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West Coast Avengers #1 review: Relaunching the classic team with a fresh bang

This book is pure fun. It’s got great action, quips, romance, and sharks stampeding down Venice Boulevard. What more do you need?

Kelly Thompson and Stefano Caselli
Price: Check on Amazon

Los Angeles becomes the new coast to get an Avengers team as West Coast Avengers #1 re-establishes the classic team. Is it good?

Picking up from where Kelly Thompson’s Hawkeye left off, both Hawkeyes, Kate Bishop and Clint Barton, are in LA and superheroing has picked up the pace. As a group of giant sharks with legs rampage through Venice Beach, Kate calls in reinforcements and Clint, America Chavez, and Kate’s boyfriend Johnny Watts, aka Fuse, defeat the sharks, but realize they need a lot more help.

After a round of audition for local superheroes fail spectacularly, Kate is surprised by both Gwendolyn Poole and Quentin Quire showing up to volunteer, but each with different agendas. As the team deals tries to learn to meld, and how to live together without killing each other, a new challenge arises with multiple blasts from the past.

Is it Good?

Kelly Thompson picks up where she left off with the recently cancelled Hawkeye — this book could basically be called Hawkeye and Friends, and that is definitely not a bad thing. The high-energy, playful tone she established makes this book a lot of fun, and I feel like she’s pulling from books like Young Avengers (America Chavez is back to her YA look) and KellySue Deconnick’s Avengers Assemble. There’s even a visual easter egg to Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye:

Credit: Marvel Comics

Credit: Marvel Comics

The choice of cast members in team is a smart combo of people who can pair off and square off in endless combinations. Quentin is the obnoxious troublemaker, Clint is the de facto adult who is terrible at adulting, Kate is the leader struggling to learn how to be in charge, America is the badass who doesn’t take guff, and Gwenpool is Gwenpool. One nitpick I have with this first issue is that since it packs in so much story and action, there isn’t time to flesh out each character yet. I think Clint in particular gets short shrift, and I’m hoping that will be fixed in future issues. They are counting on you to come in with some knowledge of the characters, though they do do a nice job of doing a light introduction to each for newbies. And this is a book that is great for both newcomers to these characters and for new comics readers in general.

Speaking of Avengers Assemble, this book brings Stefano Caselli to the artist role, and I think he’s a great fit. He has a great realistic style with fun comic sensibilities – I love the exaggerated facial expressions he brings to the interview segments, especially that in each panel, their faces are different.

Johnny’s face in those last two panels just kills me. Credit: Marvel Comics

Plus it’s not every day that you get to draw a bunch of rampaging great whites with legs. Triona Farrell supports the energy with bright colors that pop throughout the issue.

This book is pure fun. It’s got great action, quips, romance, and sharks stampeding down Venice Boulevard. What more do you need? A high energy start to a great all ages series.

West Coast Avengers #1
Is it good?
This book is pure fun. It's got great action, quips, romance, and sharks stampeding down Venice Boulevard. What more do you need?
Fun, high energy kickoff to the West Coast Avengers
Solid story with lots of action
Great cast of characters for the team who should bounce off each other in interesting ways
I like that this is an all ages book since a lot of the characters are younger. It will appeal to a broad audience.
Since there is so much action and story to cover, we don't get a lot of character time for everyone
This book is counting on you being familiar with these characters coming in, though they do a nice job of introducing them for newbies

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