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Starting Line-Up

A change in the Avengers charter sees both team line-ups restructured… is U.S.Agent going to survive these shake-ups? Plus the Agent and Hawkeye’s rivalry comes to a head. Written by Roy and Dann Thomas, with Larry Hamas, and art by Paul Ryan. 

Avengers #329 and Avengers West Coast #69

Avengers West Coast #69

Our story begins in the pages of Avengers where the entire roster of Avengers are gathered at the news that the Avengers charter has been changed. The East Coast Teams line-up changes. Most notably, this is the era where Sandman, Rage and Spider-Man are Avengers.

Afterwards, the West Coast team restructure their team through a voting process. Before voting, U.S.Agent is pretty confident he will remain a member of the team, since the Government want him there, but conveniently enough after that statement is contacted by General Hayworth who tells him the Government no longer have use for an operative inside the Avengers.

U.S.Agent is predictably quite furious about how the Government have tossed him aside and constant mocking from Hawkeye doesn’t help, despite Wonder Man and Iron Man trying to get the Archer to lay off U.S.Agent.

After voting, the new line-up is decided to be Hank Pym, The Wasp, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Wonder Man, Tigra and the Scarlet Witch who all had the most votes. Not so lucky were Mockingbird (1 vote), Human Torch (3 votes), Quicksilver (2 votes), Machine Man (1 vote) and the U.S.Agent who likewise only got 1 vote. Hawkeye again mocks U.S.Agent suggesting the 1 vote is from himself (although, Mockingbird notes earlier on that she couldn’t vote for herself, so it’s not entirely clear). U.S.Agent storms out of the Compound wanting nothing more to do with the team.

Walker quits the team.

Outside, U.S.Agent offers Hawkeye to meet him in 30 minutes outside the Compound to settle things. What follows is a ridiculously intense one-sided fight where U.S.Agent fucking absolutely demolishes Hawkeye in every way possible. Hawkeye, despite being completely out-matched, refuses to give up. When Hawkeye nearly dies by falling off a cliff, U.S.Agent is worried for Hawkeye’s safety but the latter is a dick and insists U.S.Agent continues to pummel him.

Proof Hawkeye is the dick here.

Eventually, the rest of the team show up and break up the fight. Iron Man address U.S.Agent pointing out that the team have given him every chance to prove himself as a member and he continued to be a loose cannon. Iron Man offers him an ultimatum that if he can assure the team that he has what it takes to be an Avenger, despite having bought his powers and being forced on them, then he can maybe one day be a member of the team. U.S.Agent responds by storming off and as much as telling the Avengers to go fuck themselves.

The issue ends with the Scarlet Witch worried that if the experience may make the U.S.Agent turn against the Avengers and if so then he could be a real threat.

Fin.

This issue… is fantastic. I’ve spent a lot of time slating Roy and Dann Thomas for their interpretation of the character, but this issue alone makes up for any missteps I feel they’ve made previously. I have been incredibly condensed in my recap for 3 reasons: 1) I’m busy, 2) I already wrote out a recap that WordPress didn’t save and 3) you NEED to read this issue to fully appreciate it. This is without a doubt probably the best U.S.Agent character piece outside of Gruenwald.

I do have some things I want to bring up. I find the U.S.Agent receiving 1 vote to be… a bit troublesome. I understand it was essential to the plot that the character receive as few votes as possible and was meant to be something of a joke about the character being a jerk, but the other team members do not resent the Agent as much as Hawkeye does. Now as we saw a few issues ago, the U.S.Agent had tried to make friends with the Avengers on occasion but was given the cold shoulder, but even still, I feel from what I’ve taken from the pages U.S.Agent and Wonder Man at the very least had a mutual respect close to friendship.

It’s not really suggested how the voting system works on page, but with Mockingbird’s statement hat she cannot vote for herself it could be inferred people cannot vote for themselves or the reserve members cannot vote. I’ll assume the latter so therefore U.S.Agent voted for himself.

But the nature of the voting is a mockery. Human Torch for example is not present. Likewise immediately after receiving the most votes, Hank Pym and The Wasp reveal their intention to resign from the Avengers. Machine Man receives 1 vote (from presumably Iron Man) despite not having a particular tie to the team (they fought together against Terminus). If Machine Man is in the running then what’s to stop someone like Hawkeye from being a dick (we know he is) and voting for Captain America?

Anyway, enough about the voting, there’s an interesting art issue on one page where we see the current line-up for the Avengers East Coast team… where for some reason… Quasar is dressed as Nomad!

Nomad's short stint as an Avenger.

Sorry if this recap is a tad underwhelming, I suggest you go buy the issue instead… it’s great.

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