Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Nothing worse than a chronic complainer with a legit grievance...except maybe two chronic complainers.

Although I try not to pick up books I already have (usually, just because I can't find them...) I know this issue was at my parents' house: from 1991, Avengers West Coast #69, "Grudge Match!" Written by Roy and Dann Thomas, pencils by Paul Ryan, inks by Danny Bulanadi.

Now, I did get some of the issues before and after this, and they're not super: rather bog-standard fare featuring Ultron teaming-up with another villain (which is weird, but we'll come back to that) and Dr. Demonicus and not-Godzilla. But I love this one, with the long-awaited match between Hawkeye and USAgent!

The heroes had been butting heads over top-dog status for the West Coast Avengers for quite some time, while Wasp and Dr. Pym had been forced into the mom-and-dad role for the team. But they were hoping to get out of that, in team elections. The east coast team already had theirs, and had settled on Cap, Thor, Sersi, Vision, Black Widow, She-Hulk, and Quasar. (It may a coloring error, but Quasar is colored as Nomad; which is sad since Paul Ryan was the original artist on Quasar's book! He had a costume change since, though.)

Hawkeye mockingly asks USAgent "How many votes you figure you'll get from a team you elbowed your way into, Agent?" The Agent had been a government appointee, and figured he couldn't be voted out. Unfortunately for him, the Avengers were now U.N. supported, so the government wasn't going to maintain a representative, and the Avengers would decide their own roster. The Agent throws a bit of a tantrum, but Wonder Man tells him he'll either make the team or not on his own merits.

By team bylaws--and they had a ton of them--everyone got five votes, with the top seven becoming regular team members, the next seven alternates or reserve members. After the count, Dr. Pym, Wasp, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Wonder Man, Tigra, and Hawkeye are members; with the (android) Human Torch, Quicksilver, Mockingbird, Machine Man, and USAgent as reserves. (I'm not positive Quicksilver was even looking to be on the team again: he had showed up a few issues back to help out when Wanda went bad...)

Pym and Wasp have an announcement, though: they were going to resign as active members, at least for now. They'd stay on until the team settled, then switch to alternate. Hawkeye delivers yet another burn on the Agent: "Now, if only Pietro, the Torch, Bobbi, and some robot up north all buy the farm, you might get to be a real Avenger yet!"

After the meeting, Hawkeye and USAgent make plans to settle their grudge after school--I mean, later. In other subplots, Mockingbird thanks Hawkeye for voting for her, and he didn't. Scarlet Witch doesn't think she and Wonder Man should date anymore, while Wasp and Dr. Pym deny being a couple themselves right now.

Hawkeye was wearing his "battle armor" at the time, which USAgent quite rightly gets a chuckle out of. But the Agent realizes he could really hurt Hawkeye: he could bench about ten tons, while Hawkeye's a normal man. Still, Hawkeye won't back down: his own past had been shady at first, but he didn't feel the Agent had made amends or even apologies for his, and that he wasn't worthy of following in Captain America's footsteps.

Hawkeye removes his helmet, sets aside his bow, and commences punching the Agent. Which probably hurts, but the Agent still holds back...accidentally knocking Hawkeye off a cliff. Hawkeye uses a grappling hook to save himself, but refuses to quit, even when he's beat down and the Agent is dragging him out of the ocean.

The Avengers arrive then, and are just as mad at Hawkeye for the fight; but even they feel the Agent hadn't earned his spot. USAgent huffs off, with Scarlet Witch wondering if he might not be going bad. I gotta say, Hawkeye did have it coming. But then again, he and the other Avengers have a point about the Agent being a tool, too. And they both seem a lot cooler with each other in later issues. I do think Hawkeye deserved 65, 70% of the asskicking he got, though.


SallyP said...

Well...USAgent IS a tool!

And Hawkeye is frequently an idiot,and yet...I love him still.

Dale Bagwell said...

Awww, this one. Used to have it when I was a kid. Not a bad issue overall, and while hawkeye was being his usual dickish self, Us agent really was a giant asshole regardless.
Not sure if they ever settled things between themselves though.