Back on Free Comic Book Day I picked up quite a few cheap books, and I’ve slowly been going through them hoping for something to write about. Well brother, I’ve found just such a book in The West Coast Avengers #33. The front cover features Wonder Man beating up a bunch of communist apes (The Beasts of Berlin). With the promise of an “Ape Attack!” on the front cover, this book was a no-brainer for me. Hold on Hondo, this isn’t your typical boy-meets-ape-centric-comic-book story.
No dear friends, what promises to be an enjoyable romp through the world of fisticuffs and anthropomorphic primates is actually an exploration of why Hank Pym is an unforgivable ass. I’m reticent to give the story away although it illustrates at multiple points why my hatred of Hank Pym as a character is not unreasoning. The following points should be sufficient:
1. Hank Pym hijacks the initiation of new member Moon Knight with an announcement that really should have been prefaced with the Farnsworthian “Good news everyone!”
2. The phrases “eastern bloc security network”, “why now?”, and “out of the blue” should combine in even the most rank amature’s mind as t-r-a-p. Not so for our intrepid experienced adventurer (in fairness, none of the WCA seem to pick up on this).
3. Hank Pym is the embodiment of the girlfriend-in-fridge trope.
4. “I have to power to grow anything I touch.” ’nuff said.
5. Abandoning you team mates mid-apefight is not the way a hero acts.
Hank Pym aside, there is one redeeming aspect to this issue. Al Milgrom and Mike Machlan do an amazing job of aping the Marvel House Style of the early silver age. Granted these are flashbacks centered on Pym, but they look great.
At the end of the day, the lesson is don’t judge a bargain book by it’s cover… especially if that book probably features Hank Pym.