West Coast Avengers: Best Coast – Kelly Thompson, Stefano Caselli & Triona Farrell (Marvel)

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With a new leader and a (mostly) new line-up, the West Coast Avengers are back in business again. Although, that makes it sounds like their reforming was the result of a prudent, long term study that postulated the theory, and also supported the idea, that the relatively superhero free West Coast could use its team of Avengers to defend it against all manner of threats, foreign, domestic,  super-powered and extra-terrestrial, which unfortunately isn’t the case. The West Coast Avengers are only back together thanks to “fortuitous” circumstance and a “happy” accident involving giant land sharks and a beleaguered Hawkeye, the new one, reaching out to the other Hawkeye, the old one, when she’d exhausted just about every other possibility and had run out of numbers to call and favours to ask.  A call which prompts the question ‘What do we next time?’ and leads to Hawkeye and Hawkeye, honestly it’s not as confusing as it sounds, assembling their own rag-tag bunch of LA based Avengers. And Best Coast is the tale of how this motley bunch came together and saved their city from the attentions of a former criminal mastermind wearing a new face in order to fit with all, and become one, of the beautiful people and his army of B-movie, fifty foot monsters that includes a founding member of the original West Coast Avengers.

Told in a series of flashbacks as the new teams members talk about their initial exploits with the crew of the reality television programme that they’re the focus of – it’s a Quentin Quire thing, Best Coast is one of the most immediate, personal and character driven Avengers stories to have emerged from the House of M in I don’t know how long. Focusing on a smaller team and their day to day lives, relationships and interactions with each other allows Kelly Thompson to do what she does best; tell a rip roaring yarn packed full of snappy, instant dialogue that combines action, characterisation and the kind of plot that fills every atom of your being with pleasure in equal measure. And if Thompson’s narrative isn’t enough to make you rush to your comic store and start throwing money at the shop assistant while yelling “Gimme, gimme, gimme”, then Caselli and Farrell’s gorgeously detailed, exquisite art that fills each and every panel and page should provide all of the extra impetus you need to start heading to the store right away. Seriously folks, Best Coast is one of the good ones. You don’t want this book, you need it…  Tim Cundle

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