as their lives have twice this day belonged to him for the taking, and twice has he spared them. ‘Not even humans could be so foolish…as to think they will be so fortunate a third time…’.

Characters Involved: 

Human Torch I, Iron Man, Dr. Hank Pym, Scarlet Witch, USAgent, Wasp, Wonder Man (all Avengers West Coast)

Agatha Harkness
Ann Raymond


Bambi & Cliff

Story Notes: 

This issue takes place thirty seconds after the previous issue (according to a narration box).

The Scarlet Witch resurrected the original Human Torch in Avengers West Coast #50.

Magneto’s comment about battling Iron Man’s predecessor is because he is unaware (like most of the Avengers) that this actually is the original Iron Man. The battle occurred in Avengers (1st series) #110-111.

Mr. Fantastic developed the oxygen webbing for the Human Torch II way back in Fantastic Four (1st series) #13.

The Human Torch is reactivated soon after this issue, in Avengers West Coast Annual #5, though he does not return to active duty, rather becoming a reserve member, and pretty much fading into obscurity, making the odd appearance here and there, until the 1999 “Heroes For Hire” series.

Final issue for writer / artist John Byrne, who abruptly quit all Avengers titles that he was writing. This means that his intentions for the Wanda storyline were never followed through, as in Avengers West Cost #60 Roy and Dann Thomas took over the writing duties, and issues #60-62 have the conclusion to the Wanda story. Issues #58-59 are fill in issues by guest writers Fabian Nicieza and Danny Fingeroth respectively.

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