West Coast Avengers (1st series) #4

Issue Date: 
December 1984
Story Title: 

Roger Stern (writer), Bob Hall (penciler), Brett Breeding & Peter Beardi (inkers), Joe Rosen (letterer), Ken Feduniewicz (colorist), Mark Gruenwald (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Tigra manages to locate the Shroud in the Pacific Ocean, bringing him to the surface, although he is unconscious. She activates her emergency beacon, and treads water, waiting to be rescued – thankfully, Iron Man soon arrives and flies them both to Avengers Compound, although the Blank is nowhere to be seen, and Tigra assumes that he has been washed out to sea. Once back at the Avengers Compound, Tigra relays the events that led to her being tossed into the Pacific Ocean by Graviton, and the fact that Wonder Man remains Graviton's prisoner. Hawkeye begins to relate an earlier encounter with Graviton, and tells Iron Man that he should know all this – until Iron Man removes his helmet, revealing that he is actually James Rhodes. At first Hawkeye is annoyed, feeling betrayed by this, until Rhodes points out the great work he has done with the West Coast Avengers, Hawkeye recalls a time he challenged leadership, and welcomes Rhodes serving with the team, as they, Mockingbird and Tigra begin to devise a plan to defeat Graviton and rescue Wonder Man. At Graviton's mansion, a party is in full swing. A female bartender keepsthe drinks flowing, while a knock at the door sends one of Graviton's henchmen to greet the new arrival – who happens to be Madame Masque, who along with an associate have come to speak with Graviton. As the bartender serves drinks to Graviton, Madame Masque and her associate are taken to Graviton, who is intrigued by Madame Masque, the crimelord explaining that she is proposing she and Graviton consolidate their resources within the Southern California gangs. Graviton takes Madame Masque to see Wonder Man, who he is holding under the water in his pool for demonstration purposes. Suddenly, Iron Man appears, firing repulsor rays down at Graviton, who surrounds himself and Madame Masque in a force field. During the attack, Madame Masque's associate is knocked into the bushes, while under water Wonder Man begins to stir. Inside, the bartender is revealed to be Mockinbird, as she changes into her costume, as phase two of the Avengers' plan is put in motion. Graviton and Iron Man continue to fight, before Mockingbird and Hawkeye arrive on scene. Hawkeye is easily knoced back by Graviton, towards the bushes where Madame Masque's associate is waiting – only the Hawkeye attacked by Graviton was just a dummy, the real Hawkeye was Madame Masque's associate, who grabs his bow and arrow from the dummy, as Wonder Man suddenly brings one side of the swimming pool down as he climbs from it, and knocks Graviton back against the mansion. Iron Man then grabs Madame Masque and flies away. Graviton gives chase, eventually stopping when he sees Madame Masque on the ground nearby. He drops down to speak with her, which is when Iron Man makes his presence known, connected to a nearby power station, he unleashes enhanced power against Graviton, knocking him back, but it isn't long before the cables connecting Iron Man to the power station melt away. Madame Masque rushes over to Graviton and punches him, removing her mask, she reveals herself as Tigra. Wonder Man arrives and attempts to attack Graviton, too, but Graviton surrounds himself with a force-field. Hawkeye and Mockingbird join in, with Hawkeye firing a tranquilizer arrow at Graviton, who uses his powers to disperse the gas – until he finally passes out thanks to the drugs that Mockingbird gave him in his drinks that she served him. Authorities soon arrive to take Graviton into custody, and the West Coast Avengers return to their compound where they enjoy a barbecue together. They receive a message from the Vision, who is pleased with the work that they have been doing, and the team decide to remain together on the West Coast.

Full Summary: 

The gentle tug of the rising moon brings the surf crashing in all along the California shore this evening. But here, some twenty miles out to sea, the cool waters of the Pacific are exceedingly calm – if for just a while, as the still glass-like waters are suddenly broken by Greer Grant Nelson a.k.a. Tigra, 'Air!' she gasps as she reaches the surface, pulling the mysterious Shroud up above the water with her. Tigra coughs, and tells the Shroud to take it easy as she signals her emergency beacon. 'The Avengers will come looking for us any minute now!' Tigra announces, before, calling out to the Shroud, but as her arm holds his head above the water, she gets no response from him. Tigra wonders the worst, but realizes that he is breathing, and assumes the impact of falling must have knocked him out. She wishes that Wonder Man had let her call the other Avengers earlier, that everything has happened so fast, and the sun was only just going down when they went with the Shroud to check out a new LA crime lord.

Tigra recalls that they were all fooled, at first, into thinking the Blank was running things, but he was just a flunky, working for the real boss – Graviton! Not that finding that out did them any good, as they were all pretty helpless under his gravity powers, and when the Blank got on Graviton's nerves, Graviton sent him flying out along with Tigra and the Shroud, away from their gang's mansion, and out into sea. Glancing around her, Tigra realizes she isn't sure what happened to the Blank, as they were separated on impact, and decides that it was just sheer luck that she found the Shroud. The Shroud suddenly, stirs, and Tigra tells him that it is okay, that everything is going to be all right. Tigra wishes that she could do more than just tread water and hope for the best. She knows she could try heading for land, but the Shroud may not last that long. Tigra is so tired of feeling helpless, but her thoughts are interrupted when a bright light shines down on her. 'Tigra?' a voice calls out. Iron Man shines a light from his armor down over Tigra, and asks her what she is doing out here with the Shroud, and where is Wonder Man. 'It's a long story, Iron Man!' Tigra calls back. Iron Man swoops down and picks Tigra and the Shroud up and carries them through the air, he tells Tigra that it can wait until they are both warm and dry, as the next stop is Avengers Compound.

Soon, inside the Palos Verdes Compound, Bobbi Morse-Barton a.k.a. Mockingbird announces that the Shroud is resting comfortably and that he should be fine by morning, before asking Iron Man if there is any luck finding the Blank. Iron Man reports that he went back and ran a wide sonar scan, but couldn't find a trace, so assumes that the Blank was caught in an undertow. Tigra is wrapped in a towel, and brings a hot drink to her mouth. 'Too bad...that's a nasty way for anyone to go!' Bobbi exclaims, before she asks her husband, Clint Barton a.k.a. Hawkeye, if there is still no word from Wonder Man. 'Nothing' Hawkeye replies, while Tigra declares that this is awful, and tells her teammates that they have to do something. 'The lady's right! We've cooled our heels long enough! I say we go kick Graviton where it'll do the most good!' Iron Man exclaims, slamming his fist on a table. 'Easy, Shell-Head, easy!' Hawkeye replies.

Hawkeye leans over a console in the communications center and tells his teammates that he is worried about Wonder Man as well, but that they can't just go smashing their way into Graviton's lair, as he is one of the toughest guys the Avengers ever fought. Hawkeye informs the others that the first time the Avengers went up against Graviton, he held ten Avengers at bay including Wonder Man and Thor. Hawkeye adds that he wasn't there, but reading Captain America's report made him glad he wasn't. 'But why am I telling you this? You were there! You of all people should know -' Hawkeye starts to tell Iron Man, when suddenly, Iron Man declares that he didn't know, and that it looks like he will have to spend more time going over the Avengers files. 'You see, Hawk...Iron Man may have fought Graviton, but I haven't!' Iron Man announces as he starts to remove his helmet. 'What kind of double-talk is that? Hey, what are you doing?' Hawkeye exclaims. 'Something I should've done a couple of weeks ago' Iron Man replies.

With his helmet removed, James Rhodes smiles at Hawkeye and reveals that he isn't the original Iron Man, that he replaced him a few months back when Stark became incapacitated. Mockingbird looks intrigued, while a look of shock falls across Hawkeye's face as he exclaims 'You mean to tell me that, all this time, we've been working with an amateur Iron Man?' This causes Rhodes to point at Hawkeye and tell him to hold it right there. 'I may be a rookie at this game, but I'm no amateur! Have you had any gripes with my performance on this team?' Rhodes asks. Hawkeye folds his arms and frowns: 'Until now, no! But when “Iron Man” joined this team, I thought I was getting the genuine article!' he replies. Rhodes tells Hawkeye that there is nothing phony about this. 'I didn't hear you complaining when I saved our butts during the Secret Wars!' he adds. 'That... was you?' Hawkeye asks, surprised.

'Yeah, Hawk... me! Remember how I blew the whole side of that mountain the Molecule Man dropped on us? Well, you give me a big enough power source, and I'll stomp this Graviton clown...right down into the ground!' Rhodes exclaims, standing his ground. Hawkeye smirks, as his mind wanders back to a time long ago. 'Talk about deja vu – I've played this scene dozens of times...from the other side!' he reminds himself, recalling how he stood alongside the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver and defiantly told Captain America that he will be in charge of this team someday, and then he will really see some avenging! Hawkeye tells himself that he thought he had all the answers then, and wonders how Cap put up with him. 'How about it, Hawk? We going to stand here all night, or are we going to do some avenging?' Rhodes asks. 'Don't worry, Iron Man! You'll get your chance!' Hawkeye smiles.

Hawkeye admits that he was out of line calling Rhodes an amateur, and assures him that they are going to need his power going up against Graviton, they are going to need him to be part of this team. 'You got me!' Rhodes smiles. Hawkeye announces that they will need to plan their moves very carefully, and that they have to assume Wonder Man is being held captive by Graviton, and that he may be in no shape to help with his rescue – so their first order of business is finding Wonder Man and getting him out. Hawkeye asks Mockingbird to see what maps they have on the area around the mansion that Graviton has taken over. 'Way ahead of you, lover...' Bobbi replies as she brings up a computer file full of landsat maps. 'And look here...to the north!' Bobbi exclaims. Hawkeye sees what Bobbi is looking at, and tells Iron Man that he thinks there is a way for him to go one on one with Graviton, but that they are going to have to take him by surprise. 'You're not leaving me out of this! I got a good look at the layout of the place' Tigra exclaims, asking how she can help.

Later, at Graviton's Santa Monica retreat, partygoers are enjoying their time, as two women sit at a bar inside, and one of them asks 'Uh, honestly, Cheryl, what do you think of them?' 'You mean our...host? Well...he's certainly a striking figure of a man' Cheryl, a woman with wavy dark hair replies. She admits that he gives her the creeps and she hates the way he paws at her, she would rather take a bath in a pool of slugs. 'And if you tell him I said that, I'll call you a liar to your face!' Cheryl adds. The other woman, a blonde, tells Cheryl not to worry, and that after the way he handled those super-powered party-crashers earlier, she won't put anybody on his bad side. 'Assuming he has a good side! What a bore! At least he pays well!' Cheryl adds, before a bartender asks the ladies if they want more champagne. 'Please' the blonde replies. 'And keep 'em coming' Cheryl smiles. 'Rough night, huh? Well, this will chase your cares away' the bar tender replies as she pours the champagne into champagne saucers.

Across the room, a man with red hair is talking to a woman in a white dress, when suddenly, they hear some loud thumping noises. 'What on earth is going on outside?' the woman asks. The man pulls a gun from his jacket and tells her that he doesn't know, but will check it out. 'Yo, Don... Rocco... ya got trouble out there?' the man calls out as he opens a door – only to find a gun pointed at his face. 'Naw, but I'd say you have some in here!' the person on the other side of the door holding the gun exclaims. 'What say you lower that pea-shooter?' they suggest to the man with the red hair. The red-haired man complies, as a man in a white suit and hat enters, telling him he is a smart boy. 'I know you'd want to stay healthy' he adds. 'What happened to Don and Rocco?' the red-haired man asks. 'The clowns outside? You don't wanna know!' the man in the white suit exclaims, before he turns back to the door and calls out 'I think they'll be more polite now, Big M!' 'Big M?' the red-haired man asks, as a figure with a cigarette can be seen in the doorway.  'Just one of many titles...you may call me, Madame Masque!' the mysterious masked woman declares, announcing that she wants to speak with the red-haired man's employer. 'You will conduct us to him at once!' she declares. 'Sure, whatever you say!' the red-haired man replies anxiously.

And so: 'More champagne, sir?' the bartender asks as she hands a champagne saucer to Graviton, who sits on an arm chair. The man with the red hair rushes over and whispers to Graviton that he has heard about this Madame Masque, that she is head of one of the Maggia crime families and that she has contacts all over the East Coast and Europe. 'Really?' Graviton remarks, intrigued, before he calls out to Madame Masque and welcomes her. He introduces himself and asks her what he owes the pleasure of this visit. Madame Masque extends her hand which Graviton kisses, and announces that she heard there was new talent in the area, working to consolidate the Southern California gangs. 'Talent interests me' Madame Masque adds. 'And is that your only interest?' Graviton asks. Madame Masque informs him that she also loves power, and that she is told he is quite a powerful man. 'That is quite correct!' Graviton smiles, before boasting that the fundamental forces of the cosmos are his to command. He declares that he is gravity's master and that nothing can resist his powers. 'You'd better be right. The Avengers have started  a new group on this coast, and that could mean trouble!' Madame Masque warns Graviton. 'Avengers? Did you say “Avengers”?' Graviton replies, before bursting into laughter. Madame Masque frowns as she informs Graviton that her old enemy Iron Man is part of this new team, and that his power is hardly a laughing matter.

Graviton leads Madame Masque and her henchman in the white suit outside to the swimming pool and asks her to forgive him, as he was not laughing at her. He reveals that he has dealt with some of these Avengers, and one he has kept around for demonstration purposes. Graviton stops at the pool's edge, and Madame Masque and her henchman look down into the water, where Graivton points out that the late Simon Williams, better known to them as Wonder Man, lay motionless under the surface of the water. Graviton tells Madame Masque that Wonder Man's strength was quite remarkable, but no match for his localized gravity fields, and it was a simply matter to hold him to the bottom of this pool until he ran out of air. Graviton reveals that Wonder Man has been like that for hours, but he thinks he will keep him down there at least until after dawn, as it is rumored that Wonder Man has returned from the dead once before, and he doesn't intend to allow him a second resurrection.

Graviton notices the look of shock on Madame Masque's henchman and tells the Maggia leader that something seems to be bothering her bodyguard. 'Louis!' Madame Masque shouts, before slapping him across the face, knocking Louis's hat off of his head. 'I'm sorry, Big M...it's just that...I've got a thing about drowning, ya know?' Louis replies, rubbing his face. 'Then I suggest you get over it! There's no room in the Maggia for weakness! But there's plenty of room at the bottom of the pool! Do I make myself clear?' Madame Masque asks. Graviton begins to tell Madame Masque that he impresses her. He starts to suggest something to her, when energy blasts from above rain down on them. 'What?' Graviton exclaims as the blasts slam into the pool. 'Those are repulsor rays!' Madame Masque declares, as Graviton throws a force field around himself and Madame Masque, they look up and Madam Masque sees Iron man flying towards them. 'He's found me!' she gasps. 'I'll soon make him wish he hadn't!' Graviton declares, while Iron Man calls out 'Graviton... and Madame Masque! Now, isn't this a cozy little scene? Too bad I have to break it up!'

'Think I'll start with the hired help!' Iron Man declares as he fires a repulsor ray that knocks Louis backwards into a bush. 'Big M, HALP!' Louis cries out, while Graviton's henchmen open fire at Iron Man, their bullets rebounding off of his armor. Madame Masque tells Graviton to do something, that they can't just hide behind their force-field while their men are slaughtered. 'And we won't! As you'll see... once Iron Man is in the grip of gravitic energy, it will be I who determines his flight path!' Graviton announces as he uses his control over gravity to slam Iron Man into a nearby tree, and then against his mansion. And, as the armored Avenger is flung helplessly about, at the bottom of the pool, Wonder Man's left hand begins to flex – ever so slightly!

Inside, the bar tender has ducked behind the bar, as Cheryl remarks 'What's going on out there?' and walks over to the window to have a look outside. The bar tender is no ordinary woman though – she is Mockingbird! Bobbi gets changed into her costume and thinks to herself that from the sound of things, it is time that “Bartender Bobbi” retired for the evening. Bobbi puts her mask on and contacts Hawkeye over their radio transmitter, asking him if he reads her, she suggests that they better put phase two into operation, as it sounds like Iron Man is taking a terrible pounding.

'Here is your foe, Madame Masque!' Graviton declares as he slams Iron Man to the ground outside his force field. Graviton remarks that Iron Man's armor may be a miracle of technology, but that it is powerless against intensified gravity. 'Don't...you...believe it!' Iron Man calls out. 'Still you resist? You have more nerve than sense, but I'll...I'll...' Graviton begins, when suddenly, he begins to feel lightheaded. He tells himself to shake it off, that he mustn't lose control. Under the pool water, Wonder Man's fingers suddenly dig into the pool floor. Madame Masque notices something is off with Graviton and asks him what is wrong. 'Nothing! It's nothing!' Graviton responds, boasting that he will crush the armor around Iron Man like an eggshell. Iron Man stands his ground, and moves closer to the force field, past the fallen henchman, while telling Graviton that he is talking through his hat, and that he doesn't look much better than his goon squad. 'I'd say he looks worse! Of course, I've never liked men with beards!' a voice calls out. 'Who -?' Graviton begins as he turns towards a battle stave is hurled at his force field.

Mockingbird leaps into view, thinking to herself that Graviton must have the constitution of a moose, as all the others have nodded out from the mickeys she put in their booze, but Graviton is still on his feet. 'You can call me Mockingbird!' she calls out, before asking Graviton if he has met her husband, Hawkeye. 'Another one!' Graviton utters as he looks up and sees Hawkeye on his sky-cycle, moving towards him. 'You'll not ram me with that contraption!' Graviton exclaims as he slams gravitic energy against the sky-cycle, knocking Hawkeye back into the bushes where Madame Masque's henchman, Louis, is watching. 'Whoa!' Louis thinks to himself. And, at that moment, Wonder Man grits his teeth and frowns as his fingers dig deeper into the pool floor, which begins to crack.

'You idiot! You let them distract you from Iron Man! He's the real threat!' Madame Masque exclaims as Iron Man slams his fists against Graviton's force field. 'He's finding out the hard way, lady!' Iron Man declares, while thinking to himself that it is he talking through his hat now, for even with his power at peak intensity, he just barely dented Graviton's force field. Just a few feet away at the bushes, Hawkeye lies motionless – only, it's not Hawkeye, but a stuffed dummy, as “Louis” reaches out from the bushes and thinks to himself 'That's it, Shell-Head! Keep him turned the other way until I retrieve my gear from ol' “Hawkeye”!'

While, at that moment, under ten feet of water, a man thought dead slowly, painfully, thrusts himself upright, fighting the pull of a localized field many times that of Earth's gravity. His lungs are full of water, his limbs have sunk deep into the solid concrete, and ever movement brings excruciating pain. But he does not give up, he keeps on fighting against the gravity field, until finally, he brings one side of the pool down into the water, creating a massive splash. Startled by the sudden collapse of the pool, Graviton's concentration falters, and his gravitational force field drops for just a second – but it is the second that Wonder Man needs, as he lunges up from the pool and smacks his fist into Graviton, knocking thee villain hard back toward the side of the mansion, although more by reflex than design, Graviton manages to cushion himself from most of the blow. Iron Man sees that Wonder Man is back in the game, and is pleased about that, while deciding that it is time to go to phase three of their plan, with a few improvisations, as he suddenly grabs Madame Masque and tells her that she is coming with him. 'Graviton... help!' Madame Masque cries out as she is lifted into the air.

'Come back with her!' Graviton exclaims as he starts to follow, but Wonder Man notices that Graviton is flying like a ruptured duck, and laments that his belt-jets are waterlogged. Mockingbird rushes over to him, telling him to wait. 'Wait? We have to stop Graviton!' Wonder Man exclaims. Hawkeye, still disguised as “Louis” tells Wonder Man that they will, and that phase three is just beginning. 'Phase three? What're you...Hawkeye? What's with the get=-up?' Wonder Man replies. 'Tell you later!' Hawkeye replies.

Just a few miles to the north, Graviton soars through the air, his head feels numb, but the rush of the air has helped him. He is determined to rescue Madame Masque, and doesn't want the Avengers to make him look bad in front of her. Suddenly, there is a piercing scream, and Graviton looks down to see Madame Masque near some bushes. Madame Masque calls out to him, 'Thank Heaven you've come!' she exclaims. Graviton asks her where Iron Man is, to which a voice calls out 'Right behind you!' Shocked, Graviton turns to see Iron Man, connected to cables that lead to the power station behind them. Iron Man welcomes Graviton to substation #5, and states that he is told that the entire south-western power grid feeds through here. He figures that should give him enough power to beat anybody – including Graviton. 'So, unless you've gotten smart and want to give up – you'd better make your move, sucker!' Iron Man exclaims. 'You don't frighten me! I can uproot the very earth and turn it into a deadly weapon! I'll bury you alive!' Graviton  shouts as he uses his power to raise earth from the ground and hurl it towards Iron Man.

'Bull!' Iron Man retorts as he uses repulsor rays to destroy the rocks thrown towards him. He feels the energy surging through his armor, and decides that there is no sensation that even comes close to this. 'This is what it means to be Iron Man...this is what it means to be invincible!' Rhodes thinks to himself. But, as his astounding armor can easily handle the thousands of mega-volts of electricity, the cables which link him to the substation are not so sturdy, and as the energy flow increases, their insulation begins to melt and burn away. Just as Iron Man releases his mightiest repulsor blast, the cables fuse, sending all the power of the substation arcing over his armor – and right into Graviton who is knocked backwards with furious force. Iron Man falls to the ground, grateful that the armor's insulation spared him from anything more than a mild shock, but he knows it will take a few seconds to get any of its systems functioning again. He worries that Graviton might get to his feet first.

At that moment, 'Graviton! Graviton are you all right?' Madame Masque asks as she rushes towards him. Graviton stands up and tells Madame Masque that he is a little bruised and shaken, but otherwise fine. 'You're sure?' Madame Masque asks. 'Of course, I'm sure! I -' Graviton begins, when Madame Masque suddenly punches him in the face, 'That's all I wanted to know! That was for trying to drown me and my friends!' Madame Masque exclaims, as she throws her mask off, she tells Graviton to be glad she didn't knock his head off. 'See, I'm not Madame Masque...I'm Tigra!' the feline Avenger reveals. She touches the small cat trinket around her wrist and tells Graviton that it kept him from seeing her as she really is, and the mask just completed the disguise. Tigra reaches out for the surprised Graviton, who tells her to keep away and throws a force field up between he and Tigra, who didn't think he would have enough will power left to erect another force field.

'One side, Tigra! I have a score to settle with that gent!' Wonder Man calls out as he flies towards Tigra. 'You're not the only one, Wonder! Mind if I join you?' Iron Man exclaims as he and Wonder Man begin to strike the force field. 'Not at all! I'll hit him high...you hit him low!' Wonder Man replies. But suddenly, 'No...no! Get back!' Graviton utters as he increases the intensity of his force field, and knocks Wonder Man and Iron Man backwards. He is pleased that he managed to get them away, but is having trouble concentrating. He wonders why he is having that lightheaded feeling again, almost as if he has been drugged. Graviton keels over and realizes that he must have been drugged somehow, but decides that he has beaten them anyway. He knows he needs to get his head clear and his shields back up, but suddenly, two arrows with gas trailing behind them fly above him. Mockingbird pilots Hawkeye's sky-cycle and tells her husband that he did mighty fine with that gas barrage, but that she hopes he has a few more of those tranquilizer gas arrowheads, because Graviton is still on his feet.

Graviton coughs and tells the Avengers that he won't be beaten this easily and boasts that he is still the master of gravity. It takes him just a thought to make the pathetic gas as heavy as lead. 'You see? It sinks to my feet!' he declares. Hawkeye and Mockingbird land, and begin to surround Graviton along with Iron Man, Tigra and Wonder Man. 'What's this now...only five Avengers? Hah! I've held twice as many of you at bay! You cannot escape me!' he boasts, when suddenly, his eyes begin to roll back into his head, and he collapses face-first to the ground. 'Wow, I thought he'd never fall over!' Tigra grins, while Hawkeye and Mockingbird look upward, concerned, as a helicopter shines a light down on them.


And shortly, US Marshals drag the unconscious Graviton into the back of a heavy-duty truck, while the West Coast Avengers gather around as a reporter and her camera crew move in. “Action-Line News?” Iron Man asks. 'Yes! Do you have any comments?' the reporter asks.

'Just that... we still have another important mission to finish!' Hawkeye's voice exclaims through the television as the West Coast Avengers gather around the barbecue back at their Palos Verdes Compound. 'So saying, the Avengers left their captive to be trucked away by a team of US Marshals!' the reporter announces as she looks into the camera, adding that, pending arraignment, Graviton will be held at a special federal facility near Bakersfield. 'For Action-Line News...this is Amy Lou Johnston!' “Important Mission?” Bobbi quotes her husband, who tends to the barbecue and tells her that his barbecues are very important. Tigra leans against a tree and tells everyone that she is just glad everything turned out so well. She walks over to a table where Simon and Rhodes are sitting and points out that their little undercover trick worked pretty well, but that it was a good thing she was wearing that gold mask when Graviton pointed Simon out at the bottom of the pool – otherwise, her face would have given them away. 'The way you looked...I was sure we'd lost you!' she utters. Simon reveals that a while back he learned he could get by without food, water or air – it's not what he would call living, before asking his teammates if they weren't all taking an awful risk – what if he hadn't been able to help – what if they hadn't stopped Graviton.

'Risks are part of the job' Bobbi points out. Hawkeye agrees and informs his teammates that he left word with Avengers HQ in New York that if they didn't hear from them by midnight to assume the worst! 'Which reminds me...when I called 'em back with the good news, the Vision taped a little message that he wanted me it platy the next time we were all together' Hawkeye announces, as he turns on a monitor. The Vision's face appears the monitor and his recorded message bids good evening to the West Coast Avengers. He states that he is most gratified by reports of the progress they have made in just the first few weeks since the founding of their West Coast division, and that the defeat of Graviton serves to reinforce his faith in them. 'Congratulations, Avengers, on another job well done!' the Vision smiles.

'Did you hear what he called us? Avengers! I guess we really are!' Tigra smiles. 'It certainly looks that way' Wonder Man agrees, to which Iron Man asks if there was ever any doubt. 'Once maybe... but not any more' Wonder Man remarks as he puts his hands on Tigra's shoulders' No... not any more!' Tigra agrees as she smiles at Wonder Man. Hawkeye and Mockingbird smile, too, as Hawkeye tells his teammates that is the spirit – and that East Coast or West, New York or California, it makes no difference – 'Once an Avenger, always an Avenger!'

Characters Involved: 

Hawkeye, Iron Man II, Mockingbird, Tigra, Wonder Man (all West Coast Avengers)






Cheryl and other Partygoers


Amy Lou Johnston

US Marshals

in recorded message:


In flashback images:

Captain America, Hawkeye, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch (all Avengers)

Story Notes: 

Tony Stark became incapacitated in Iron Man (1st series) #170.

Rhodes saved the Avengers in Secret Wars (1st series) #4.

The West Coast Avengers make a few appearances in other titles, next appearing in Avengers (1st series) #250, before returning in an ongoing series in October 1985. That series last 102 issues (#1-46 as West Coast Avengers (2nd series) and #47-102 as Avengers West Coast), along with eight annuals, before being replaced by the Force Works series.

The Blank doesn't appear again for many years in Amazing Spider-Man (1st series) #580.

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