Sometimes you read a new comic book, and it feels like it was made just for you. The original West Coast Avengers was always one of my favorite Marvel titles. While the main Avengers comic often had the big guns on the roster, at times the team could feel a little…stuffy. Hawkeye (Clint Barton) changed the atmosphere and idea of the Avengers when he started the West Coast branch.
Aside from the brand name returning to the Marvel Universe, this title has three things I adore in comics: Kate Bishop, Kelly Thompson writing Kate Bishop, and Gwenpool. When the recent Hawkeye series by Kelly Thompson, Leonardo Romero, and Jordie Bellaire ended, I was pretty gutted. Around the same time, The Unbelievable Gwenpool by Christopher Hastings and Gurihiru ended as well. Now Thompson is writing this new WCA comic with Stefano Caselli on art and Triona Farrell on colors, featuring Kate, Gwenpool, and some other really cool characters.
How many times have we seen superhero team comics? It’s not a new concept. What makes this title stand out is it’s far from your typical team. If there’s a rule book on how to run a team of super-powered individuals, Kate Bishop either lost it or threw it out the window. The fact that some members really don’t get along adds the right amount of tension. I don’t think anyone really wants to read a team book where everything runs smoothly and everyone gets along all the time.
The debut issue also handles the introduction in a slightly different fashion. The characters discuss themselves and different aspects of the team by talking to a camera person. Why is there a camera person? That is something that is explained and will add a big element to the team and how it can actually operate.
You get the sense of characters breaking the fourth wall at times without them actually doing it since they’re really being interviewed. We just see it through the lens of the camera. An example is Clint Barton discussion whether or not it’s confusing having two people named Hawkeye and why Kate is the leader rather than himself.
Of course, because this is the first issue with a team of strangely mixed characters, there has to be a reason why each member was chosen. You won’t have to worry about any big mysteries. If you’re wondering how and why Gwenpool or Quentin Quire are in this book, you will definitely get those answers. If you’re also craving some good old fashioned interview scenes, you’ll get a laugh out of some of the other “heroes” in the Los Angeles area.
There’s also the matter of why this team exists. Every team should have a good reason for its formation. It shouldn’t feel like a comic publisher is simply trying to expand a certain franchise. For the West Coast Avengers, there is a pretty good reason for them to band together–land sharks.
No one wants to or should have to deal with land sharks on their own.
Simply put, this book is a breath of fresh air. Not to knock other titles from Marvel or DC, but there’s a lot of dark stuff currently being published. We’re seeing some major deaths in Extermination or Death of the Inhumans. Over at DC, Batman had his heart and life shattered and the Justice League are getting their butts kicked by the Legion of Doom.
Thompson has a flare for telling fun and entertaining stories without them feeling simple or geared towards younger readers. She is fantastic at adding layers to the characters she writes and the stories she weaves. Caselli’s art with Farell’s colors are a delight.
I had really high expectations for this book because of Kate and Gwenpool’s series both ending. Adding to the anticipation was the use of the West Coast Avengers name along with great characters such as Clint Barton, America Chavez, and Quentin Quire. Thompson and Caselli nailed the first issue as far as I’m concerned. Throw in a surprise situation to deal with and a completely bizarre new character, I couldn’t ask for anything more in this book. It’s not often I can say a comic book manages to put a big smile on my face. I’ve already started counting the days until the next issue arrives. With this creative team and team of characters, it’s a given I’m going to absolutely love each issue in the series.