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Comic Book / West Coast Avengers (2018)

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West Coast Avengers is a 2018 comic series sharing the title and basic premise of the 1985-1994 comic series of the same name, written by Kelly Thompson (who previously worked on Hawkeye: Kate Bishop) and drawn by Stefano Caselli, Daniele Di Nicuolo, and Gang Hyuk Lim. It's part of Marvel Comics' Fresh Start initiative, and ran for 10 issues from August 2018 to April 2019.

This team consists of:

  • Hawkeye II (Kate Bishop) - The one who calls everyone together, having noticed all the supervillains migrating to LA.
  • Hawkeye I (Clint Barton) - The Token Adult, and the only member of the old team to be part of the new.
  • Gwenpool (Gwen Poole) - A plucky, self-aware D-lister from an Alternate Universe trying to make a name for herself.
  • America Chavez - Inter-dimensional lesbian Latina college student, all-around powerhouse, and Kate's bestie.
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  • Kid Omega (Quentin Quire) - Angry psionic mutant and punk rocker who keeps switching sides, currently trying out heroism.
  • Fuse (Johnny Watts) - Kate's boyfriend, in way over his head. But then again, so is Kate. He can change his bodily composition to transform into any material he touches.

The basic premise is that Kate Bishop, having operated on her own in Los Angeles for a while, has noticed that the famously meta-lite city has been invaded by supervillains looking to make a name for themselves in the comparatively less competitive market. Realizing she can't do this all by herself, she enlists the help of anyone willing to join. Thankfully, she's made some friends in the past, and some heroes out there are looking to get big.

The only problem? They don't have any money. To alleviate this, they must also take part in a reality TV show where they live under the same roof. Hijinx ensue, naturally.

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West Coast Avengers contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Ascended Extra: Johnny/Fuse has made some minor appearances in Kate's series before becoming a hero here. His power set gets explained in the first issue (ability to change his body to mimic whatever material he touches) after its reveal in Hawkeye #16.
  • Ambiguously Bi:
    • Kate gets very indignant about America and Ramone dating each other, expressing an unusually high amount of distaste about her two best friends getting closer.
    • Gwen offhandedly mentions that she contemplated starting her "romantic subplot" with America. Given how she actually used the words "romantic subplot" and isn't one bit secretive about doing it to enhance her own life expectancy in the book it's hard to tell what's actual attraction and what's performance art in her case.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: Played straight and averted in Issue #5. While the amusement park that America takes Ramone to on a date is perfectly fine and friendly, the park that the WCA gets lured to is an abandoned creepy site that's really a trap laid by Madame Masque.
  • Attack Of The 50 Ft Whatever: The opening issue has a giant Tigra, and Issue #3 has B.R.O.D.O.K. adding in five extra beasts to her. They were all victims of B.R.O.D.O.K.'s company.
  • Battle Couple: Kate and Johnny are dating and fighting supervillains.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Quentin and Gwen's contrasting personalities quickly lead to arguments between the two, which become commonplace. While everyone - including the two of them - is convinced they hate each other, B.R.O.D.O.K. suggests that this is not the case. Sure enough, the sexual tension between the two eventually reaches a breaking point, and the two start making out. They immediately go back to hating each other, and the trope continues throughout the series.
  • The Big Guy: America (a Flying Brick with inter-dimensional abilities) and Quentin (a powerful Omega-level psionic mutant) are the heavy-hitters of the team.
  • Bi the Way: In the final arc, Johnny starts expressing how hot Noh-Varr is, though he initially mistakes his own feelings for jealousy for Kate. It's not until he learns Noh-Varr reciprocates his feelings that he realizes that he's bi.
  • Black Blood: In Issue #8, when Gwen cleaves through a dozen Masque minions with her katanas, all their blood is black. Gwen lampshades this, noting "this will be way less bloody than usual... probably."
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The giant Tigra, until Quentin snaps her out of it. Not that it stopped her from being angry and not willing to keep up with Quentin being a smartass.
  • Brought Down to Normal: In Issue #3, Gwen realizes that she's been rebooted, with her reality-warping powers being gone or blocked for some, as-of-yet-unknown, reason.
    • Kelly Thompson revealed on her Tumblr that had the comic continued, it would have been revealed that Gwen wasn't depowered, her abilities are just tied to how much she controls the narrative.
  • The Bus Came Back: Tigra makes a reappearance in Issue #1 after being Out of Focus in the Marvel Universe for a couple of years.
  • Brick Joke:
    • The last panel of the last issue has Kate reading a letter from "Dutch Oven", the wannabe super she dismissed back in Issue #1, boasting he's going to get the West Coast Avengers cancelled.
    • In Issue #2, America mutters about punishing Kate by sending her to "that dimension that's entirely shrimp". In Issue #10, the defeated Shifting Sun vampires are sent to the Shrimp World, which sure enough is a pink landscape full of nothing but enormous shrimp.
  • Caption Humor: Very, very present, from commenting on the main characters ("Hawkeye: Man with a plan. Or at least a lot of arrows.") to snarking on B.R.O.D.O.K.'s flashback ("Despite the presence of a misleading wrench, he did not actually build this building").
  • Continuity Nod: Part of why the original Avengers are unhappy with the WCA is the "reality show following superheroes" side, which led to the start of a certain superhero Civil War.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Johnny's piercings are made of vibranium so he can change into said material whenever necessary. He refuses to explain how he acquired them. In Issue #9 it turns out they came from his late Wakandan mother.
  • Cursed with Awesome: As the team moves to cure the women B.R.O.D.O.K. transformed into giant monsters, it turns out one of them actually prefers being a gigantic dragon-woman and asks to stay that way. She assures them that she'll be nice, won't smash buildings, and won't eat any people as she's a vegetarian.
  • Denser and Wackier: Even if the first issue was somehow rated 15+ (sharing that with two well-known R-rated characters The Punisher and Deadpool), it's lighthearted, colorful and downright crazy, starting with land sharks in Santa Monica, followed by assembling a team that is a not very savory combination of personalities and powers, and a mission to stop a giant Tigra that eventually introduces B.R.O.D.O.K., Bio-Robotic Organism Designed Overwhelmingly for Kissing. All while the heroes are being interviewed for a reality show.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Gwen and Quentin dress up as Madam Masque's goons to investigate her mansion. Unfortunadely, his pink hair tells off the guards.
  • Dumb Muscle: Johnny using his vibranium piercings to transform his body makes him Nigh Invulnerable, but it also appears to diminish his intelligence, him noting afterward that he would typically never pick petty fights with his sister like he did while transformed.
  • Escalating War: Gwen and Quentin started one. Offscreen Quentin kept leaving his wet towels in the shared bathroom; we join when Gwen dumps them in his room somehow, all 200 of them, still wet...
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: In Issue #9, Ramone fuses her body with Vibranium, joining the others to battle the vampires of Shifting Sun.
  • Evil Is Petty: How B.R.O.D.O.K. reacted to being rejected by the West Coast women? Turning them into giant monsters to destroy L.A.
  • Foreshadowing: The first few issues of the book have been tight-lipped about Gwen's powers. This reason? In Issue #3, she discovers that she lost most of them as a result of being rebooted into a new series with a new creative team.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Advanced Image Mechanics.
  • Fun T-Shirt: Quentin has a few: "Quire Happens", "Future Phoenix", "I Brake for the X-Gene", "Bring Cyclops Back", "I de-vamped Jubilee And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt", "I'm Ready For The Reboot"
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: Three girls (Hawkeye II, America, Gwenpool), three guys (Hawkeye I, Quentin, Fuse).
  • Giant Woman: Tigra has grown significantly in size when she appears in Issue #1.
    Gwen: Was she always 200 feet tall?
    Kate: No. No, she definitely was not.
    Gwen: Yeah, I feel like that would have been mentioned somewhere in the stats.
  • Got Volunteered: How Gwen got into this mess. She really just dropped by when Kate was doing the interviews to ask if she wanted to go eat something. Next thing she knew she was in the team. Not that Gwen particularly minded being on a team with other heroes since she views her very survival as tied to her popularity.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Following how the first giant woman is the Cat Girl Tigra, the monsters are animal-like (a fish monster, a flying lizard, a wasp-like beast). The exception is Kate turned into Katehawk.
  • Humongous Mecha: The villain of the opening action of Issue #5, Gridlock, can levitate cars and assembles them into an enormous mecha composed of them.
  • "I Can't Look!" Gesture: America and Johnny react like this, and wishing for Brain Bleach, to the Slap-Slap-Kiss example.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: A lighthearted example in the first issue, where Clint tries to reach out to a gigantified, angry Tigra. She flicks him away before he can continue.
  • I'm Taking Her Home with Me!: Gwen did this with all small animals the team found to date (a kitten and a baby Land Shark)... and named them Jeff.
  • In Name Only: Apart from being west coast-based, having Clint involved and starring a bunch of B-list lesser heroes, this series shares little in common with the '80s/'90s original.
  • Interspecies Romance: Johnny and Noh-Varr. The former a human mutate, the latter a Kree-Cockroach hybrid.
  • I Reject Your Reality: Quentin's assessment on Gwen's mental state, just before he starts wondering if this might be the result of her potentially having reality manipulation powers. When Gwen tells him that she can no longer use them, explaining how her powers used to work, he worries that she might actually be insane.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • In Issue #9, the penultimate issue of the run, Quentin's shirt reads "I'm Ready For The Reboot", which Gwen even points out.
    • In the last issue, the team reads that they are seemingly cancelled, just like their comic.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: The team attempts to avoid this when trapped in Madame Masque's Amusement Park of Doom, but hellfire ends up teleporting them away and forcing them to trek separately.
  • Leno Device: The team makes an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! for an interview and official announcement of their team to the nation, with Kimmel himself appearing in the comic. A variant cover art for Issue #4 references Avengers #239, the previous time Marvel's supers camoed a talk show, The Late Show with David Letterman.
  • Magic Pants: Johnny's clothes normally don't change when he transforms into stone or metal, but they suddenly do in Issue #6 when he turns himself into water.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Quentin is a deep believer in the "fry their brain and done" strategy, to the great dismay of everybody else, especially Clint and Kate when he offers this as a solution to the giant Tigra.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Kate's assessment in Issue #6: "I can't leave. My friends — well, my friends and Quire — are still there."
    • Many times, the team is referred to as "a bunch of kids... and Barton." by bystanders or super villains.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted since both Hawkeyes are on the team. This is even lampshaded by the narration on Clint in the opening pages.
    Narration: Generously shares a codename with Kate Bishop. Yes, it's confusing.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise:
    • The team eventually comes to accept B.R.O.D.O.K. is a really poor attempt at M.O.D.O.K. to disguise itself.
    • Madame Masque's "disguise" to lure the team to her trap consisted of simply calling Clint over the phone and pretending to be the mayor. Apparently, she didn't even bother to change her voice.
  • Portal Cut: M.O.D.O.K's power suppression device is so strong that America can't keep her portals open for more than a second. She takes advantage of this by using them to slice apart Satanna's Hellfire hounds.
  • Reality Warper: Quentin assumes that Gwen is this on some level. When pushed about it, Gwen confirms to him that she used to be this, being able to manipulate space-time to her will by playing the panels of the comic itself. But her powers haven't worked since being rebooted into this series.
  • Recycled Premise: Los Angeles is being invaded by supervillains due to the Evil Power Vacuum of a city that's usually devoid of supers, and our team of heroes band together to defend others from it. That sounds a lot like the premise of the second arc of Runaways.
  • Red Sock Ruins the Laundry: When Noh-Varr joins the team, he has no civilian clothes and is left to wear Quentin's extras, including the "I De-Vamped Jubilee" shirt that is too small for him and is now pink from being washed with red clothes.
  • Rescue Romance: Issue #4 introduces a relationship budding between America and Ramone, a.k.a. Kate's next-door neighbor and Johnny's sister, after America saves her from collapsing rubble.
  • The Slacker: Quentin according to the TV crew. His reason for joining the team is so he can get paid for the TV show (which he agreed to way before the comic even starts) while doing the absolute bare minimum.
  • Sequel Hook: Issue #4 ends with the WCA's official announcement on Jimmy Kimmel Live! being viewed by a number of villains, including the Hawkeyes's recurring nemesis Madame Masque.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: Like Johnny, Ramone also has the power to transform her body into elements she touches. She believes the effect is permanent, and she only reneges to fusing herself with Vibranium in the last arc when her girlfriend America is in mortal danger. Ultimately it turns out the effects are less severe than she feared. While the Vibranium she absorbed is permanently tied to her body, she can extrude most of it in the form of Combat Tentacles that it re-exposes her real body.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Quentin/Gwen tend to end their shouting matches by making out. Gwen later details she's going along for being Genre Savvy, feeling a romance would make less of a supporting character and thus more able to not be killed off.
  • Spiritual Successor:
    • A team consisting primarily of younger superheroes who get their funds from reality television. Sounds oddly familiar. Let's hope it doesn't lead to a Civil War like last time.
    • Also to the Gillen/McKelvie Young Avengers, with two of the same core team members (America Chavez and Kate Bishop) and a similar focus on teen heroes and flattering depiction of youth culture. Nor-Varr/Marvel Boy comes in #6, and an ending joke with Kate in #10 ("Is no one I've dated straight?") resembles an ending joke ("Am I the only one on this team who's straight?") in YA #15.
  • Stealth Sequel: In addition to carrying the name of the classic West Coast Avengers, it could also be seen as a continuation of Hawkeye: Kate Bishop (picking up where that series left off, and Kate is the overall main character).
  • String Theory: Noh-Varr does such a board in #Issue 8 the day after helping break Kate free.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Towards the end of the final issue, Fuse and Noh-Varr both express an attraction towards each other.
  • Superhero Speciation: Averted; there are two archers, sharing the same codename no less!
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage: Kate's search for more members in the first issue. It includes Dutch Oven, Silver Snowboarder ("Maybe Los Angeles is not the best place for you?"), Wolver-Mean ("your claws are steak knives attached with rubber bands!"), and Dark Paladin, which is soon rejected for being too dark.
  • Thing-O-Meter: Quentin judges psychically the powers of the team when he first appears and he gets: Unknown power (Gwen), No power (Kate), Too inexperienced (Johnny), No power (Clint), and Decent (America).
  • Threatening Shark: The first issue sees Santa Monica attacked by humanoid land sharks.
  • Token Adult: Hawkeye I is the only full-grown adult on the team, the rest being younger heroes.
  • We Can Rule Together: M.O.D.O.K. to Quentin, who thinks it's a great idea but still rejects the offer.
  • West Coast Team: It's in the name, though they aren't considered an "official" branch of the Avengers. The group is not being funded directly by them (hence the reality show angle) and Kate receives a call from a Captain America furious about her unauthorized formation of the team.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Mikka, Ramone's girlfriend in Hawkeye: Kate Bishop, makes a brief cameo in Issue #1 and then is never seen again, apparently to move her out of the way for Ramone's following relationship with America.
  • Working-Class Hero: None of them have much money at the moment, and thus must raise it through participating in a reality TV show.
  • World of Snark: The heroes, specially Kate, Quentin, and America, are constantly throwing shade at each other.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: In Issue #8, Noh-Varr is certain that the Temple of the Shifting Sun is secretly a front for Skrulls. It's actually a front for vampires.
  • You Meddling Kids: Part of M.O.D.O.K.'s last words just before giant hawk-Kate throws him to orbit. Oh, and he amends the general sentence with "and Clint Barton Hawkeye" because Clint can't get any respect.

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