Thursday, February 20, 2014

Back-Issue Spotlight: Avengers West Coast#50


Almost there to post 500. I know, I know, you're supposed to do something nice and special, but with this other work I've been doing, not really feeling it. Might just be a bonus skit this week or something else, idk.

But today's post is another edition of Back-Issue Spotlight. Today I'm spotlighting Avengers West Coast#50, which features the original golden age Human Torch joining the team.

Let's get to it shall we?

Avengers West Coast#50 "Return Of The Hero" (Nov '89) by John Byrne and Mike Machlan.

The story starts off not with the Human Torch, but with his dead partner Toro's wife Ann.
She thinks her husband might not be dead after all, and that maybe her husband's partner is involved as well.

Apparently way back some years ago, when the FF met up with original Torch, he went nuts and then was "killed". Well Toro saw his an ad for his partner's funeral and went to go check it out himself. He was then drugged and abducted by the Mad Thinker. The Thinker then brainwashed Toro into thinking he was the Human Torch, causing him to battle the Namor.

Toro later dies trying to get revenge on the Mad Thinker.
Trying to find her husbands's whereabouts leads her to the AWC's door for help.

So off to the town of Pleasentville go the Avengers(where the Torch's funeral was supposedly held)
The Vision goes straight down into the Torch's casket, where he indeed finds the Torch resting.
The Avengers can't open the casket without the proper legal documents, but that doesn't stop an already pissed and stressed out Scarlet Witch from using her hex powers to open said casket.

And with that, The original Human Torch lives again!

Wonder Man chases after him, persuading him to come down and talk with the other Avengers.

It's here that we get an iconic(or was supposed to be iconic for the time) official meeting of the Vision and the Torch.

 Hank Pym gives a quick, reader's digest version of things to get him up to date. The Wasp then flies in, giving the Torch new and improved threads, and welcoming him to the Avengers. Torch says yes, and all's right with the world.....until Iron Man shows up.

Here's a bonus for you guys: An unused cover sketch for this very issue

So at this point in time, the WCA/AWC, just had to deal with the government kidnapping and dissecting the Vision, leading to him becoming that sickly pale color of yellow for a number of years. This explains why Wanda freaks out when the Toro's wife shows up and thinks the Vision can help her out.

Also, Iron Man showing up was of interest because he got booted out of the team during the Armor Wars in his own book. He then fakes Iron Man's death, making people believe someone else was inside the armor. That whole sub-plot would later be resolved, but man was that next issue awkward for a bit.

Also, and I've got to point this out, the belief that the Vision was made from the body of the original Human Torch had been canon for years, ever since Roy Thomas started the idea, and Steve Englehart expanded upon it. Only very recently was that proven to not be the case, instead all part of a calculated deception by Immortus, master of time.

Writers Kurt Busiek and Roger Stern would later re-confirm that in the Avengers Forever max-series, stating that it was all Immortus' idea just to do that to fuck with the Avengers. Silly really, but that's some bad guys for you.

I remember picking this up due to the cover. I had no idea about the back-story of the original Torch's back then, so this was a pretty good place to learn some history.

I was actually influenced to pick this particular issue because of this blog right here:

It talks more in depth about the whole Human Torch/Vision connection throughout the years up to 1999.
Not a bad little read if you want to know more about that particular back story.

Sorry for the poor quality phone scans. Couldn't find anymore scanned in interior pages, so I had to improvise.

That's it for this edition of Back-Issue Spotlight. Hoped you learned some things, and are tempted to track this one down if you don't already have it.

Tomorrow is post 500!!!!!!!!


karl said...

Cool issue.
I recently re read Avengers Forever and thought the whole Immortus fucking with the Torch/ Vision origin totally unnecessary.
Have u heard the latest UNBELIEVABLE news about the casting for the FF film. They've not only cast teenagers but Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm....yes fucking BILLY ELLIOTT.
Please someone just fucking SHOOT me.

Dale Bagwell said...

@Karl: yeah it really was, but then it was kinda retconned that way. But yeah, unnecessarily dickish to the extreme. I wonder who shit in his corn flakes that day....

I did, and I'm not happy either. The only casting I agree on is Sue, with that cute chick from Sky High.

But a black Human Torch? Who the fuck signs off on this shit? Seriously, it doesn't even make sense, even from a diversity standpoint.

I'm not watching this then.

The King of Thessaly said...

I have this book- always liked it (and the cover!). Cool to see what it could have been- but I like the one they used a lot better!
Definitely a geek-out moment when Torch and Vision shook hands.
Oh, Immortus/Nathaniel Richards/Pharaoh Rama-Tut/Kang the Conqueror- always causing trouble... I always love his antics- though... even if they are headache inducing.

Photos are fine. -No worries.
I scan and edit all the panels I use on my blog- shit is fucking time-consuming!
Gonna go check out that other blog you mentioned now.
I was uninterested as fuck in this new FF movie at first. But this cast has got me curious as fuck to see it now! It's SO "What the--?!"

Dale Bagwell said...

@King: Me too. That other cover lacked the excitement and dynamism(is that a real word?) of the eventual one. Namor#1(1990) had a similar cover to this one, just with Namor emerging from the water. Google it and you'll see the intentional similarities since Byrne did both covers.

On the FF movie, I guess. Not that I have anything wrong with black actors or what not, it's just weird and definitively something you shouldn't or wouldn't fool with race-wise. The last movie with a black Alicia was fine, and probably what they should've gone with here. What's next, a Chinese/Japanese Dr. Doom?

The King of Thessaly said...

Oh, yeah! I know that cover- never even occurred to me it's paralleled. Nice.

I vote for Japanese-School-Girl-Dr. Doom!!!

Dan W said...

I have this issue!! I loved how Wonder Man looked drawn by Bryne - he really nailed the character even more so than his time on Avengers. See the yellow Vision may be the Avengers movie vision.

Me, I like Human Torch is african american, it works for me, though not if it means Sue and Johnny aren't brother and sister. The whole movie seems more based on Millar's Fantastic Four series than it does the 616 book, which I guess makes sense as he's the head guy at Fox. That explains the casts age, as they were younger there too, and Sue was Reeds intellectual equal.

I don't know much about Reed and The thing you won't see on screen too much any way, but 'Sue' was great in The Shooter and all the other films I've seen her in.

I'm keen. I didn't think X-Men First Class was going to be good walking so far away from the original X-Men class but it was fantastic. My gutt tells me this will be the same. At least people are talking about the FF again. I think had a too predictable cast been picked folks would still be saying 'Hoo humm'.

Dale Bagwell said...

@King: From your lips to Fox Studios' ears. It'll probably happen.

@Dan: Yeah I get that, and that was a huge mistake on their part for letting Millar near anything like that. Why? Because he's more into shilling his crap than actual story/plot like he used to.

I felt the same way about First Class, and was proven wrong. But this FF revamp? No, not wrong here. They'd have to really, really hard sell why the racial diversity on this one.

Byrne made everyone look good, even some of those goofier silver age characters. They just looked so shiny and brand new(Like a Virgin, HEY!) So no surprise there.

Dan, what's your favorite writer/artist creative team on WCA/AWC?
Favorite roster as well.....

Dan W said...

Yikes - then don't read my blog tonight cos my post goes into bat for the new movie line-up lol - some of the comments of other forums on the net have really been sick and it's... yeah.. not cool.

Onto defining cool though AWC was best with John and Paul (not THAT John and Paul but close), and towards the end from War Machine joining up through the whole Lethal Legion and Mephisto to the close.

Line-up it would be the one from the last dozen odd issues; U.S.Agent, Hawkeye, War Machine, Scarlet Witch, Mockingbird, Wonder Man and Spider-Woman. If we are talking dream team I'd add Tigra, and the James Bond-ish Hank Pym as well.

If anything ties for FF as my favourite team it's this book so its pretty hard to pick. Yours?

karl said...

Wete all going crazy over on my FF forum over the casting...from the young actors to casting a black guy for the Torch. NO ONE IS HAPPY ABOUT THIS AT ALL. The generay consensus is that its the Ultimate FF where Reed and Ben are at school and Sue and Johnny are cousins hence the colur difference.
And don't forget the REAL treat. ..a female Doctor Doom who has a crush on the Torch. ..
I did ask for a gun earlier. .will someone just SHOOT me I can't stand this!

Dale Bagwell said...

@Karl: I hear ya' man. And people though the last FF movies were bad....I didn't of course, especially not now, but yeah.

@Dan: Ha ha, I'll make a note to skip that one then Dan:)

I was all over the place when I collected WCA. Some Englehart, Byrne, then Thomas, and the last couple of issues towards the and including the last issue.

Preferred line-up?

Hawkeye as lead, with Iron Man(although a quick eventual switch out to War Machine would be nice. Give James something to prove on a different coast), Wonder Man, Wasp, Scarlet Witch, Hank, Tigra, US Agent, and maybe Moon Knight or Mockingbird.

Favorite creative team? I'm heavily biased on John Byrne's extremely short run. So pair him with Roy Thomas and you have gold.

Dan W said...

Its odd people call them young actors. Alba and Evans were younger when they were cast for the same roles but once one site says something so many just instantly roll in behind. I think if folks complaing about the Human Torch arent jumping up and down that a Jew isnt playing the Thing then they need to ask themselves why imo. The term no one is happy about this is a pretty big generalisation. Im not estatic i like Dale didnt mind the original, but i am interested to see where it all goes.

As for Westies I thought you'd chose Wasp mr :-) If I could add a reserve it would be Quicksilver.

Dale Bagwell said...

@Dan: what can I say, I liked her tenure on the team, plus plenty of slapable moments to possibly occur;)

Quicksilver, aye. I'd also add maybe The original Human Torch again. I felt his time on the time was way too short, as he seemed to add an extra layer of legitimacy to the team, being an actual WW2 hero and all.

"Get Snakey"

Hey whattaya' know, it's a brand new skit this week. Enjoy this fun little homage to one of the more recently popular "danc...