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West Coast Avengers #2 Review

by Charles Martin on September 19, 2018

West Coast Avengers #2 Review
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Stefano Caselli
Colourist: Tríona Farrell
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics

After a blockbuster debut, the West Coast Avengers slow things down a little with an issue that could be fairly summarized as an incomplete answer to the question "WTF is a B.R.O.D.O.K.?"

Also, this is the point where Quentin Quire decides "crazy, hard to live with, has pink hair" belong in both the "I am" and "I'm looking for" sections of his Tinder profile. In other words, he totally smooches Gwenpool.

Yeah, I called it last month. It's still monumentally satisfying, even though America and Fuse treat it like the "opening of the Ark" scene in Raiders.

The Giant Tigra fight that opens the issue wraps up abruptly. (Maybe too abruptly; this fast pivot is the issue's weak spot.) From there, the team moves onto befriending B.R.O.D.O.K. Kate makes an executive decision to launch a Hawkeyes-only investigation of this loon's "Advanced Image Mechanics" base. 

Everybody else is on babysitting duty, a move that rustles America's jimmies pretty severely. Even though she can see that Quentin and Gwenpool need adult supervision nearly as badly as the delusional new quasi-villain, she still bucks at being the designated adult. She ominously deploys the past tense when explaining her sense of betrayal to Kate: "I was your best friend, Kate. Best. Friend."

The team split develops real depth when it becomes clear Kate is actually anxious for a one-on-one "tell me I'm not screwing this up" conversation with Clint. The desire to keep this private is wonderfully realistic, both for human beings in general and Kate Bishop in particular.

This issue gets a visual presentation that matches its slower pace. There's still some formidably-composed action at the front, but the majority of the book is carefully-crafted character interactions. The sepia-toned flashback spread used to explain B.R.O.D.O.K.'s absurd backstory is a notable highlight. 

Completely petty colouring note: We could use a little more pink in Gwen's hair. But kudos for drawing a sharp distinction in the pink palette - Quentin's fuchsia locks are a great contrast to Gwen's more bubblegum shades. 

And also, kudos all around the art team for really nailing Gwen's unmasked look.

The Office-style documentary interviews continue, and they're deployed brilliantly in terms of both timing and layout integration. It's not a novel technique, but it is wielded with considerable skill here. The interviews add perfect amounts of depth and irony exactly where they're needed.

There's plenty of humour in both the dialogue and the backgrounds. Quentin has an "I de-Vamped Jubilee and all I got was this lousy t-shirt" t-shirt because of course he does. The sound effects deploy a few jokes on their own, too. Keep your eyes peeled for Kate's audible shrugging, Fuse banging his head into the refrigerator when the movie selection settles on Weekend at Bernie's 2, and B.R.O.D.O.K. making the world's best-timed bendy-straw slurp during the Big Romantic Moment.

This is clearly a quieter comic than the max-volume introduction. The passionate engagement with the characters and the bottomless craziness of B.R.O.D.O.K. safely hold us miles away from boring, though. #2 expands the West Coast Avengers repertoire significantly and proves that much as we love land sharks, we can find plenty of compelling interest in this title without non-stop wackiness.
 

Our Score:

9/10

A Look Inside

Comments

Charles Martin's picture
Okay, whew, THERE's Lucky the Pizza Dog. Call off the protests, people, the dog's OK!