The Atlantic seaboard is the home stomping ground of the main branch of the Avengers
, while the Pacific features the West Coast division to protect a region more important now than ever before. Foregoing the occasional hero's "small-town" origins, the American Midwest
is ignored by the flashier, high-profile hero
es fighting heinous crimes in Cities That Never Sleep
. The thousands of miles of sleepy towns and quiet fields between coastal metropoli produced this
, their own group of champions and protectors, but much like the area's treatment in the film Fargo
, the earnestness of the folks in their pursuits can't help but ring a bit silly - as the putting on of airs and pretentions to urban sophistication (New York City needs superheroes; Washington, D.C. could find a good use for them - but Iowa?)
unwarranted by the supposedly "super" nature of their powers.
Debuting in West Coast Avengers issue #46 (foiling a robbery at the Milwaukee Farmers and Merchants Trust building), this is the Marvel Universe's superhero ensemble that takes itself... a bit less seriously - not so much in the ragtag, "we may as well form a group" manner of the Defenders, but moreso in their own realization that they are sum and in toto nothing more than a distraction to enemies and a spot of levity for the readers until the Big Guns have time to fly in from the coasts.
The so-called "amateur" superheroes of this team and their dubious powers are as follows:
Big Bertha: Massive and nigh-indestructible alter-ego of supermodel Ashley Crawford;
Dinah Soar: Winged woman possessing of some minor sonic powers;
Doorman: A human whose body can act as a passage between sides of a solid object;
Flatman: What can I say? He's not 2-dimensional, but the man is really, really flat - handy for shuffling through cracks, but he tends to get picked up and carried away by the breeze;
Mister Immortal, the ostensible leader: Comes back to life after about ten minutes of very temporary death. That's it. Can't fly, can't shoot lasers out his nose, can't turn into an elephant - just can't be kept down.
WCA members Hawkeye
saw potential in the group early on (in 'spirit' rather than aptitude) and for a time took on the task of training them, permitting them limited access to benefits of being an official part of the Avengers franchise. Later renamed themselves the Lightning Rods
in emulation of then-top-dogs the Thunderbolts
- and back again after the 'Bolts' heinous secret was aired. Last seen working with S.H.I.E.L.D.
to take down the Thunderbolts. Wish them luck - they'll need it in spades.
Documented appearances after their first include:
November 1989, Avengers #309
September 1989, Avengers West Coast #48
October 1989, Avengers West Coast #49
January 1990, Avengers #313
February 1990, Avengers West Coast #55
July 1990, Avengers West Coast #60
Avengers Annual #19 (1990)
Novemer 1990, Avengers West Coast #64
January 1991, Quasar #18
April 1991, Avengers West Coast #69
Avengers West Coast Annual #6 (1991)
November 1997, Deadpool vol. II #10
December 1997, Deadpool vol. II #11
June 1998, Thunderbolts #15
July 1998, Thunderbolts #16
August 1998, Thunderbolts #17
April 1999, Thunderbolts #25
March 2001, Deadpool vol. II #50