AVENGERS WEST COAST: ALONG CAME A SPIDER-WOMAN (Marvel, 2012; Softcover)
Collects Avengers West Coast Nos. 58, 59, 63-75 (cover dates May, 1990- October, 1991)
Writers: Fabian Nicieza (58), Danny Fingeroth (59), Roy and Dann Thomas (63, 65-75), and Terry Kavanagh (64).
Artists: Tom Morgan (Penciler, 58, 71), Randy Emberlin (Inker, 58), Paul Ryan (Penciler, 63, 65-69), Chris Wozniak (Penciler, 64), Danny Bulanadi (Inker, 63-72), Steven Butler (Penciler, 70, Dave Ross (Penciler, 72-74), Herb Trimpe (Penciler, 75), and other artists.
This book starts out with the two stray fill in issues which were left out of the John Byrne-centric collections a few years ago. While I applaud Marvel for making the deadlines and not shipping late on those issues, it really would have been better for everyone if they just delayed the next issue by two months. Issues 58 and 59 are complete pieces of crap on every level and I am dumber for having read them.
Fortunately things turn completely around with issue 63. Roy and Dann Thomas handle the scripts and Paul Ryan handles the artwork. Ryan was a solid artist but not overly flashy. He has clearly laid out panels and his artwork serves the story. It's not like he was trying to make every panel a contender for T-shirt artwork or anything. Roy Thomas' dialogue is occasionally clunky or dated but his writing is still light years beyond that of Brian Michael Bendis. There are no breakfast table conversations, no double page spreads of the team breaking bread, and no snarky dialogue where everyone keeps interrupting each other. Just plenty of superheroes fighting bad guys with organic character development.
Thomas (both of them) do a great job with the team's dynamics. Hawkeye is now the seasoned vet and voice of reason trying to get the US Agent to tow the line, while Iron Man is trying to keep his once-again secret identity of Tony Stark a secret from even his teammates. There is a changing of the guard over the course of the issues collected in this book.
I love the new development with the Grim Reaper, as it makes total sense. I'm not sure what happened to the character after this as I sat out comic books in the '90s. Ultron-13 is great. I have always been a sucker for Ultron, and now we will get to see him on the silver screen in a few years. The '90s start rearing their ugly head with cheesy “extreme!!!” villains like Jawbreaker and the rest of the Pacific Overlords. Irezumi and Cybertooth are beyond cheesy. I was thrilled to see Doctor Demonicus as a villain. He was a villain from beloved quarter box comics of my youth such as Godzilla and Shogun Warriors, both of which need to be Omnibused.
Herb Trimpe handles the artwork in issue 75, and it was nice to see his work before the horrid Image influenced direction that he would take shortly after this. This book is very enjoyable, hovering between good and very good. Not every comic book has to reinvent the wheel to rock my world. Sometimes a good old fashioned superhero battle royal does the trick, and this book delivers a heaping helping of that.
Junk Food For Thought rating:4.25 out of 5.
The OCD zone- I love love love these fat chunky monkey trade paperbacks! I am so excited about the big honking Epic line of books coming out and plan on buying them all! Kill me now!
DVD-style Extras included in this book: None.
Linework and Color restoration rating: 5 out of 5. Good, solid restoration throughout the book.
Paper rating: 5 out of 5. This features the same paper found in Classic collections and the softcover Marvel Masterworks. I love it. It's a dull matte finish coated stock, not too thick but not too thin.
Binding rating: 4.25 out of 5. These thick books always have a nice thick band of glue.
Cardstock cover coating rating: 5 out of 5. Nice quality lamination on the cardstock cover ensures a lifetime of reading enjoyment when handled with reasonable care.