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The West Coast Avengers vol. 3#26 (March, 2004)

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  • Unimatrix One
    What Has Happened Before: After saving the children of Namor and Marinna from the Hounds and stopping a possible war with the kingdom of Atlantis, the roster
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 1 3:01 PM
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      What Has Happened Before: After saving the children
      of Namor and Marinna from the Hounds and stopping a
      possible war with the kingdom of Atlantis, the roster
      of the West Coast Avengers has almost doubled in size.
      Now they face the task of downsizing as they
      determine who will remain to serve on the team.




      To combat those threats against which no hero can face
      alone, Earth's Mightiest Heroes forged a covenant to
      unite in battle to protect all mankind. Due to the
      actions of an unstoppable menace, the team's second
      charter has been reborn! These are the new
      adventures of the West Coast Avengers!



      Team Roster: Photon--Mistress of Energy!
      Tigra--Feline Huntress! U.S.Agent--Soldier
      Extraordinaire! Dr. Cecelia Reyes--Forcefield
      Projector! Giant Man--Growing Goliath! She-Hulk--
      Gamma-Spawned Beauty! Hercules--Prince of Power!





      The West Coast Avengers vol. 3#26
      March, 2004
      Dark Tide Aftermath
      "Too Many Avengers"
      By Daniel D. Gordon



      The conference room of the West Coast Avengers
      Mountain Base was buzzing with activity. The room was
      filled with fifteen of Earth's mightiest heroes. The
      last time so many heroes had gathered on the Western
      side of the United States, the fate of the West Coast
      Avengers hung in the balance. Ironically, this
      gathering would also determine the continued existence
      of the team.

      "So the runt goes, 'Do you want to go to Claw City?'
      The next thing I know, he spits out his cigar and
      these metal claws pop out of his hands."

      "Really?" Tigra soaked in the story. "So what did
      you do, Clint?"

      "I did what any self-respecting Avenger would do,"
      Hawkeye continued. "I showed him the error of missing
      with Earth's mightiest marksman!" (1)

      Sitting in his seat, Hercules placed his elbow in the
      center of the Conference Room table. "Come, Namor.
      Let us see if thy strength is as remarkable on land as
      it is in the sea."

      "I have no time for pointless games," Namor turned his
      head in disgust.

      "Tis is a time for celebration and cheer," Hercules
      announced. "We hath overcome incredible odds. Let us
      rejoice as only true warriors do."

      She-Hulk sat across from Hercules and placed her right
      arm on the table. "I'll take you up on your
      challenge."

      Hercules smiled. "Fair Jen, I wish not to harm you in
      jestful play."

      "I'll hold back so I won't hurt YOU," She-Hulk
      grinned, locking her hand with his.

      Watching the two powerhouses armwrestle, Living
      Lightning whispered to U.S.Agent. "I got twenty on
      the big guy."

      "You're on," U.S.Agent replied, voting for She-Hulk to
      win.

      Firebird noticed how the Vision distanced himself from
      the others. Every since she found him in one of the
      base's sub-basements, she felt something dreadful
      about him. (2) She couldn't explain it. She didn't
      trust him. However, no one else seemed to share her
      concern.

      "Is something wrong, Bonita?" Doc Samson asked,
      seeing the worry on her face.

      "I don't know," she admitted. She pointed in the
      Vision's direction. "Look at him. He acts so cold
      and withdrawn. I know he's an android and doesn't
      have emotions like the rest of us, but something else
      is going on with him. I never met him before he was
      dismantled, but I can tell you something is wrong with
      him."

      "Maybe you're right," Doc Samson said, watching the
      unmoving Vision stand in a corner. "I told Monica how
      he acted on our mission and she said she would keep an
      eye on him." (3)

      Streams of data flowed into Iron Man's blue and silver
      armor through a series of wires. Once the suit
      processed the information, he retracted them. After
      analyzing his findings, Iron Man revealed his
      findings.

      "Rhodey, your suit is operating within normal
      parameters.."

      "Are you sure?" Jim Rhodes asked from inside his War
      Machine armor. "You don't see anything out of the
      ordinary?"

      "What should I be looking for?" Tony Stark inquired.
      He was the inventor of the armor that he and Rhodes,
      his best friend, wore. "If anything was out of
      alignment, I would have found it."

      "I guess you would," Rhodes sighed. "I guess I'm just
      a little gittery after using the suit after such a
      long time. (4) I thought the suit wasn't responding
      to a couple of commands when we were facing Llyron and
      I thought there may be a malfunction in the suit." (5)

      "Everything check's out fine," Iron Man comforted by
      patting War Machine on the shoulder. "Whenever I use
      a suit for the first time in a while, I swear
      something's not working right. In actuality, it's all
      in my head."

      "You're right, it's probably just a case of bad
      nerves." War Machine wondered if Tony wanted his old
      suit back. "Are you sure it's ok if I keep it?"

      "I don't mind," Iron Man smiled. "I have enough of
      them to last me a lifetime."

      Bill Foster observed everyone in silence. It was no
      surprise to him that the others really had nothing to
      say to him. Ever since he told them of the
      underhanded things he did, everyone saw him in a
      different light. (6) They probably only tolerated
      him because he brought extra muscle to the team.
      Outside of missions, the only person who really had
      anything to do with him was Cece.

      "Why you look so sad?" a voice with a slight Puerto
      Rican accent asked.

      "Nothing," Bill said, looking up to see the lovely
      form of Dr. Cecelia Reyes standing over him.

      "Mind if I join you?"

      "Not at all," Bill said out of reflex. He pulled the
      seat out so Cece could sit in comfort. Over the past
      few days their platonic friendship seem to have grown
      stronger. It had been a long time since he had known
      the comfort of a woman and wondered if one day Cece
      could remind him of those times.

      Photon hated to interrupt the jubliant meeting.
      Though everyone was brought together due to a global
      threat, it warmed Photon's heart to see her fellow
      Avengers enjoying a moment of peaceful downtime.
      Moments like this were far and few between and she was
      about to bring this one to an end.

      "Attention, everyone," Photon shouted over the roar in
      the room. "I know it's good to see old faces again,
      but we have an urgent issue to address."

      "We do?" She-Hulk asked, wondering what was on her
      chairwoman's mind.

      "Yes, before everyone parts ways, I wanted to address
      the size of our roster. It has been low for quite some
      time and I was wondering if anyone here would be
      interested in filling it out for us."

      Silence filled the room as everyone thought on what
      was just asked. Most were in attendance simply out of
      the ugency and need for their skills in battle.
      Others were there for reasons of their own. None
      thought of staying around after the present crisis was
      over. Now they had to ask themselves if they should.



      **A Seedy Hotel in Palm Beach***


      Dr. Celia Jackson looked over her shoulder while she
      turned the key in the lock on the door. She had never
      been so afraid in her life. She almost dropped the
      key when she pulled it out of the lock. She quickly
      closed the door and prayed for someone to help her.

      For the past four days, she had been been running from
      a mob enforcer. Against her better judgement she
      accepted money from a former boyfriend years ago to
      help pay for her medical schooling. Whenever she
      asked where he got the money, he gave her one of his
      sweet-talking lines that caused her to think about
      other things. Four days ago, she receieved a phone
      call from a mysterious man explaining where the money
      came from and how he wanted it repaid. When she
      refused his offer, the phone when dead and her house
      exploded. Every moment since then, she had been
      running for her life.

      What puzzled her about the whole thing was the fact
      that a superhuman was sent after her. Why? She
      didn't have any superpowers. Was this just a way for
      them to put more fear in her heart? If so, it worked.
      She had no way to protect herself from a superhuman.
      By the time she would call the police, it would be too
      late. There was no one she could turn to. No one
      expect...

      "Bill!" she said to herself, reaching for the phone
      book inside her room. She flipped through it, looking
      for a sign that could lead her to contacting him.
      After frantic moments of searching, she tossed the
      book on the floor. "I'm not thinking straight. Why
      did I expect to see a phone number for the West Coast
      Avengers in the Yellow Pages? Maybe the only way to
      reach him is by going through the police."

      Celia was about to pick up the phone when the door and
      window shattered. Within seconds, the room was packed
      with blowing sand. Celia couldn't see anything as she
      tried to stand. By the time she regained her
      bearings, she saw the man she was running from
      standing over her.

      Through the blowing sand, she could see his dark red
      eyes piercing down on her. His silver hair danced in
      the sand and his gold gloves and boots glistened
      against the backdrop of his dark blue bodysuit. With
      a gesture of his hand, the sand particles covered
      Celia and carried her to him.

      "You gave me quite a chase, lady," the man snarled.
      "You made sure Sandstorm earned every bit of his
      money!" (7)

      Celia tried to scream, but the sound in the room was
      muffled by the blowing sand. Realizing resistance was
      futile, she submitted herself to Sandstorm as she was
      dragged away. She only thought of Bill and she prayed
      for a way to contact him so he could rescue her.


      ***Back at the West Coast Avengers Mountain Base***


      The party atmosphere in the Conference Room dissolved
      as every Avenger asked themselves the question
      presented to the group. No one rushed to give the
      answer, for their words would decide the future of
      their lives and that of the team.

      Iron Man was the first to give his answer. "I
      appreciate the offer to work with you but I have other
      pressing matters that would hamper my ability to be an
      effective member." Glancing the clock inside his
      armor, he headed for the door. "In fact, I'm late for
      an important meeting. If you ever need me, you know
      how to reach me." After saying a quick goodbye, Iron
      Man left the room. (8)

      "Same goes for me," Living Lightning jumped in.
      "School is keeping me busy most of the time, but I can
      still hang around as a reservist."

      "Thank you," Photon accepted.

      "I would also like to maintain my reserve status,"
      Firebird requested. "I have started a new social work
      job and need time to devote myself to it and what
      little social life I have."

      "Understandable," Photon nodded. "Congratulations on
      the new job."

      "Thank you," Firebird smiled.

      "Well, I don't have a job and I don't have a social
      life," War Machine sadly stated. "I do have this
      nifty armor and would like to put it to good use. If
      you guys don't mind, I could hang around for a while."

      "It'll be just like old times," U.S.Agent jested,
      happy to be able to work with another old friend.

      "Speaking of 'old times'," Tigra started. "What about
      you, Clint? Are you up to being a Wacko again?"

      Hawkeye thought about Tigra's question for a long
      moment. He had just left the Avengers because he
      wanted to find a way to find Bobbi's lost soul. (9)
      Could the West Coasters help him in his search? Maybe
      saving the world among friends would help keep his
      mind off things for a while.

      "Sure," Hawkeye grinned. "Why not?"

      "I'll take that as a 'yes'" Photon said with a smile.

      She-Hulk posed a question to the king of Atlantis.
      "What about you, Namor? Are you sticking around?"

      "I must decline the offer to stay," Namor refused.
      "My kingdom is my top priority and I must make sure no
      one threatens its safety and prosperity." (10)

      Photon respected the decision. "As always, if we can
      help you in any way, Namor, do not hestitate to ask
      for our assistance."

      "Thank you for the offer," Namor regally responded.

      "That's leaves only one person," Doc Samson informed.
      "Vision, will you be joining the team?"

      Everyone turned to the resurrected synthezoid and
      waited for a response. He stepped forward and gave
      his decision. "I currently have no place in this
      world. Instead of being left to my own devices, I
      would prefer to be useful in some capacity. If the
      others will allow, I would like to offer my services
      as a full-time member."

      "I have no problem with that," Photon relayed, turning
      to She-Hulk, U.S.Agent, Tigra, and Hercules.
      "According to the Avengers bylaws, we must now vote on
      who will join our ranks. Do you accept the additions
      to the roster?"

      "I do," She-Hulk proclaimed.

      "I don't have a problem with them," U.S.Agent added.

      "They're fine by me," Tigra purred.

      "The more the merrier," Hercules boasted.

      Photon continued. "Since more than two-thirds of the
      roster approved of the applicants, Hawkeye, Vision,
      and War Machine, you are hereby offical members of the
      West Coast Avengers."

      Appaulse filled the room as the team accepted the
      additions to their rosters. The celebration was
      shortlived when an alarm blared. Tigra was the first
      to leap for the console. After hitting a series of
      buttons, a series of satallite pictures filled the
      large monitor in the room. No one said anything as
      they soaked in the devastating images on the screen.
      They couldn't tell what they were looking at due to
      the distortion of the pictures, but they could tell
      that something was burning.

      "This is a Level Orange S.H.I.E.L.D. priority
      transmission!" Tigra shouted. "They don't know what
      exactly is going on. They're satallites just picked
      clouds of smoke coming from somewhere in the Colorado
      Rookies."

      "That's where the Vault is located," Photon informed.
      "Is it under attack?"

      "They don't know," Tigra continued. "They can't seem
      to contact them to confirm or deny if anything is
      wrong there."

      Photon grew concerned as she walked closer to the
      screen. "Try to reach them."

      Tigra pushed a couple of buttons on the consoles.
      When she didn't get the disired response, she repeated
      the sequence. After a third try to she frown.

      "Nothing. I can't get through either."

      Using the qualites which made her chairwoman, Photon
      took charge of the situation. She knew something was
      wrong. It was no coincidence smoke was coming from
      the same location for the prison designed to
      incarcenrate super criminals at the same time they
      experienced communications difficulties. Something
      was wrong and she was about to find out what was going
      on.

      "It looks our new team has its first offical mission.
      Doc Samson, I need you and the reservists to remain
      here in case we need your assistance. People, we move
      out in five minutes."

      The main roster of the West Coast Avengers left the
      room and headed for the hanger bay. Each member used
      the walk to mentally prepare for the task before them.
      The thought of saving the world hours ago became
      nothing more than a footnote in their minds as they
      focused on what they were about to face. Leaving
      their last mission in the past, the West Coast
      Avengers raced to meet the impending danger that
      awaited them. (11)




      To Be Continued in Altmarvel's West Coast Avengers
      Annual #2





      NEXT ISSUE: Go check out Altmarvel's Thor Annual 2004
      for an epic slugfest that would lead into the events
      of Altmarvel's WCA Annual #2! Then come back next
      time to see more kidnappings and how they affect the
      WCA when a some of their members are "Taken"!




      ***WCA 26 Footnotes***



      1. Hawkeye's referring to the Altmarvel
      Hawkeye/Wolverine:The Road to Claw City non-story that
      took place shortly after he left the Avengers in
      Altmarvel's Avengers #433.

      2. See Altmarvel's West Coast Avengers #24 for more
      details.

      3. See the action-packed last issue for this and
      more!

      4. Rhodes was seperated from his War Machine armor in
      the classic Marvel issue of War Machine #17. Last
      issue was his first time using it since it was
      delivered to him in Altmarvel's West Coast Avengers
      #19.

      5. Again, see last issue for details.

      6. See Altmarvel's West Coast Avengers #22 for more
      details.

      7. That's right, folks! This is the same Sandstorm
      last seen in Marvel's Web of Spider-Man #108!

      8. This story takes place before the events of
      Altmarvel's Avengers #435. For more on what Iron Man
      is going through, check out the latest issues of his
      own Altmarvel series!

      9. The demon lord Mephisto hid the soul of Barbara
      Morse-Barton, the long-dead Mockingbird, in
      Altmarvel's Avengers #423.

      10. Don't cry! This won't be the last you see of
      Namor! Check out Altmarvel's Defenders #24 to see
      what is in store for the King of Altantis!

      11. For more on what's going on at the Vault, check
      out Altmarvel's The Guard #11!





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