Avengers West Coast #85

 Lookback: Filling Gaps
 Posted: 2008


The death of an informant for the New York Globe has started a series of events that led Spider-Man out to the west coast to uncover the truth behind his murder.

New Avenger Julia Carpenter aka Spider-Woman II reluctantly brought her daughter Rachel with her on an Avengers assignment. Her ex-husband Larry was unable to watch her today due to his new position as P.R. manager for the Libertarian party.

The Avengers' assignment is to protect Michael Galvan, the presidential candidate for the Libertarian party, during a rally at the LA convention center. This situation puts Julia's dual identity in jeopardy with Larry and her daughter in jeopardy period.

This rally was broken up by a power outage caused by the Deathweb, a trio of villains. During the outage, the AWC tracked down a mysterious character running around in the shadows. This turned out to be Spider-Man. At this point Deathweb attacked them. Only two Avengers were told to remain behind and protect Galvan: Living Lightning and Spider-Woman.

Story 'Death Has Eight Legs'

  Avengers West Coast #85
Summary: Spider-Man appears, Death-Web, Manipulator
Arc: Part 2 of 'Deathweb' (1-2-3)
Editor: Nel Yomtov
Writer: Dann Thomas, Roy Thomas
Pencils: David Ross
Inker: Tim Dzon

The Avengers and Spider-Man fight back against Deathweb. This battle occupies almost 14 pages, but shouldn't have required that many. Three new villains against Spider-Man, U.S. Agent, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, and Wonder Man should be over with in five. Instead of play-by-play here's the high points:

  • The members of Deathweb are Arachne (the woman), Antro (the armored one that teleports), and Therak the six-armed spider creature.
  • Arachne takes down the Scarlet Witch first because of her hex power. She prevents her using her powers.
  • Wonder Man theorizes that Therak is ionic-powered like he is since his eyes are red. (Maybe he just needs to use Visine?)
  • Galvan refuses to show any weakness by leaving the convention center.
  • After the power is restored, Julia realizes that Rachel is missing and abandons her post to find her.
  • Spider-Woman discovers the battle with Deathweb while looking for Rachel.
  • When the tide turns in favor of the Avengers, Rachel appears. She is taken hostage, allowing Deathweb to escape.

After the Libertarians find them, Iron Man briefs them on the situation. He then orders Spider-Woman back to the compound. She refuses to do anything other than look for her daughter.

Mike Clemson, former superior to Spider-Woman (she quit last issue), member of the Conclave, and all-around shady character, meets with the Manipulator in an abandoned warehouse.

This proves to be a safehouse for the Conclave as it is filled with high-tech equipment. The members appear on their respective monitors and question the progress of his assignment. The Manipulator assures them that everything is going according to plan and that his methods are not up for debate.

Clemson tries to prove his worth to the Conclave and attacks The Manipulator for his disrespect. He quickly discovers that the Manipulator is an advanced hologram. The Conclave inform Clemson they knew this all along.

At this point Spider-Woman appears. She knew of the location because she met Clemson here last issue, but didn't come inside. She tells him that her daughter is missing. If he'll help find her, she'll agree to do whatever assignment he had planned for her. When he tells her "no", she threatens to go to Val Cooper. Clemson pulls a gun. Emerging from the shadows, Spider-Man disarms Clemson and explains that he hopped on top of Spider-Woman's car to help her find her daughter.

Just then, Antro, Therak, and the real Manipulator appear. The Manipulator shows Julia a live video feed of her daughter and Arachne. He informs her that he had intended to use Rachel to just control her but now there's a complication. If she wants her daughter to live, she'll have to kill Spider-Man.

General Comments

This issue is best summarized as an overblown fight sequence followed by an obvious consequence of bringing an eight-year old on an Avengers mission.

The worst aspect of this issue was the fight between Deathweb, Avengers, and Spider-Man. It went on much too long for some of these seasoned heroes. The dialog used alternated between somewhat useful exposition and half-wit banter.

Clemson is clearly portrayed as a lapdog desperate to please his masters in the Conclave hoping for a taste of whatever power they have. I'm not sure if he was always this bad or if this is a recent development. In either case he's a 1/2 dimensional character that makes Peter Gyrich seem like a Nobel Peace Prize nominee.

Overall Rating

2 webs. A mostly pointless battle between the Avengers and Deathweb capped off with a plot twist you could almost see coming. The interactions between the characters are good and the Manipulator comes across as a half-credible threat.

 Lookback: Filling Gaps
 Posted: 2008