The Vision proposed to make this new group in Avengers #243 to expand the Avengers influence over the country, and made Hawkeye the leader. The other initial members were Mockingbird, Wonder Man, Tigra, and the second Iron Man (James Rhodes).
The team debuted in a four-issue 1984 miniseries by Roger Stern and Bob Hall. The original plan was for the West Coast team to appear from time to time in the main Avengers book so Stern could keep the characters close when he needed them. They were also part of the supporting cast in Iron Man issues of this period. But one year later, Marvel decided to give the team its own unlimited series. It debuted in 1985 with Steve Englehart and Al Milgrom as the first creative team, and lasted until 1994. With issue 47, the title was changed to Avengers West Coast.
Tony Stark was already back as Iron Man when the series debuted, so he replaced Rhodey on the team. The team roster changed a lot over the series, including but not limited to Henry Pym, Moon Knight, the Scarlet Witch, U.S.Agent, the Wasp, the second Spider-Woman, and even the Golden Age Human Torch.
The team was dissolved after the death of Mockingbird.
Twenty-four years later, the team was relaunched with a new lineup consisting of Kate Bishop, Gwenpool, America Chavez, Quentin Quire, and a new character named Fuse, along with Hawkeye joining as the lone carryover. For tropes focusing on that series, see West Coast Avengers (2018).
West Coast Avengers contains examples of:
- Aborted Arc: John Byrne quit the book in the middle of an arc where the Scarlet Witch had turned evil and was teaming up with Magneto to help mutants take over the world. There was also the matter of Immortus wiping out divergent realities. Roy and Dann Thomas quickly wrapped up as much of it as they could and ignored the rest, quickly moving to a new status quo.
- Always Someone Better: When Hawkeye became Goliath, he had to fight Erik Josten, who went by Power Man at the time. He later takes the Goliath name. When he fights Clint again in this series, he can become bigger than him, and is still way stronger than him (he was already super-powerful at normal size).
- After this series ended, the two would eventually become teammates as part of the Thunderbolts.
- Amusement Park of Doom: Captain America and Human Torch get lured in one of these in a fill-in issue, as part of a kid's plan to steal Cap's shield for a school project. They have to fight wax statues of many other heroes.
- Battle Couple: Hawkeye and Mockingbird. They got married in no time. Also Vision and the Scarlet Witch, until Vision got dismantled and eventually went back East.
- The Blank: The miniseries featured a villain who actually called himself "The Blank" (picking it up from a bystander in the bank he was robbing at the time), a petty thief with nothing but a pistol and a stolen force field belt that made him bulletproof, hard to grab, and made his entire body look like a light gray silhouette when active. After escaping the team in their first encounter he entirely sensibly decided that he was badly outclassed against "real" superheroes and should leave town ASAP unfortunately for him other events prevented that, leading to his eventual apparent Disney Villain Death.
- Combination Attack: In the Immortus arc, Hawkeye fires an arrow at the same time U.S.Agent throws his shield, both targeting Immortus.
- Divorce Is Temporary: Mockingbird tried to get divorced from Hawkeye, but they got together again.
- Double Standard: Rape, Sci-Fi: The "Lost in Space-Time" arc is one of the first mainstream superhero stories to avert this trope. The Phantom Rider uses a magical Love Potion to make Mockingbird into his mistress, and after she comes back to her senses, it's explicitly acknowledged that he raped her.
- Driven to Suicide: Alone in the headquarters while the others are busy in the "Lost in Space-Time" arc, Hank Pym very nearly kills himself thinking his lack of actual superpowers would only make him useless. (His body couldn't take the strain of changing size anymore in this period) Firebird showed up just in time to talk him out of it and even helped him get a new Science Hero identity.
- Fake Defector: Quicksilver is this for the Avengers when he pretends to follow Magneto and the temporarily insane Scarlet Witch in their plans. He soon gets discovered, mostly because he did everything he could to avoid harming the Avengers.
- Good Twin: Ultron Mark 12, or "Mark" as he called himself, was the only version of Ultron who grew past his Oedipus Complex, gave up being a villain, and actually tried to get closer to Hank. Unfortunately, a recently restored Ultron-11 found and killed him in front of Hank.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: The fifth Lethal Legion, four spirits taken from Hell by Satannish. They are Axe of Violence, Cyana, Zyklon and Cold Steel (who wanted the name "Man of Steel", but unfortunately it was already taken). As the story advances, we are informed that those villains were actually Lizzie Borden, Lucrezia Borgia, Heinrich Himmler and Joseph Stalin, turned into supervillains (or, more exactly, receiving superpowers). No Commie Nazis: Zyklon and Cold Steel tried to kill each other on sight; they only worked toguether because Satanish forces them to. No afterlife for them, not even in hell: they ceased to exist during the fight of Satannish and Mephisto.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Agatha Harkness removes Wanda's memories of her children after it is discovered they don't really exist, because the trauma is too much for her to handle.
- Lightning/Fire Juxtaposition: The Living Lightning fights Human Torch in his introduction and his powers make him a dangerous counterpart of the Golden Age hero. At the same time, he's shown as a foil: he's younger, originally a human and the son of a revolutionary, while Torch is an older android who often worked for the government.
- Mirrored Confrontation Shot: West Coast Avengers 96◊.
- Proscenium Reveal: The first time we see him, Simon Williams is chasing a thief, and his car is blown to pieces by a grenade. He was actually working as a stunt double for a film. But the grenade and the explosion were real, he can simply take the damage with no problem.
- Put on a Bus: Iron Man is kicked out from the team because of his reputation as a traitor after the Armor Wars storyline. He doesn't return until he solved the problem, almost 20 issues later.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: This is Hawkeye's reaction to the government's decision of making U.S.Agent the new leader of the team. Mockingbird follows him.
- Sexy Cat Person: Tigra, a furry half-feline heroine in a bikini with definite animal instincts.
- Soap Wheel: John Byrne's run uses this to build up suspense (until it gets cut short, at least). During the "Vision Disassembled" arc hints are dropped about the Great Lakes Avengers. When the GLA take the main stage, you start seeing subplots about the Scarlet Witch's potential abduction. During all of this, the Witch's "imaginary children" plotline is given a few panels each issue.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork:
- Wonder Man became increasingly self-centered and annoying around the time of the "Lost in Time-Space" arc, competing with Iron Man about everything. They couldn't stand each other but still managed to reluctantly work together. Simon eventually went back to his usual much nicer self not too long after this arc.
- When Hawkeye returned to the team, he still couldn't stand U.S.Agent. The dislike was mutual and they were prone to fighting each other. They still work together pretty well when the situation calls for it.
- Trauma Conga Line: Poor Wanda. As soon as John Byrne's run starts, her synthezoid husband the Vision is dismantled and his personality erased, effectively ending her marriage. All while she was kidnapped by a secret society trying to use her to create a race of super-mutants. Then her children are revealed to be nothing more than pieces of Mephisto's soul. Her mentor Agatha Harkness erases her memories in an attempt to lessen the trauma. Then the Deviant priest Ghaur tries to make her a bride of Set. No wonder she eventually goes catatonic then insane for a while. And Byrne managed to do it all in little more than a year.
- Two Girls to a Team: The original line-up.
- The Unapologetic: Yes, Mockingbird let the Phantom Rider die, and did nothing to save him. She's not sorry about that, and if she got back in time she would have done exactly the same.
- West Coast Team: The main reason for this group to exist is to serve this role for The Avengers. Issue 46 introduces the Great Lakes Avengers, which unofficially serve this role for both teams.
- What the Hell, Hero?
- Mockingbird received a lot of crap for letting the Phantom Rider die.
- Vision got a lot of hatred for proposing to close the West Coast branch, with his arrogant "east coasters are better" attitude. Also Iron Man, who casted the decisive vote.
- Working with the Ex: Hank and the Wasp, once she joined the team. Things were a bit awkward, but they quickly became friendly again.
- Yoyo Plot Point: Tigra had problems controlling her cat-like instincts early in the series. She was more ferocious, and quite infamously, couldn't keep it in her pants. She eventually got her cat and human souls merged together during a trip to the land of the Cat People, fixing her identity problems. One would think it'd be the end of it, especially with Englehart leaving the series, but Byrne went back to Tigra's unstability as soon as he took over the series, in his own way: he had Tigra shrink to an actual cat-like form and run around hunting mice. It was solved offscreen by Agatha Harkness during the next writers' run.