Wednesday, April 27, 2005

THE WEST COAST AVENGERS #27 Marvel Comics, 1987

I actually have two copies of this hilarious comic book; one that I bought at full price and one that I got from scrounging in the quarter bins at the old Comics Dungeon in Seattle under the watchful eye of the crazy old Jack Elam-looking owner. I had to get this comic because look! -somebody defaced the cover with adolescent word ballons! Admit it, it's funny when superheroes swear.

There's another thing that's funny about West Coast Avengers #27 - the whole damn thing! This is hands-down one of the goofiest comic books I own. It's a ridiculously retro funny book from writer Steve Englehart, with layouts by Al Milgrom and finished art (and I use the term loosely) by Mike Machlan. It's a throwback to an earlier age, when comic books were intentionally stupid. You know what I'm talking about. This comic is just dumb. I mean that nicely; just because it's dumb doesn't mean I can't like it.

Here's the story: Hawkeye gets jumped by the Zodiac and replaced by an L.M.D. (Life Model Decoy) imposter. Mockingbird is grappling with a terrible secret - she killed some guy or something. Tigra and Moon Knight flirt in the woods. When the fake Hawkeye acts out of character, Mockingbird figures out the LMD is a fake, and she and Tigra beat the shit out of it. Little do the Avengers know - Tigra has been replaced by and LMD!

That doesn't sound so bad, does it? Ah, but it's all in the execution, or lack thereof.

Here's the first page of the book - from page one you know you're in trouble! Hawkeye walks down a road in LegoTown USA, being stalked by a dozen brightly colored supervillains that he fails to notice. His name is Hawkeye for God's sake. Maybe he's been drinking, I don't know.

Wait a second. They busted up the villains' cattle auction? That must have been a gripping yarn. What kind of low-rent bad guys do the West Coast Avengers have to fight, anyway? Next issue they'll go after bologna smugglers or those people that sell purebred puppies in WalMart parking lots. I mean, the regular Avengers fight Kang.

Hawkeye is replaced by Sagittarius, a robot imposter! He infiltrates the West Coast Avengers compound, but he's acting a little strange. For instance, he turns Mockingbird down when she offers to give him a "massage," which leads us to this panel:

"Sure!" Hank's down with whatever.

We take a side-trip into Subplot Land and catch up with Moon Knight and Tigra, who are both out roaming around in the woods at night because "once the moon gets into your blood, you have to love it!"

Wait, I thought Virginia was for lovers. Now I'm confused.

Note to writers: when writing a mystic nocturnal warrior, try to avoid having him yell "Good grief!" It's not very butch.

There you have it, folks: West Coast Avengers #27. Goofy as hell - and I think the world is a little bit better off because of it.


Shane Bailey said...

Damn it man! Stop making me want to dig through all of my back issues and search for these stories. It's hard work moving all those boxes around over and over again.

Johnny B said...

I have several of these goofy comics, in fact, I bought it regularly back then because, like you say, they were just Big Dumb Fun. They even gave Daimon Hellstorm one of the worst costumes and weapons in the history of ever, and I didn't mind. I was actually kinda sorry when Englehart and Milgrom stopped doing these.

N said...

In all honesty? this was the comic book run that made me sewar off all comics for about five years. I eventually came back, but i'm still Marvel-free.

joe shakespeare said...

i am both heartened and dismayed by the "gems" that our respective longboxes share...

fantastic blog, by the way. keep the memories flowing!

Woody! said...

To be fair to that opening page, if I remember right, there's some kind of goofy caption that says, "Hey, kids! See if you can spot all the Zodiac sign baddies" or something like that. So, while it looks pretty obvious, I think it was done tongue and cheek.

Dang it, Dave. Stop making me defend my childhood comics! You see, it's all about context.

Anonymous said...

I fucking loved this comic then, but I love it even more now. Why? That "sure!" from Hank Pym. What the fuck is that, that's awesome! That's what comic book writing's all about, man! Can't believe I never noticed it before.

What's with all the guys named Hank in Marvel comics, anyway?

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