Avengers West Coast #63

Issue Date: 
October 1990
Story Title: 
When Lives the Lightning

Roy & Dann Thomas (writers), Paul Ryan (penciler), Danny Bulanadi (inker), Bill Oakley (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist), Howard Mackie (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

At the Palos Verdes Compound of the Avengers West Coast, the Scarlet Witch is surrounded by Hawkeye, Wonder Man, USAgent, Iron Man, Hank Pym, the Wasp, Quicksilver and Agatha Harkness as she recovers from her recent ordeal. Her teammates wish her a speedy recovery, while Wonder Man seems like he wants to talk to Wanda about something he isn't able to bring himself to do so. Quicksilver speeds away after getting into an argument with Wanda's doctor, while the Wasp and Hank Pym are about to continue the search for the missing Tigra. Hawkeye isn't able to help them as he has to meet Mockingbird, while Iron Man departs also. USAgent asks Wonder Man if he wants to play a game of pool, but Wonder Man isn't interested as he has a call to make. USAgent feels frustrated at the way his teammates treat him, and approaches Wasp and Pym to tell them how proud he is to be an Avenger, before deciding against it and storming away. Hank and the Wasp notice this, before Agatha Harkness offers to help them find Tigra. Before they begin the search for Tigra, the Wasp and Hank to check on the android Human Torch, and on the way they overhear Wonder Man talking on the phone with the Vision. Wonder Man is updating the Vision on Wanda's situation, but the Vision isn't overly interested. Wonder Man is frustrated and flies away. Arriving in the lab, Hank and the Wasp find Ann Raymond staring at the now empty stasis tank where the Human Torch was resting, only the tank has been melted through. Ann isn't sure what happened, but tells Hank and the Wasp that she remembers looking into the Torch's eyes, before he powered up and flew away. After tending to minor burns that Ann sustained in the incident, Hank and the Wasp set out in a rover aircraft to find the Torch, and Ann joins them. Meanwhile, in the wilderness, a man known as Miguel Santos discovers the long abandoned lair of the Legion of the Living Lightning, of which his father was a member. Miguel explores the facility while recalling the brief history of the Legion, until he tries to connect the machine that gave the Legion their powers – which sends powerful electric energy coursing through his body. Miguel finds himself overflowing with power, which he uses to destroy the old lair and equipment so that no one else can use the power, before he flies off into the night. The Human Torch flies to what he suspects is Orange County, and thinks about how much has changed since he was active during the War. He thinks about Toro, and the new Human Torch, and when he overhears a report of a glowing man causing damage, the Torch flies off to investigate. In the Rover, the Wasp and Hank also hear the report about the glowing man and assume it to be the Human Torch, so head off to find him. The Torch arrives at an area which been blacked out. He finds people running in fear, and lots of destruction – but is shocked when the civilians mistake him for the glowing man responsible for this chaos. Before long, the true culprit appears before the Torch – it's Miguel Santos, now calling himself the Living Lightning. The Torch and the Living Lightning fight, with the Lightning testing his abilities out and the Torch trying to prove he is still relevant in this modern era. The Wasp and Hank arrive on scene and assist the Torch, and eventually, the Living Lightning is seemingly vaporized. Hank and the Wasp then give the Torch some encouragement, and the Torch wonders if things are finally falling into place for him.

Full Summary: 

The wilderness, somewhere, a man hikes through the rugged terrain, thinking to himself that it seems like another world out here – his father's world. But, after tonight, his world,  too. He looks at a map he calls the Legion's map, and knows that the pam is the main reason he didn't find out where this place was l ong ago, the maps were all in some stupid code – but he finally cracked it, and it turned out what he was looking for was right out here in the Santa Ana Mountains, not an hour's drive from the barrio in East LA. He stands on an orange triangle etched into the dirt, and notices a jagged white line in the triangle. He thinks to himself that hikers and campers must pass within a hundred yards of this every day – and never even suspect anything. 'All they'd have to do is clear away some debris, like I have – and they'd have seen the thunderbolt' he tells himself, before realizing that lightning isn't their heritage – it's his. He puts his hand into a imprint in the triangle, and prays that the gate mechanism still works after all this time. There is a rumbling, and a large set of doors built into the side of the mountain before him open. 'A dios gracias!' the young man exclaims. He realizes that this is where it all happened – in the hidden lair of the Legion of the Living Lightning!

Meanwhile, at the Avengers West Coast Compound in Palos Verdes, Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch sits up in a bed within the medical facilities of the Compound. Physician Dr Sanford stands beside her and instructs her to take it easy for a few days and then she will be back on her feet before she knows it. Wanda smiles and tells Dr Sanford not to worry, for as eager as she is to be up and about, she has no intention of rushing things. Wanda adds that she is fully aware of how lucky she is to simply be alive. 'That's our good fortune every much as it is yours, Wanda' Janet van Dyne a.k.a. the Wasp remarks as she stands around the bed, gathered with the rest of the Avengers West Coast members Dr Henry Pym, Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man, Simon Williams a.k.a. Wonder Man, John Walker a.k.a. USAgent, Clint Barton a.k.a. Hawkeye, as well as Wanda's mentor, the sorceress Agatha Harkness, and Wanda's brother Pietro Maximoff a.k.a. Quicksilver. Amen to that, Jannie' Hawkeye remarks.

As he packs his equipment into a bag, Dr Sanford decides that for someone with friends like this, his prognosis might have been a bit conservative. Dr Pym reports that they have arranged to have a nurse in attendance 24 hours a day here at the Compound. '25 if necessary' the Wasp jokes, to which Wanda remarks that now she knows she will have to get well fast, and adds that she is going to loathe being a burden. Dr Sanford then asks everyone to clear out, as his patient needs a good night's rest. 'Of course, doctor' Quicksilver replies, before bidding his sister a good night. Everyone files out of the room except for Wonder Man, so the nurse that was in the room with them, Daniella Tomaz, asks him if there was something he wanted. 'What? Oh...no. Nothing' Simon replies, to which Daniella points out that the others have left. Simon apologizes and starts to leave, to which Wanda tells him to wait. 'I guess we showed Immortus where he could get off, didn't we?' Wanda remarks. 'You showed him, Wanda...when you threw off all that excess power he'd secretly bred in you' Simon points out, adding that the rest of them were mostly just along for the ride. . Wanda tells Simon that sometimes he can be so silly, before bidding him good night. 'Good night' Simon replies.

Moments later, Simon arrives outside the front of the Compound, where Quicksilver walks Dr Sanford to his car and tells him that he hesitated to ask this in front of his sister, but he wants to know if her so-called hex power will return when she is stronger. Dr Sanford admits that he can't say, and adds 'Before tonight, I never before treated a – well, you know – a mutant'. Quicksilver looks angry and clenches a fist as he retorts 'You say the word “mutant” as if it were something unclean! By all that is holy, I will -' Pietro begins, before Dr Sanford tells him to hang on a minute, when Hawkeye suddenly rushes over and comes between the two. 'Chill out, Pietro! He didn't mean anything by it' Hawkeye tells Quicksilver, warning Quicksilver that if he is going to be as tough as he used to be, then he is not going to do himself or Wanda any good. Quicksilver agrees that Hawkeye is right, and apologizes to Dr Sanford. 'No harm done' the doctor responds, before Quicksilver excuses himself and speeds away. Hawkeye apologizes to Dr Sanford and explains that Quicksilver can be a bit of a hot-head at times.

'Now there was a sight – Hawkeye telling somebody else to act like a pussycat' the Wasp remarks as she approaches Hawkeye, before asking if he and Iron Man can help her and Hank hunt for Tigra. Iron Man explains that is days overdue at Stark Enterprises, so he won't be able to help, while Hawkeye asks if Tigra is still six inches tall and roaming the grounds like a wild animal. USAgent stands nearby and says nothing, while Hawkeye walks over to his sky-cycle and yells the Wasp that he will be back later, but his estranged wife, Mockingbird, is blowing into town and he promised he would meet her in Hollywood. The Wasp asks Hawkeye to give Mockingbird her love, and suggests that it is a good idea to see Mockingbird away from the Compound. 'There's probably a lesson there for all of us' the Wasp adds, glancing over to Hank Pym as he speaks to Agatha Harkness. Hawkeye takes off on his sky-cycle and bids Iron Man goodbye. 'Don't you let Tony Stark ream you  for playing hookey. We all know what a hard case he can be' Hawkeye jokes. 'Uh... right. See you soon' Iron Man replies, emotionlessly, given no one knows that Tony himself is under the armor.

At that moment, the man who found the old lair of the Legion of the Living Lightning explores the ruined base, while thinking to himself that not many people ever heard of the Legion, let alone how it tried to take control of the US – for its own good. The man's name is Miguel Santos, and he vows that he will change all that – if he can gets the device in the center of the lair to do what his father told him it used to do. 'Well, wearing his fingerprint glove opened the doors, didn't it? Why shouldn't the lightning machine work too?' he wonders, deciding that then he will finally make it up to his father. 'If only he hadn't made me stay in school in LA – then I'd have been here that day... the day he and the whole Legion – had their backs against the wall.

On that day, the Lightning Lord told the Legion of the Living Lightning that they had been neaten, but that they would destroy the army base before they died. The man thinks that the Lightning Lord would have saved America from people who didn't love it as much as his father, who had come here from Mexico, if not for that green-skinned monster, the Incredible Hulk, who, in his mad rage, blew up half this mountain. The man kneels down and finds two cables as he thinks that that the Legionnaires are all dead, even the one who escaped and told him what happened – but the Legion's dream, his father's dream, to abolish war and hatred by taking over – maybe he can revive it, by something as simple as connecting these two cables together – but as the man connects the cables, a powerful surge of electrical energy shocks him, surging through his body, and he screams.

Back at the Palos Verdes Compound, USAgent calls out to Wonder Man, telling him that he knows they promised to help look for that cat-lady the rest of them lost, but he wondered if they can have a fast game of pool, first. 'Some other time, okay?' Simon replies, informing Agent that he has a phone call to make. 'Yeah... sure. Another time' Agent mutters, while thinking to himself that this is the story of his life as an Avenger, West Coast variety, as the others resent the way that the government forced him down their throats. He wonders if he should make himself easier to swallow, and decides that it might not be too late, looking over to Hank Pym and his ex-wife the Wasp talking to Agatha Harkness, Agent realizes that the two of them haven't cold-shouldered him the way that Hawkeye did, and even Wonder Man just now.

USAgent starts to walk towards Hank and the Wasp, wondering if he should tell them how proud he is to be an Avenger, before stopping in his tracks, asking himself why he is kissing up to them – the government appointed him an Avenger, and that's good enough for him. 'Who do these bozos think they are, anyway, looking down their noses at me? Frag 'em!' Walker think to himself as he turns and strides away – although Hank Pym notices him and calls out to him, only USAgent doesn't respond. Hank tells Jan that it is funny the way USAgent insists on playing the hard-headed outsider, instead of steam player, and wonders if he will mellow in time. 'I wouldn't bet the ranch on it, Hank' Jan remarks.

Hank turns back to Agatha Harkness and tells her that she is welcome to stay on here as long as she likes, as it would do the Scarlet Witch good, since Wanda looks on her as family. 'And I her, Dr Pym' Agatha replies, before deciding that she will stay until Wanda is better. Suddenly, a black cat leaps up into Agatha's arms. 'Why, good evening, Ebony' Agatha greets her faithful cat, before remarking that the situation with the unfortunate cat woman Tigra intrigues her as well, and suggests that perhaps her far-roving familiar and she can help her locate the missing Tigra. Jan tells Agatha that that would be wonderful, before Hank excuses himself and Jan, informing Agatha that before they search for Tigra he wants  to check in on the Human Torch, who went back into downtime following their outing against the Terminus Twins, to replenish his energy. 'Of course' Agatha responds.

Making their way back into the Compound, Jan asks Hank if he thinks the Torch will ever really adjust to being an Avenger, given that as an android who has been deactivated most of the time since the 1950s, he must feel like a fifth wheel. Hank tells Jan to give the Torch time, and reminds her that it took Captain America a while to get his bearings, too, after being on ice for decades. As they pass one of the rooms within the Compound, they hear Wonder Man on the telephone: '... after all, you were Wanda's husband. Well, actually, I suppose you still are, technically...so I figured you'd want to hear we'd got her out of Magneto's clutches first...then Immortus. Yeah, Immortus. It's a long story. Believe me, you don't want to know how long!' Simon exclaims, before telling the person on the other end of the phone – the Vision, his “brother” - that he was wondering how soon he could make it out here to see Wanda, as he is sure she could use a bit of cheering up from loved ones.

At the Avengers' base on the East Coast, the android Avenger called the Vision stands near Quasar as he reminds Simon that he is not the same android that he was, and that since his reconstruction, he has no conscious memory of his life with the Scarlet Witch. 'I wish her well, of course... but I suspect it is better if she and I have no communication or confrontation for the immediate future' the Vision states, telling Wonder Man that he hopes and trusts that he understands. 'Oh, I understant, all right...you better believe I do!' Simon snaps as he crushes the telephone receiver in his hand, while Jan and Hank watch on, shocked. 'I'm in love with a woman who loves a husband who's dead to her, and always will be! So how do I fight a ghost?' Simon shouts as he smashes through a window and flies out into the night. 'He's really upset! We'd better -' Hank begins, but Jan tells him to just let Simon go, that there is nothing they can do for him tonight.

Back in the forest, the moon glows down over the trees and mountains, while in the dark lair of the Legion of the Living Lightning, a spark flickers amongst the rubble – and then a energized hand reaches up through that rubble, before sparks of energy dart about, and the man who was shocked when connecting the cables emerges, his whole body glistening with energy. 'Free! I'm free again! But the pain – I felt – I'll remember the pain as long as I live!' he thinks to himself, before looking down at his hands, and is surprised to see that they are glowing – worse, his whole body is crackling, like a toaster on the fritz. 'Que pasa? What's happening to me?' he wonders, before remembering the wires, and supposes that when he connected them, he must have plugged himself into the lightning machine somehow, and decides that if the way he is feeling is any clue, then rather than just having a working weapon, he has turned himself into one! He raises his arms, and energy darts from his hands, blasting two large columns nearby.

He looks at his hands, 'That felt great!' he thinks to himself, wondering if the Legion had a few vatos like him, instead of having to use missiles and the machine. Suddenly, he realizes that it could have been anybody who got charged up like this, even somebody who hated everything the Legion and his father stood for. He decides not anymore, and releases his newfound power on the machine, blasting it to pieces. 'I can see now – it's better this way' he thinks to himself. He flies up out of the lair, declaring to himself that from this night on, there is only one Living Lightning – and it is him, Miguel Santos!

At that moment, at the Avengers West Compound, Hank Pym and the Wasp enter a lab, and after flicking on a light, are surprised to find Ann Raymond standing in the lab, looking up at a stasis tank which has been destroyed. 'What were you doing in my lab – in the dark?' Hank enquires, before realizing the original Human Torch isn't there, and asks Ann where the Torch has gone. Ann informs Dr Pym that it wasn't dark a little while ago in here, in fact, it was bright – so bright she was blinded for a time. 'I guess I never thought to turn on the light afterward Ann adds, looking to Hank and Jan. 'After what?' Hank asks, before realizing that the cylinder the Torch rests in when he is down so turned to slag, and the glass has fused. Jan alerts Hank to a hole melted through the roof of the tank. 'Not to be pushy with a guest, Mrs Raymond, but -' Hank begins, to which Ann explains that she cam here just to look at the Torch, reminding him that her husband was the Torch's boy partner, years ago – Toro.

Ann reminds Hank and Jan that she came here out West to learn if her husband, Tom, was really dead as she was told, but the Torch told her that he didn't know, and she hoped to ask him a few more questions while he was active, but when she came into the lab here, and he woke, there was a wild look in his eyes, and while that frightened her, no more than what happened next, as the Torch shouted 'Flame on!' and shifted to his flaming form, and a moment later, without so much as look at her, he blasted through the cylinder, and the lab, and escaped. Still dazed, Ann supposes that she just went on standing here, while night fell. As the Wasp and Hank begin wrapping some bandages around Ann's arms, the Wasp asks her if she didn't realize that she had received some burns. Hank asks Ann when this all happened, approximately, to which Ann motions towards a melted clock, and points out that the clock can tell him precisely. 'Good grief!' the Wasp gasps, and Hank sees that the clock says 5:45.

Hank heads out of the lab and asks Jan if she is coming. 'You bet. But that was hours ago! The Torch could be anywhere by now!' Jan exclaims. Hank tells her that wherever the Torch is, it sounds like he is probably terribly confused, and that it might be some residual effect of Wanda's hex power that shut him down earlier. 'And you're going to try to find him – with that?' Ann asks, surprised, as Hank pulls a small object from his pocket. As they head outside, Hank uses his Pym Particles on the object, transforming it into its true size, he explains that it is Rover, his pre-shrunk flying vehicle, which snaps back to normal size when he bombards it with Pym Particles. Hank tells Jan to hurry, as they have to stop the torch before, in his dazed state, he hurts himself 'Or – someone else!' Jan exclaims.

Meanwhile, the Human Torch lights up the night sky as he flies through the darkness, looking down below himself, he assumes he is over Orange County, and remarks to himself that it sure has grown since he and Toro were here. The Torch tells himself that to  everyone else, it has been years since Toro was killed by the Mad Thinker – but Toro, alive, is the last thing he can remember before he went nova in 1954, and he has only been activated for a total of a few days since that time, 36 years ago! The Torch recalls being told that Captain America was disorientated, too, when he was revived, but at least he was human, among other things. The Torch frowns when he thinks that there is even a new generation Torch blazing around as part of the Fantastic Four, and wonders if there is no place for an android like him – either in the Avengers West Coast, or in today's world. As  he drops down towards a “Derby Donuts” restaurant, he wonders if there is no place for him, then what he would do, but decides the more pressing concern is getting some directions back to the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

As he enters the restaurant, he powers off, appearing in his orange jumpsuit costume, he decides that it is good to see some things haven't changed – doughnut shops are still the best guarded businesses on Earth. 'Always a cop on hand' the Torch tells himself as he sees a police officer at the counter talking to the staff, while other patrons are seated throughout the restaurant. The Torch remembers that he used to be a cop, and even went by the name “Jim Hammond” - but he didn't fit any better into the regular police force than he did into the rest of society. 'The other Torch is the one that's human...not me' he laments. At that moment, a man leads a woman he calls Jennifer out the door, and they get into a car. 'Buckly up. We're due over at -' the man begins, as Jennifer puts her seat belt on, while he turns the car stereo on, and the radio announcer states that a flying, glowing man, or something resembling a man, has caused fires and electrical damages in the vicinity of Fullerton.

The Torch hears this radio report, and decides that it is something up his alley, so he shouts 'Flame on!' and flies out the restaurant, which doesn't go unnoticed by the patrons. 'Hey! Is that the “glowing man” we just heard about?' a woman asks, while a man points out that it sure looks like it, but he is supposed to be miles from here. The Torch realizes that he does match the radio description, but decides  to worry about that once I figures out how to get to this “Fullerton” place.

As Hank Pym and the Wasp soar through the air in the Rover, they hear the radio report which informs them that fires and electrical damage have been caused in the vicinity of Fullerton. 'What do you think, Hank? Could they mean the Torch?' the Wasp asks. Ann Raymond leans over from the back seat and tells the Wasp that it couldn't be, and adds that Tom told her so much about the Torch that she feels that she almost knows him. 'The Torch was kind – gentle! He wouldn't go wild like that – would he?' she asks. Hank tells Mrs Raymond that they can't claim to know the Torch as well as her late husband, but that is precisely what they aim to find out. As Rover speeds on through the night sky, Ann makes a noise as if she is uncomfortable, so Hank asks the Wasp if she can find Mrs Raymond an airsick bag.

The Torch continues through the air and wonders where Fullerton is, realizing that he should have asked somebody back at the doughnut shop before he flew off half-cocked. He reminds himself that he knew New York like the back of his hand – or used to, anyway – but Southern California is a different story. Suddenly, he sees a blacked out area down below, and guesses that he has hit the jackpot, as that might be what he is looking for. 'Or, rather, that bright glow in the middle' the Torch tells himself as he flies in for a closer look, and is shocked to discover downed power lines, and a nearby gas station ablaze, while people run around in a panic. 'Don't tell me – let me guess: Fullerton!' the Torch thinks to himself, while one civilian looks up to the sky and sees the Torch, before he shouts 'Look out! He's coming back!' 'Lemme outta here!' another civilian exclaims.

The Torch calls out to them, trying to tell them that he is not who they think he is, but he realizes it is no use, as no one is listening. The Torch sets about hovering over the flames and starts to absorb them into his own body so they don't cause any more harm, which he hopes will count for something – it probably would have, if anybody on the ground had noticed. He drops to the ground and calls out to the fleeing civilians, telling them that he needs some information, but no one stops to talk to him. The Torch is then forced to take flight as one of the fleeing civilians drives their car directly at him, nearly running him down. 'Doesn't anybody remember me anymore?' the Torch wonders, joking that he would have at least thought they might have mistaken him for that hotshot in the Fantastic Four! But he realizes that maybe no one recognizes the Fantastic Four this side of the Hudson River. He wonders where the person who caused all this damage is, when suddenly, a voice shouts something at the Torch in Spanish, and fires several lightning balls towards him.

'I said keep your distance!' Living Lightning exclaims as he appears before the Human Torch, who realizes that this must be his target for tonight. The Torch tells him that that he doesn't speak Spanish, before the Living Lightning introduces himself and explains that he is testing the limits of his new powers. The Torch introduces himself and suggests that the two of them have a lot in common. He starts to make another suggestion, but the Living Lightning interrupts him and warns the Torch that he won't stop him the way that the Hulk once did the Legion. 'Legion? What Legion? Liberty? Foreign? American?' the Torch enquires. 'You're just trying to confuse me!' the Living Lightning calls back. The Torch points out that it looks like the Living Lightning has gotten a head start on that, and flies towards him throwing a fireball towards the Living Lightning, but nothing happens, as the fireball can't get through an electrical field. 'You're not taking me anywhere!' the Living Lightning shouts as he fires a blast of electrical energy towards the Torch, but the Torch is able to dodge it.

That lighting ball careens towards the road below, and lands in front of a car, where inside the car a woman screams out to the male driver, Roger, who shields his eyes, unable to see, but this causes him to crash the car into a nearby tree. The Torch flies nearby and sees that it was a couple of kids, about Toro's age, the last time he saw him. As Roger and the woman in the car emerge from the vehicle unscathed, the Torch tells himself that it is a good thing that seat belts have caught on over the past few decades, before turning his attention back to the Living Lightning, he sees that the Lightning is firing another lighting ball towards the ground, and the Torch asks him what he is trying to do. 'Do? Why – just checking out my new powers – on those human guinea pigs below!' the Lightning responds as the bolts dart towards Roger and the woman, who are running across a field. 'Noooo!' the woman cries out, before the Torch flies down between them and the bolt, which strikes him, causing a blinding flare of light.


TheTorch then crashes to the ground in front of Roger and the woman. They look over to him, 'Whoever this guy is – he took that blast that aimed at us! We gotta go to him!' Roger exclaims as he rushes over to the Torch, but the Torch tells him to get out of here, warning him that the Living Lightning is coming back for him. 'He's right! Run!' the woman tells Roger. An instant later, 'You're a fool, Torch! I got no reason to hurt those kids! It's you I wanted to try out my powers on! And one more ray ought  to -' the Living Lightning begins, before the Rover swoops in between him and the Torch. 'Well, ladies, that solves the mystery of the “flying glowing man”!' Hank Pym remarks, adding that it looks like the Torch dropped by to investigate, too. 'And nearly got his head handed to him for his trouble!' the Wasp points out. Ann Raymond tells the Avengers that the Torch needs their help, and the Wasp flits down to her insect-size, flying out of Roger, she tells Mrs Raymond that the Torch is going to get it.

'You all right?' the Wasp asks the Torch as she flies over to him. 'Oh, sure. I'm just great. My first solo outing since the Eisenhower administration – and I wind up flat on my backside!' the Torch replies, before he tells the Wasp that he hopes her ex-husband has better luck, as Pym fires a blast of acid spray from Rover towards the Living Lightning, 'I didn't know whether my electric aura would keep it off me or not!' Living Lightning exclaims, grateful that it did. The Wasp tells the Torch not to be so hard in himself, and suggests that if he isn't hurt, they should give Hank a hand. 'What good can a has-been like me do?' the Torch frowns. 'Some good, I hope – or else in a few seconds, Hank and Ann Raymond are liable to be somebody's history lesson!' the Wasp exclaims. Upon hearing that Toro's widow is aboard the Rover, the Torch looks shocked, while the Living Lightning fires a blast of energy at the Rover, sending it crashing towards the ground below.

A moment later, the Rover crashes into the ground, but the Wasp reports that Hank and Ann are okay. 'Nice one-point landing, Hank!' the Wasp calls out, before the Torch exclaims 'That human spark-plug's taking a powder!' and he powers up, flying back up towards the Living Lightning, 'Here's a present, amigo – from a firefly to a lightning bug!' the Torch jokes as he hurls a fire ball towards the Living Lightning, while supposing that the Living Lightning will probably connect in a minute, and give him a terminal shock treatment, but he can't let him escape to menace the whole countryside. The Rover opens up and Ann exclaims 'The Torch is taking on that monster alone! He'll be killed – just like Tom!' but Hank calls out to the Torch, telling him to hover in place for a second. 'We're a team – and we'll get out of this mess together!' Hank tells the Torch, hurling a cable up into the air, but the Torch misses it – and while the Living Lightning fires more energy blasts towards the Torch, the Wasp grabs the cable and carries it back up to the Torch telling him this is the nice thing about having friends.

'This is no good to me. I think I'll pass it on' the Torch jokes as he throws the cable towards the Living Lightning, who smiles as he grabs the cable, which causes a surge of electrical energy to course through his body, and he is seemingly desftroyed, the resulting flux of power travels back down the cable and blows up the Rover. 'Well, that was short and sweet! Not even time for “Reddy Kilowatt” to give out with the obligatory “ARRGH” before he got grounded and his electrical charge set off the Rover's fuel tank' the Wasp remarks. Hank asks Jan how long it takes for lightning to strike, and supposes that their foe was a personified thunderbolt. Ann Raymond asks if it is gone for good, while the Torch flies over to his companions and points out that if he can make a comeback, he wouldn't bet on anybody being down for the count, but that they have probably seen the last of him for tonight. He then thanks Jan and Dr Pym for saving him. 'We saved you?' the Wasp replies. 'You've got to be kidding!' Hank adds. 'You think we'd have beat that glow worm so handily without your years of fighting experience?' Hank points out. 'But if not for your ship arriving, I'd have been -' the Torch starts to say, before Hank shakes his hand and reminds him that he returned the favor. 'Like I said – teamwork' he points out, adding that is why they need a guy like him in the Avengers West Coast. 'You think I'll really fit in? The Torch asks, surprised.

The Wasp tells the Human Torch that he has always been more of a team player than he seems to recall – first with Toro, then gthe Invaders, and the All-Winners Squad after the war. Hank asks the Torch why he was flying down here anyway, and adds that Mrs Raymond said he acted confused when he woke up. The Torch admits that he was, at least briefly, but thinks that things are finally starting to fall into place – for the first time in a long time. Ann Raymond informs the Torch that she would really appreciate a chance to talk with him when they get back to the Compound.'That could be a while – unless of course, Hank's got a spare miniaturized Rover in his pocket' the Wasp jokes. 'Not exactly, Jan – will a Quinjet do?' Hank replies, pulling out a mini Quinjet. The Wasp smiles, and within minutes, the four are airbound, as the Wasp tells Hank that she can't always recall why she divorced him – but can usually remember why she married him!

Characters Involved: 

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


Quasar, Vision (both Avengers)

Living Lightning/Miguel Santos


Agatha Harkness



Ann Raymond

Dr Roy Sanford, Daniella Tomaz (both Avengers West Compound staff)





Police officer


(in flashback image)


Lightning Lord

Legion of the Living Lightning members


Story Notes: 

First appearance of Miguel Santos the Living Lightning.

The Legion of the Living Lightning previously appeared in Tales to Astonish #97-99 and were an extremist group with the goal of overthrowing governments around the world. Most of the members were killed when the lightning machine overloaded during battle with the Hulk.

The Scarlet Witch is recovering after the ordeal she went through with Immortus in Avengers West Coast #51-52 and #60-62.

First and only appearances of Dr Roy Sanford and nurse Daniella Tomaz (who is unnamed in the issue but receives her name in an Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe).

After her personality began to change and she started to act like a cat, Hank Pym shrunk Tigra to the size of a house cat in Avengers West Coast #49, and she went missing in #52. Tigra will be found and restored to her regular size in Avengers Spotlight #38.

The original Human Torch fought the Terminus Twins in Avengers Annual (1st series) #19 and Avengers West Coast Annual #5.

Toro was killed by the Mad-Thinker in Sub-Mariner (1st series) #14.

Oddly, the teenager called Roger on page 23 is referred to by his female friend as Jimmy on page 24.

The Living Lightning returns in Avengers West Coast #70.

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