The West Coast Avengers vol. 3#26 (March, 2004)
- 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
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
Hercules smiled. "Fair Jen, I wish not to harm you in
"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
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
"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
"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
"Rhodey, your suit is operating within normal
"Are you sure?" Jim Rhodes asked from inside his War
Machine armor. "You don't see anything out of the
"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
"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
"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
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
"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
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
"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
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
3. See the action-packed last issue for this and
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
5. Again, see last issue for details.
6. See Altmarvel's West Coast Avengers #22 for more
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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