The team escapes a vampire cult that has their claws on America Chavez, only to fall prey to the one enemy they’re powerless to defeat…. Cancellation.
Get ready for some whining because this is the final issue of West Coast Avengers.
I was reluctant to give this title a go. My West Coast Avengers was the dope team of personality clashes that included Hawkeye, Wonder Man, Spider-Woman, Scarlett Witch, etc. I looked at the cover of issue one and saw a bunch of characters I didn’t care for nor did I understand their cult followings. They may as well have chucked Squirrel Girl in it for all I cared — this book was not for me.
Then I read it and, such is the brilliance of writer Kelly Thompson, I was a changed man. The character interaction and off the wall ideas, as well as the reality-TV based premise really worked. It read like a great sitcom that nobody could ever pull off on TV.
Doing something completely different with the classic superhero team formula is something that should be rewarded with more than 10 issues. The relationships never once felt forced. The action took a back seat to the gang working their issues out, but the action was also manic and infectious. This was charming funny and full of fresh ideas.
Then somebody told them they were canceled, and the wind went right out of its sails. This final issue deserved better than having to rush the last few pages. Really Marvel? Not even a few extra pages so that Thompson didn’t have to wrap it all up in such a condensed fashion?
It’s another credit to the writer that the conclusion battles admirably, but there’s only so much even Thompson could do, I guess.
The art by Moy R. also lets this issue down. Stefano Caselli was brilliant as always on this series and Daniele Di Nicuolo was an apt follow up that really gave it everything. Apart from Moy’s decent layouts, the art is very uneven, even sloppy in some sections. The characters are inconsistent and the effort of the last few pages only emphasize the rushed finish.
Triona Farrell has absolutely brought it with every issue though and she does everything she can to salvage the artwork and maintain the look of the book. Her color work is quality. Perfectly appropriate for the left coast, even in the depths of a vampire enclave or on the weird beaches of shrimp world. It’s a colorful class of characters and Farrell plays this up at every opportunity. She also gives each power set flair and distinction. She is yet another reason the end of this book is vexing, although she is guaranteed to only go from strength to strength in her career, this book suited her so well.
What’s the message here for creators and fans alike? That there’s not much reward in trying something different? That unless you’re on a mainstream franchise you won’t survive? That no matter how you pack ideas in and tip your hat to what’s come before in clever ways it won’t matter because you don’t have a movie out yet?
How can a series that pulls from every iteration of a semi-popular character, that builds a team of supposed fan favorites around her, end like this? With a whimper despite the best efforts of a writer who invest so much into her work.
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