WEST COAST AVENGERS #2
Written by Kelly Thompson
Art by Stefano Caselli, Triona Farrell, Joe Caramagna
Edited by Alanna Smith, Tom Brevoort
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: September 19, 2018
Giant Tigra! B.R.O.D.O.K.! Fights over movies! It’s just another day in the lives of the world’s most dysfunctional Avengers team.
I’m not sure there’s a funnier comic in stores right now. West Coast Avengers #2 had me in stitches from start to finish, with Thompson absolutely NAILING the voices of this unique band of characters and Stefano Caselli capturing the absurdity of what is occurring with facial expressions that are absolutely on point. The mix of characters that the team has brought together here are wildly entertaining and hey, they may even save a few people along the way.
It will surprise exactly zero people who read Hawkeye that Kelly Thompson has a fantastic voice for Kate, who anchors this team wonderfully. Her inexperience and general Hawkeye-ness are awesome and really are the launching point of how unique this Avengers team is. Clint brings an aspect of stability, while also being the adult in the room who is still a fuckup himself, so he can’t really “bring the youngins in line”, for lack of a better term. There’s something quintessentially “Avengers” about seeing Clint Barton slinging arrows in an action sequence, though, and Thompson uses him well. His banter with Kate is excellent and these two characters continue to be lightning on the page when they are together. The bond between America and Kate transcends the page, rooted in their Young Avenger days but not leaning solely on it. America is fiery and a powerhouse both physically and in her very presence on the team, and Thompson uses her well to balance the wildcards that are Gwenpool, Quire and B.R.O.D.O.K.
Gwenpool…Gwenpool is a character I should hate with every fiber of my being (I’m so sick of Deadpool I could scream) but the way Thompson is writing her in WCA…she’s just pure fun, without being horribly annoying and over the top. Her tension with Quire is fantastic and perfect for a comic like this, and her naive lunacy (not to mention trigger happy firepower) brings an element of unpredictability to this team, especially when there’s a giant Avenger to brawl with. She’s a wildcard that Thompson uses right, rather than as a gimmick or slapstick punchline. There’s a character here and Thompson is showing that nicely.
This story moves along at a brisk pace, with action blended nicely with the inter-team dynamics. B.R.O.D.O.K. as a thread is just fabulous. Stefano Caselli does a wonderful job of giving these unique, dynamic characters life. Their personalites leap from the page, with America always a powerhouse, Gwen’s carefree nature in every line and Quire’s disdain for…everything always on display. This team is visually quite dynamic and Caselli uses that to his advantage, filling panels with team members and mayhem when they are battling the giant Tigra. His design for B.R.O.D.O.K. is brilliant, the very image of this guy screaming “surfer douche” and so obviously evil. His panel structure handles the interactive conversations of this group very well, so that we don’t run into a “talking heads” situation, but still have the glorious banter. Stefano Caselli is one of the best artists in the comics business and comics like West Coast Avengers showcase that talent.
Triona Farrell’s colours bring a huge amount of fun to this comic. I’ve used the word “dynamic” a lot, and she captures the energy of these characters with her palette. This is a young team fighting in pure sunshine and Farrell embraces that, making it obvious through colour choice alone that we are not in New York. A great amount of the visual personality of these characters comes from the colour work, with the purples of Kate, America’s red, white and blues and Quire’s mohawk always drawing my attention throughout the issue. This comic is a visual feast and Triona Farrell’s work is straight up awesome.
Humour, especially when a narrator is involved, does not fly if you can’t tell who is saying what. Joe Caramagna makes a script that has a lot going on sing and his work with the narration during the B.R.O.D.O.K. back story made that section work. The West Coast Avengers are a chatty group and there is a lot of dialogue going down in this comic, but at no point does it look like a hot mess. That’s what an experienced letterer brings to the table and Joe Caramagna is an integral piece of a comic like this not only working, but going that extra mile into being a fantastic read.
So, I sort of liked West Coast Avengers #2. I’m mildly intrigued to read further…scratch all that, I’m full of shit. I’m in love with this comic, it delighted me to no end. Thompson writes with a razor sharp wit and Caselli, Farrell and Caramagna deliver visuals that are straight up awesome. If you didn’t grab issue #1, do yourself a favour and rectify that. Grab #2 while you’re at it, you’ll be happy you did.
The Verdict: 10/10