Avengers West Coast #69

Issue Date: 
April 1991
Story Title: 
Grudge Match!

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

Brief Description: 

The Avengers West Coast (Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, USAgent, Wonder Man, Iron Man, Hank Pym, Wasp, Tigra), along with Quicksilver and Mockingbird, meet to discuss the new status of the Avengers charter, in which the team, like its Eastern counterpart, now under the auspices of the United Nations, must have a seven member roster with several alternate members. During the meeting, a video from Captain America is shown, in which the East Coast team is revealed, and a message from General Hayworth reveals that the United States government no longer has any influence over the Avengers, which means USAgent does not have a guaranteed position on the team. This of course angers USAgent, and causes even more friction between him and his rival, Hawkeye. The team, place their votes (five each), however Quicksilver and Mockingbird cannot vote. After the votes have been tallied, the new team is revealed - exactly the same line-up as it was, but with USAgent kicked out, having only received one vote. Mockingbird is shocked to learn that the one vote she received was not placed by her estranged husband, while a furious USAgent argues with Hawkeye some more, before walking out on the team. Hank Pym and the Wasp throw an additional problem into the team when they reveal that they had planned to leave the team, but agree to take alternate status once the team has sorted things out. Outside, Mockingbird departs, while Hawkeye and USAgent agree to meet up in a short while to sort out their differences once and for all. Wonder Man informs the Scarlet Witch that he has booked a table for them at a restaurant, but is upset when the Scarlet Witch tells him that she only wants to be friends now, causing Wonder Man to depart. Hawkeye and USAgent meet at their arranged location, and battle it out - with their weapons, fists and words. Hawkeye constantly calls USAgent a cheap imitation of Captain America, while USAgent is forced to stand up for himself. Eventually, USAgent throws Hawkeye off the cliff-side. Hawkeye tries to stop his fall, but smashes onto the beach below. USAgent races down to tend to his former teammate, but Hawkeye is relentless, and despite his injuries lashes out at USAgent again. They end up in the water, smashing each other with fists and words, until eventually USAgent, physically stronger, knocks Hawkeye out. He drags Hawkeye onto the beach, when the Avengers West Coast confront him. USAgent receives a lecture about his bad attitude, and they force him to leave, before the Scarlet Witch expresses concern for what USAgent may turn into if he doesn’t check his attitude. Meanwhile, a mysterious trunk is stolen from the Los Angeles Harbor by super beings working for a mysterious Doctor, who plan to become masters of the Pacific Rim - and then the world!

Full Summary: 

Avengers West Coast Compound, Palos Verdes, California. The moon shines down upon the home of Earth’s other Mightiest Heroes, where, right now, Clint “Hawkeye” Barton stands in the bushy grounds of his home and headquarters, alongside the cliff that hangs over the beach. Bow in hand and plenty of arrows in his backpack, the arching Avenger calls out ‘All right, Agent - come out of hiding - and I mean now!’. The handsome John Walker a.k.a. USAgent steps into view, carrying his trusty shield, he tells Hawkeye that he wasn’t hiding, that he was just watching - and trying not to laugh his guts out at the sight of Hawkeye in his so-called “battle-armor”. ‘And the name’s “US” Agent, to you!’ Johnny adds.

Standing a few feet away from each other, Clint retorts ‘Okay, I’ll correct it on the title card’ as he readies his bow and an arrow. “Hawkeye vs USAgent - in a fight to the finish!” Clint exclaims, adding: ‘Translation! Till Mr Red-and-White-and-Black is just plain black and blue!’. ‘In your dreams!’ Walker calls back, before telling Hawkeye that, before they start, he wants to know if he is sure he is over that creeping robot-itis he got from Ultron-13.’I don’t want to mop up the Palos Verdes Cliffs with you - then have you claim you were still sick with a case of the “metals”!’ USAgent jokes.

Hawkeye tells USAgent that he knows good and well that Hank Pym fixed him up with the light-machine he rigged up, and offers to take his battle-armor off if it bothers USAgent so much. ‘Keep it on. I’m sporting my shield, right? You’re gonna need all the protection you can get when I lay my hands on you!’ Walker replies as he moves towards Hawkeye. ‘Lay ‘em on this, instead!’ Hawkeye tells Walker as he fires an arrow towards him. ‘This good enough for you?’ Walker calls back, declaring that his shield will cushion the impact of it, and as it bounces off his shield, Walker thinks to himself that it looked like an exploding arrow, but it wasn’t.

Walker quickly jumps over the next arrow which Hawkeye fires, and realizes that it was all a set-up for this follow up arrow, which releases a bola, to try and trip him up, but it doesn’t work. ‘Blast!’ Hawkeye complains, before firing a succession of arrows at Walker, who knocks the first two back with his shield, dodges over the third, which has a net explode out of it, before knocking the fourth back, all the while, Walker thinks that Hawkeye is trying out the whole range - electro-arrow, suction-tip which will stick to most things, the cable-net, and the acid head. ‘No dice - any of them!’ Johnny tells himself, before admitting that he did get winded running the gauntlet, so he needs to use his shield to buy him some time.

‘Just what I wanted you to do!’ Clint thinks to himself as Johnny hurls his shield towards him. Clint tells himself that once I manages to neutralize the second-rate copy of Captain America’s shield, then it is just he and the Agent….

Earlier that night: ‘You heard me - I sad you just and me - outside, right now! I’ll show you how a real Avenger handles himself!’ Hawkeye shouts at USAgent, the two standing at opposite sides of the table in the conference room. ‘I’m as much an Avenger as any man here, Robin Hood. Uncle Sam said so, remember?’ USAgent retorts. ‘That’s good enough for me - and it better be for you!’ Walker adds. Dr. Hank Pym steps in to intervene, calling Clint and John prima donnas, he tells them to back off. ‘Tell that to him!’ Clint mutters, to which his ex-wife and former teammate, Barbara Morse-Barton, better known as Mockingbird, tells Clint that Hank was talking to both of them.

Simon “Wonder Man” Williams suggests that perhaps Jan should put on the vid-disc before he has to knock a couple of heads together. ‘Will do’ Janet van Dyne a.k.a. the Wasp replies as she places a disc into the monitor. Hank turns to Mockingbird and tells her that she picked a good day to fly out from Detroit, as they will be voting on who their seven regular members will be under the new system. ‘So a little bird told me’ Bobbi replies, to which Clint asks her if she is sure that is why she is here. ‘You want to crawl back into Avengers West - and dump the Great Lakes bunch!’. ‘Like you did, you mean?’ Bobbi snaps back. Also present are the Scarlet Witch a.k.a. Wanda Maximoff, and her brother, non-member Quicksilver a.k.a. Pietro, as well as Greer Grant Nelson a.k.a. Tigra.

Hank declares that he is sorry that he and Jan always seem to be calling meetings lately - Iron Man interrupts, reminding everyone that Hank and Jan were Avengers before anyone else, to which the Wasp replies ‘Uh…right, Iron Man, before motioning to the monitor and announcing that she received this message a little while ago. A recording of Captain America, flanked by several of his teammates in the Avengers East Coast team, flashes onto the screen. ‘Hello, one and all. Captain America here, with the rest of the new roster of - well, I guess you’d call us “Avengers East”. The Vision, Sersi, Thor, Black Widow, Quasar and She-Hulk. Cap states that he was elected to do the honors with this official greeting, and that his team is looking forward to seeing who the regulars and alternates to the Avengers West will be, once the votes are tallied.

Hawkeye turns to USAgent and whispers to him: ‘How many votes you figure you’ll get from a team you elbowed your way into, Agent?’ Walker whispers back that he is a given, as General Hayworth appointed him on behalf of the government, so the only person who could kick him out is - ‘General Lewis Hayworth!’ Captain America announces on the recording. ‘HUH?’ Walker exclaims. On the recording, Captain America states that General Hayworth is here to add a less pleasant, but unavoidable, footnote to the greeting. General Hayworth thanks Captain America, before announcing that he has a message for USAgent. Hayworth states that he apologizes for communicating with USAgent so impersonally, but that, given the circumstances, it is necessary to do so.

General Hayworth’s message states that, now that both Avengers branches will be operating under the United Nations, this government will no longer maintain its own representative in the team. Hayworth declares that from now on, who is or is not an Avenger is a matter to be decided entirely by the Avengers themselves. ‘Our thanks for everything, Agent - and good luck!’ Hayworth adds. ‘WHAT - I’ve been stabbed in the back!’ Walker gaps, wide-eyed, before slamming his fist onto the table, causing cracks in it. ‘Agent - for pity’s sake!’ Wanda exclaims, while Walker declares that it is some kind of trick. Captain America’s message comes to a close as he announces ‘That’s it, fellow Avengers. Sorry we had to make it short and sweet. Bye’.

‘Couldn’t have been much sweeter to me, Cap!’ Hawkeye mutters, smirking, while Wonder Man tells his friend to stop rubbing salt in the wound, as he tries to restrain USAgent, telling him to stop acting like somebody who has just been black-balled by a college frat. ‘You got a better way to describe the shafting I just got?’ Walker snaps back. Simon tells Johnny that he does, and points out that as of today, USAgent will be an Avenger - or an ex-Avenger - on his own merits, and nothing else. ‘If that’s not good enough for you, you can walk out right now. Got it?’. Johnny frowns, but calms down, and replies ‘I…got it’. ‘Good. Then let’s take a vote!’ Wonder Man suggests….

‘And that’ll be the end of you!’ Hawkeye thinks to himself as he fires an arrow at USAgent’s shield. Walker admits that his shield may not be as fancy as Captain America’s, but that it is still designed to boomerang back to him - which it does, and he grabs it. Walker adds that the vibranium his shield is made of plays havoc with Hawkeye’s little trick arrows, as one of them falls to the ground. Clint fires another arrow, and shouts ‘I’ve read the description in Sears’ catalog. Says it can “absorb the vibrations from concussive forces hurled against it”!’ Hawkeye replies, as he fires two arrows simultaneously, one aimed above and one aimed below USAgent, pointing out that his shield cannot be above and below him at the same time.

The arrow that was aimed at his feet explodes, causing USAgent to be thrown up in the air, before he dives down to catch the second one, remarking that either one of the two explosive arrows was a dud, or this one will explode on impact. ‘Let’s find out which one!’ Johnny exclaims as he throws the second arrow back towards Hawkeye, where it explodes a foot in front of him….

Back in the meeting room, earlier that evening, the Avengers West, Mockingbird and Quicksilver sit around the conference table, while Wasp holds up a piece of paper and announces that she has the results. Janet explains that, but the Avengers bylaws, each current regular must vote for five people, with the top seven becoming regular members, and the next seven becoming alternates. ‘Can we get on with it?’ Hawkeye asks, to which the Wasp informs him that he is the first one to be mentioned, and that he got four votes out of a possible forty. ‘Congrats. You’re in’ she tells him, before announcing that Mockingbird got one vote, which makes her an alternate. ‘Thanks, Clint - since I couldn’t vote!’ Mockingbird whispers to her ex husband, assuming it was he who voted for her.

‘Tigra, you got four votes, which makes you -’ the Wasp begins, ‘ - available!’ Tigra smiles, before thanking everyone. Jan states that the Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man have received five votes each, to which Simon turns to Wanda and tells her that is great. ‘What a team we’ll make!’ Quicksilver remains stern-faced with his arms folded as the Wasp tells him that he received two votes. ‘Iron Man, five votes…USAgent, one…’ the Wasp announces, to which Hawkeye whispers ‘And I wonder which one of us in this great big room cast that vote!’ to which Iron Man tells him to ease off.

The Wasp announces that Hank got five votes, as did she. ‘Also, three votes for the Original Human Torch, and one for - Machine Man?’. Hank declares that is it, and as of today, the seven-person roster of the Avengers West Coast is Iron Man, Wonder Man, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, Tigra, the Wasp and Dr. Henry Pym. ‘All right!’ Hawkeye exclaims, before the Scarlet Witch points out that they are two short on alternates. Jan tells Wanda that they can remedy that later, as she announces that the reserve members are the Original Human Torch, Quicksilver, Mockingbird, Machine Man and USAgent.

Janet pauses before remarking to Hank ‘Maybe we should’ve told them before the voting’, to which Hank agrees, before announcing to their teammates that last night, he and Janet decided to resign as active Avengers, at least for a while. ‘You’re kidding!’ Wonder Man exclaims, to which the Wasp tells him that they will stay with the team until things fall into place, but that they would then prefer to switch to alternate status. ‘Well, ain’t that a kick in the head! Guess there’s still hope for you, huh, Agent? Now if only Pietro, the Torch, Bobbi, and some robot up North all buy the farm - you might just get to be a real Avenger yet!’ Hawkeye jibes.

‘That’s it!’ Walker shouts as she stands up suddenly, declaring that he has had it with this bull. Wonder Man tells Agent that he is out of line, while Hawkeye remarks ‘We lost more table tops that way’. Wanda tells her friend to stop baiting USAgent, and Tigra agrees, telling Clint that he is just making it worse. Wonder Man and Iron Man both grab USAgent in an attempt to hold him back. Simon tells Walker to get a hold of himself, while Iron Man reminds him that he is still an alternate. ‘So maybe one of these days, when you’ve cleaned up your act -’ Iron Man begins, to which USAgent interrupts him: ‘“Alternate”?’ he shouts. ‘You can shove “alternate” I’m out of this gang of losers - as of now!’. Storming out of the conference room, Walker calls the Avengers West “deadheads” and tells them that if they were too stupid to vote for a real patriot when they had the chance, he is not going to wait around for the phone to ring. ‘Don’t call me - and I won’t call you!’. The door slams, and Hank breaks the silence in the conference room by asking if anyone wants to vote on a chairman today. With no responses, he replies ‘No, I didn’t think so’ before announcing that the meeting is adjourned….

Right now, the heroics USAgent and Hawkeye move closer and closer to the edge off the cliff, with Walker shouting ‘All right, bow-slinger - so your battle armor’s strong enough to have withstood your own blast arrows - just barely’, before asking what they can do now. Hawkeye reaches for another arrow, replying that they keep at it until a stretcher is brought for one of them - or maybe both of them. Walker tells Clint not to be a fool. ‘You know enough about my past to know which of us will win, if we keep at it!’ he adds. ‘I do, huh?’ Clint replies, to which Walker tells him ‘Whatever you may say, you know I’m not just another Captain America clone!’ Walker adds that the Power Broker, who sold him his super-human strength, saw to that.

‘Hope you can still get your money back!’ Hawkeye retorts. ‘Look, you ignorant ex-carny hustler! I can press ten tons -which ought to give you some idea of what my fist will do to your face, the first time I really connect!’ Walker shouts back, annoyed. Walker admits that he should have thought about that before he called Clint out here tonight, but that Clint got under his skin. ‘I may hate your guts, like you hate mine - but I’m no sadist’ Johnny declares, telling Hawkeye to save himself several years under a plastic surgeon’s knife and walk away - right now.

‘You’ve said your piece? Okay, then I’ll say mine!’. Hawkeye remarks that USAgent keeps yapping about Captain America, and admits that Steve Rogers might not be able to juggle elephants, ‘But he’s still worth a hundred of you!’. Hawkeye tells Walker that he understand shim, because he used to be a lot like him. ‘Who knows? Maybe, deep down, I still am’. Clint reminds Walker that they both started out as bad seeds, but that at least he was honest about it. ‘I didn’t hire a bunch of “Bold Urban Commands” I could beat up on just to make me look good!’ Clint points out, telling Walker that he has been a louse right from the start, and therefore he will not waste another arrow on him.

‘Good! You can believe anything you want, long as you keep out of my -’ Walker begins to reply, until Hawkeye interrupts, telling Walker that he still doesn’t get it. ‘I didn’t say we were calling it off!’ Clint exclaims as he takes off his pack of arrows, and removes his protective gloves. ‘But from here on - it’s one-on-one!’ Clint exclaims as he removes his battle-armor helmet. Walker tosses his shield to the ground, ‘Okay, archer - I warned you!’ he exclaims as they run towards each other. ‘If you insist on committing suicide - who am I to stand in your way?’ Johnny asks as he flips Hawkeye over….

Earlier though, once the Avengers West, Quicksilver and Mockingbird had left the conference room, they mill about the grounds, where Quicksilver whispers to Iron Man and Tigra that he asked his sister not to vote for him, but that she did it all the same. Bobbi follows Hawkeye, telling him that he didn’t acknowledge her thanks back inside. ‘Are you serious, Bobbi? You think I voted for you?’ Clint asks. ‘You mean you didn’t?’ Mockingbird asks, surprised. A solemn Clint tells Mockingbird that the last thing in the world he wants is his estranged wife sitting across from him at every meeting. ‘I mean, I still love you an all - but get real!’

This causes Bobbi to turn from Clint, telling him to get stuffed, before asking him if he has got her phone number in Detroit. ‘Yeah, sure…’ Clint replies, to which Bobbi shouts ‘Well, lose it!’. Watching her leave, Clint calls out to her, before deciding not to, while USAgent approaches him, also watching Mockingbird, Walker tells Clint that he really has a way with the ladies. ‘And you’ve got big ears, Agent. What do you want?’ Clint snaps back. Walker tells Hawkeye that he thinks it is time the two of them settled this thing once and for all - in private. ‘First thing we’ve agreed on tonight. Half an hour - near Portugese Bend?’ Clint replies. ‘You got it. Thirty minutes!’ USAgent replies as he and Hawkeye march off in separate directions.

Wonder Man and the Scarlet Witch walk side-by-side, and Simon tells Wanda that he should have told her earlier, but he has booked them a table at Spago’s. ‘You can wear your costume, or -’ he begins, before Wanda interrupts him, telling Simon that she is sorry, and has been meaning to tell him, but that she doesn’t think they should date anymore. ‘Huh? Why not? I thought we -’ Simon begins, but Wanda tells him that she likes him very much, as a friend, and doesn’t think she could have got through all that has happened without that friendship.

‘But I’m afraid I don’t feel -’ Wanda begin, but Simon tells her that she doesn’t have to say anything else, as he gets the picture. ‘Now that the bandages are coming off, exit Wonder Man, stage left!’ Simon exclaims, pulling away from Wanda, who tells him that she doesn’t want to hurt him. ‘Don’t worry about me. Simon Williams won’t exactly be lonely!’ Simon snaps as he takes off into the darkening sky.

While USAgent gets onto his motorcycle, Wasp and Hank Pym approach their long-time friend and teammate, Wanda, and remark that she looks down, before asking if there is anything they can do. Wanda replies that they are doing it - just by existing. ‘Care to elaborate?’ Hank asks, to which the Scarlet Witch replies that after her talk with Simon, and after the way Bobbi left the Compound, the two of them are the only proof she has that any romantic relationships can work out for people like them.

Hank turns to Jan and remarks that it looks like their joint announcement earlier has given Wanda the wrong idea. ‘So it would seem’ Janet agrees, while a confused Wanda asks them what they mean. Hank explains that they are not looking to leave the Avengers West because they have renewed their romance. ‘Just the opposite, really’, Jan adds, before telling Wanda that she and Hank took stock and decided they like each other as much as they ever did, maybe even more, but that romance, let alone re-marrying, just is not on the cards - so they are going their separate ways. The Wasp reveals that she is planning to travel, and to eventually move back East, while Hank smiles as he explains that he is going back to his first love - full-time research….

Right now, USAgent searches through some shrubs in the direction of where he threw Hawkeye. ‘Okay, arrow-head - now who’s hiding in the shrubbery?’ Walker asks, when suddenly, Hawkeye leaps from the bushes, and karate-kicks Walker in the face. ‘You think you’re such a hot spit - ‘cause you got a good deal - at super powers sale - and hired that Taskmaster creep to teach you how to fight!’ Hawkeye exclaims as he punches Walker repeatedly in the face, adding ‘Some of us were fighting the bad guys, while you were running around barefoot all over Custer’s Grove, California!’. Hawkeye’s next punch however, gets stopped, as Walker grabs Clint’s fist and exclaims ‘In case nobody ever told you before, fella - you’ve been fighting out of your league all these years - and it’s high time somebody straightened you out!’. With that, USAgent throws Hawkeye off the Palos Verdes Cliffs.

As he free-falls towards the beach below, Clint realizes that there is about a hundred foot drop, and opens up a compartment on his armor harness, where he keeps a few spare arrowheads, like the grappling hook one, which he throws towards a tree sticking out the side of the cliff. The grappling hook takes hold of the tree, and Clint hangs onto the rope, relieved that at least that part of his worries is over - before, suddenly, the tree breaks under Clint’s weight, and Clint plummets to the beach, where he lands, hard. ‘Oh, my God!’ USAgent calls out as he sees this happen.

Walker proceeds to slide down the Cliffside with ease, calling out to Hawkeye, he asks him if he is all right. ‘Much as I despise you, I didn’t mean to…I mean, I didn’t realize there was such a steep drop off right there!’ Walker claims. Kneeling beside Clint’s unmoving body, Walker remarks that he thought there would be more of a ledge, when Clint suddenly rises, ‘Hey! Thank the Lord you’re -’ Walker begins, when a weary Clint spins around, and replies ‘Agent…shut-up!’ as he smacks Walker in the face. ‘You don’t even know when you get lucky, do you, Barton?’ USAgent replies as he smacks Hawkeye back, the two stumbling at water’s edge.

‘You don’t even know when you’re licked!’ USAgent exclaims as Hawkeye falls over in the water. USAgent steps into the water and walks over to Clint, ‘Why don’t you just -’ Walker begins, but Hawkeye interrupts, ‘Why don’t you just got sit on it?’ Clint exclaims, to which Walker declares that he has had enough of the archer, and smacks him in the face once more. Blood pours from Clint’s mouth as his head reels back, and Johnny adds that he has also had enough of Clint’s holier-than-thou Avenger buddies. USAgent begins to pummel Clint, punching him over and over, and exclaims that Hawkeye has been against him ever since he joined the team. ‘And I’m good and sick of it, do you hear me?’

‘GOOD AND SICK!’ Walker booms as he punches Clint in the side of the head, causing Clint to fall face-down in the shallow water. Walker holds onto Clint and tells him that he ought to thank him for pulling his punches right now, for if he hadn’t, he would have broken so many bones, nobody would have been able to tell Clint from one of those jellyfish in the sea. Walker holds Clint up, ‘Well, Barton?’ he asks. ‘What do you say?’. Clint looks at Walker through half-closed eyes, and a badly bruised face, while water drips from him. ‘Had enough…Agent? Or do I have to get rough…?’ Clint asks, as he reaches up and punches Walker in the jaw. ‘You son of a -!’ Johnny exclaims, punching Clint back over into the water.

‘You just had to get the last word in, didn’t you?’ Walker remarks. ‘Well, you’ve got guts, I’ll give you that’ Johnny adds as he stands over Clint’s body, floating in the tide. ‘Too much guts for me to let you float around out here in the surf and maybe drown’ Johnny decides, as he drags Hawkeye back to shore, remarking that Clint can lie around on the beach and lick his wounds. ‘Me, I’ve got other fish to -’ Walker begins, when suddenly, a blast of energy is fired down to the beach, and knocks him back. ’Hey! That was close!’

USAgent looks up and sees Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Wasp, Hank Pym, Tigra and Quicksilver making their way towards him. Iron Man warns USAgent that his next repulsor ray will be a lot closer. ’The whole gang, huh?’ Walker mutters, adding that he should have known they would show up. ‘What did he do - leave you a trail of breadcrumbs’ Walker asks, to which Tigra replies that no one had to draw a picture for them to figure out what he had in mind. ‘If you’re so smart, then you should have known enough to keep your noble noses out!’ Walker snaps back, adding that this was strictly between he and Hawkeye.

‘That’s where you’re wrong, friend’ Hank exclaims, while the Wasp declares that this is their business, Avengers business. The Wasp exclaims that when Hawkeye regains consciousness, he will find himself on probation, and if he doesn’t like it, he can lump it. ‘And you can pretty much forget about ever being an Avenger again - even if you decide you want to!’ the Wasp exclaims, pointing her finger at Johnny, who sarcastically replies ‘You’re breaking my heart’, before asking his former teammates if they have all had their say. ‘All but me’ Iron Man remarks as he steps forward.

Iron Man remarks that since he rejoined after USAgent was placed on the team, he thinks he is in a position to say the team gave him every break they could. Iron Man admits that Hawkeye can be a hothead, but that at least he earned his right to be an Avenger years ago. ‘What did you ever earn, Agent?’ Iron Man asks, before assuring him that nobody here denies his courage, but that he bought his super powers, and then got himself force-fed down their craw. Iron Man points out that this is a team, and that USAgent has been a grandmaster, and a troublemaker ever since he came aboard. ‘Maybe, if we were convinced you could change, that you’d ever become a real part of the team, instead of a loose cannon…’.

‘What do you, say, Agent?’ Iron Man asks. ‘Does anything of what I just said make any sense to you?’. ‘YOU CAN ALL GO TO BLAZES!’ Johnny shouts as he storms off away from his former teammates. ‘Make that: three short on alternates!’ Hank Pym mutters, before asking the Scarlet Witch how Hawkeye is. Tending to her friend, Wanda replies that she doesn’t think anything is broken, while Tigra asks Clint to let them help him up. ‘No…I can stand…on my own two feet…!’ Clint exclaims as he stumbles up, asking ‘Where’s that lousy…?’. Hank informs Clint that USAgent has gone, and asks if he is going to let him go in peace. ‘Yeah… okay. I guess… I made enough of an idiot of myself… for one night’ Clint replies.

Tigra watches USAgent leave and remarks that it was not a very auspicious new beginning for the team, to which a concerned Scarlet Witch announces that what worries her is USAgent. ‘I pray that being bounced doesn’t turn him against more than just the Avengers West. Men like him live close to the edge - and if he ever turned bad - it would take every ounce of power we could muster to stop him!’

Meanwhile… Los Angeles Harbor, now the busiest harbor on the planet. Here to Long Beach, as to nearby San Pedro, freighters from all along the so-called Pacific Rim bring their previous loads by day and night. Most shipments are now housed in huge metal containers, and off-loaded by mammoth metal cranes. However, a few cargos make their way ashore by more down-to-earth means…like being stolen, such as a certain trunk, which is off-loaded by a man clad in a trench coat, moving through the shadows.

The man hides round a corner as a group of men board the freighter and call out to the captain, announcing that they are from US Customs, they show him their identification and ask if they can come on board. The Customs official explains that they are looking for something in particular and they have word that it might have been smuggled on this ship, unbeknownst to the captain, who tells the Customs officials to give his ship the once over if they have to, but that he doubts they will find what they are looking for on board.

‘The captain is correct, is he not - Jawbreaker!?’ a voice suddenly calls out to the main whole stole that item off the freighter only moments ago. Jawbreaker stops in his tracks, ‘Taifu!’ he exclaims, asking the new arrival what he is doing here. ‘Don’t you know?’ Taifu asks, calling Jawbreaker a fool as he reveals that he has come to relieve him of that heavy box. ‘So - the Doc was right! He said you couldn’t be trusted!’ Jawbreaker exclaims, before telling Taifu that if he wants the trunk, then to take it, as he throws it at him. ‘Most gladly!’ Taifu replies, before remarking that his countrymen feel it an affront to accept a gift without giving something in return, he will show Jawbreaker why he is called Typhoon, and from his billowing sleeves, a large gush of wind knocks Jawbreaker back against a wall.

Suddenly, Typhoon spins around when he hears the boards on a crate creek. ‘I thought I heard someone… but I see no one!’ he exclaims as he approaches the trunk, ready to pick it up, only to be smacked over by an invisible being who exclaims ‘Because I did not want you to!’. Jawbreaker witnesses this, and as Typhoon lays motionless in front of him, he calls out ‘Who’s there? Speak up, or so help me, I’ll tear this whole dock apart till I get you!’. The invisible opponent replies ‘That is precisely what you would have to do to find me, Jawbreaker-san. But I do not be afraid. I was sent to meet you - by the Doctor!’

‘Yeah? Then let me see you!’ Jawbreaker calls out, asking ‘Who are you?’. The invisible figure comes into view, a woman clad in black, introduces herself as Kuroko, “the Black One”. ‘Black? You’re freakin invisible!’ Jawbreaker exclaims, to which Kuroko remarks that it is clear Jawbreaker knows no Japanese, explaining to him that in theater, “Kuroko” is the stage attendant who calmly shifts scenery in the midst of dramatic action. ‘By common consent, the audience does not see him - or her!’. Kuroko asks Jawbreaker to collect the trunk and Taifu as well, for the Doctor is waiting for them. ‘Sure thing, sister’ Jawbreaker replies as he picks both Taifu and the trunk up, remarking that he is sorry she didn’t give him a chance to show Typhoon why the Doc called him “Jawbreaker”. Kuroko replies that she is certain he will get that opportunity, and points out that, all that matters is that what is within that trunk, will soon make them masters - first of the Pacific Rim, and one day, all of the world!….

Characters Involved: 

Dr. Hank Pym, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Tigra, USAgent, Wasp, Wonder Man (all Avengers West Coast)

Mockingbird (former member of Avengers West Coast)


Kuroko, Jawbreaker, Typhoon (all Pacific Overlords)

US Customs Officials
Captain of freighter

On Recording:
Black Widow, Captain America, Quasar, Thor (all Avengers)

General Lewis Hayworth (member of the Commission on Superhuman Activities)

Story Notes: 

Hawkeye was transformed into an Androne in Avengers West Coast #67.

USAgent was placed on the team, by the government, in West Coast Avengers (2nd series) #44.

The seven regular member system came into force in Avengers (1st series) #329.

Hawkeye and Mockingbird joined the Great Lakes Avengers in West Coast Avengers (1st series) #46. Hawkeye returned to the Avengers West in Avengers West Coast #59.

A coloring error on page 9 has Hawkeye’s entire face colored in purple, like his mask.

As a matter of fact, it was USAgent who voted for Mockingbird, as revealed in Avengers West Coast #81, though his reasoning was more to do with the fact that he liked the way she looked as opposed to her usefulness on the team. As they eventually had more to do with each other on missions etc, Mockingbird seemed to have some affection for USAgent, but nothing was ever followed through as she got back together with Hawkeye.

Though not mentioned this issue, Firebird has been acting as a reservist Avenger for some time, appearing in Avengers Spotlight #27, and back-up stories in Avengers West Coast Annual #4-5.

In Avengers West Coast #74, the roster changes again, with Tigra, the Wasp and Hank Pym all bowing out of the team, which moves USAgent back up to full-time member, and allowing Spider-Woman II and Living Lightning to join the team.

USAgent gained his powers from the Power Broker as seen in Captain America (1st series) #323.

The Bold Urban Commandos (“Buckies”), were Lemar Hoskins (who went on to be Walker’s side kick Bucky (when Walker became Captain America) and later took the name Battlestar), as well as Jerome Johnson and Hector Lennox, and they were paid to make Walker look good in the classic Captain America (1st series) #333, the issue in which Walker took over from Captain America.

Wonder Man and the Scarlet Witch continue to be dear friends, and after his untimely death in Force Works #1, the Scarlet Witch some years later manages to resurrect him out of his love for her in Avengers (3rd series) #11. The begin dating soon after, but break it off in Avengers (3rd series) #41, though remain close friends afterwards.

Iron Man returned to the Avengers West in Avengers West Coast #51, and rejoined the team in #53.

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