West Coast Avengers #6 Review

by Charles Martin on December 19, 2018

West Coast Avengers #6 Review
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Daniele Di Nicuolo
Colourist: Tríona Farrell
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics

I got a little burned out on the first West Coast Avengers arc because there seemed to be a lack of integration between Kate Bishop and her would-be team. 

Now we're barrelling into a fresh story that features a much wider divide between Kate and the Avengers, and it's all working out … kinda great? 

So I guess I need to be more attentive to the effect that storytelling choices have, not just their general existence.

This issue opens up with a nice curtain-pull and a full reveal of the Baddie Squad that's united to take out the West Coast Avengers. Oooh, look out, they've got the Eel on their side. We might as well start recruiting new heroes right now, yeah?

This issue's art does a fine job with expressive faces and some of the key action scenes. "Some" is short of all, though: The story calls for a lot of projectiles striking home and a few of these moments are rendered with less-than-ideal clarity. On the other hand, some truly impressive superpower usage by the captive Avengers is portrayed brilliantly. 

The colours still work hand-in-hand with the art, adding depth and weight where needed and effortlessly creating some complicated lighting scenarios. The main Avenger-torturing big-top set is very bright, allowing for a full range of hues. Over in Kate's sections, heavier shadows and colour washes are wisely used to evoke darker, moodier feelings.

While the team struggles beautifully against the baddies' worst torments (mainly sharks and … land-sharks … these are not the most creative baddies), Kate is on her own. Apparently, her mother is alive and looking out for her, and the surprise finale doubles down on dredging important folks out of her memories.

But Kate's not taking any of it at face value, and she's detectiving up a storm while defeating baddies and searching for her team. The most enjoyable part of the issue might well be watching the wheels turn in Kate's head as she suspects her Mom and sorts out the details of the villainous scheme she's stuck in.

I'm glad Kate takes a moment to remind readers that she's a PI, but it's not absolutely necessary; her actions throughout #6 speak far louder than her words on that point.

Kate's solid characterization doesn't come at the expense of the team; the rest of the West Coast Avengers have plenty of opportunities to shine. And that is what really leads me to make peace with splitting Kate from the team again; the creators have a finely-tuned sense of how much attention the star and the team deserve. This issue thrives thanks to an exquisite balance between the two.

In West Coast Avengers #6, interest is adroitly split between Kate and her team, and both stories develop in fascinating ways. Brisk visuals illuminate a ton of action and a very large cast with close-to-flawless skill. Combine with razor-sharp writing in both plot and dialogue and you've got a recipe for a thoroughly enjoyable adventure.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
The most important division of the issue: I am solidly on Team MODOK: Land sharks are magnificent, not dumb!