With all the antics at the horror carnival behind them, it’s time for the West Coast Avengers to relax for a bit. Right? Wrong. WEST COAST AVENGERS #8 keeps things rolling from one objective to the next. With Marvel Boy’s return comes a new, secret, world-threatening plot — which, of course, means more work for the team. Go figure.

Writer Kelly Thompson seems eager to just keep giving the team work, which is fine by me, because this seems like fun work. Well, it’s fun to read about, at least. Thompson injects WEST COAST AVENGERS #8 with so much energy you can’t help but be entertained front to back.

And speaking of energy, I’m absolutely in love with Gang Hyuk Lim’s art in this issue! It feels like I’m looking at an episode of one anime or another. It’s such a vivid, bright style, and it completely fits the atmosphere of WEST COAST AVENGERS!

It’s the Skrulls (According to Noh-Varr)

Back in WEST COAST AVENGERS #7, Noh-Varr, aka Marvel Boy, made a surprise return. We found him working undercover in Madame Masque’s little posse, since he believed they were working with a cult known as the Temple of the Shifting Sun. Noh-Varr is almost positive they’re really a Skrull group. Unsurprisingly, most of the West Coast Avengers don’t really believe him. But, nevertheless, when they hear that people are going missing, they have no choice but to spring into action.

Using some fancy tech provided by Noh-Varr, Clint infiltrates the Temple as Wonder Man (he’s posing as a celebrity, because they have a thing for celebrities). While Clint’s doing that, Kate, Johnny, America, and Noh-Varr pose as new initiates to the Temple. Meanwhile, Quentin and Gwen infiltrate Madame Masque’s base, trying to find evidence of any connections between her and the Temple.

WEST COAST AVENGERS #8 page 2. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

As you might expect, everything goes awry. Kate and her team are discovered by the cultists, and Quentin and Gwen do a horrible job at blending in with the rest of Masque’s goons. With that, appropriate violence ensues.

WEST COAST AVENGERS #8 concludes with two surprising notes. First, Kate’s mother reappears at Masque’s place. She hopes to find and help her daughter. Second, it turns out it’s not Skrulls. It’s vampires. Which could potentially be worse.

WEST COAST AVENGERS #8 is Just Plain Fun

I’ve mentioned before that WEST COAST AVENGERS is one of the best books Marvel is putting out right now. That’s mostly because it’s an undeniably fun book. WEST COAST AVENGERS #8 is a prime example of why this series is so good.

Thompson displays a clever balance between solid plot progression and quirky character moments. The team’s interactions with Noh-Varr are probably the best part of this issue. No one really knows what to make of him just yet, especially Kate and Johnny. And everyone’s pretty much on his case because he’s either completely crazy or just being an ass. Either way, Noh-Varr’s introduction to this series was a great choice.

What’s equally fun is the continued interactions between Gwen and Quentin. I can’t get enough of these two together. They have the oddest chemistry. Their relationship is ever-evolving, and you can never quite track how it’s going to change from issue to issue. Gwen really shines in this issue, having a cute interaction with Jeff the baby land shark and completely decimating Madame Masque’s goons. I seriously can’t believe I’m enjoying this character as much as I am.

WEST COAST AVENGERS #8 page 14. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

The standout moment is probably Quentin and Gwen’s infiltration attempt. You get the sense it’ll go wrong the second you see them dressing up in the bad guy outfits, yet keeping their colorful hair. Like, hello. Their ruse was doomed from the start.

WEST COAST AVENGERS #8 might be the most fun I’ve had with the series thus far. Let’s just see if Thompson can keep that energy flowing moving forward.

WEST COAST AVENGERS #8 Has Perfect Pages

WEST COAST AVENGERS hasn’t held a singular artist for too long. We initially had Stefano Caselli, followed shortly after by Daniele Di Nicuolo. Now, we’ve been treated to the artistic talent of Gang Hyuk Lim, and I think I’ve just found my new favorite artist for this series.

It’s no joke to say I thought I was looking at the pages from a manga or watching an anime while reading WEST COAST AVENGERS #8. Lim’s style is so reminiscent of those styles, yet remains unique and singular. Without a doubt, this is exactly the artistic style this series needs to be told in. Lim fuels his beautiful drawings with vibrant colors; you can’t help but stop on certain pages for a bit to just admire the artwork.

The characters look flavorful and cartoony, and that’s not a problem at all. They make goofy expressions and move with attitude. Kate and her team all humorously have to wear the same school uniform. I wonder where Lim got that idea from… The scene where Gwenpool cuts down all of Masque’s goons takes the cake, though! It’s swift and comically bloody. That’s certainly not meant to discount the fight between Kate’s team and the cultists, though. Seeing her get back her high-powered bow from Marvel Boy was pretty damn cool.

WEST COAST AVENGERS #8 page 18. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

If there’s any artist who deserves to stay on WEST COAST AVENGERS long-term, it’s Lim.

More Vampires?

The revelation that the threat at hand is actually vampires is curious, given what’s going on in AVENGERS right now. I’m curious to see if there’s some crossover there, though I doubt there will be. Regardless, now that the threat has been illuminated, it’s become much more threatening, which makes things way more intense.

WEST COAST AVENGERS #8 feels like the nitro boost to an already speeding car. Kelly Thompson had no trouble keeping this series moving fast, but now, it seems that we’re moving with even more haste than before. So long as she keeps balancing the action and the drama the way she has, I have no problem with this series moving fast.

I also have no problem with Gang Hyuk Lim staying onboard to cover the artistic duties of the series. In fact, I hope he does stay on. His art perfectly matches the tone Thompson has injected into the series. Lim seems to fully understand how this story should be told visually. We need more pages from him, pronto!

How will the team deal with this vampire threat? I have no idea. Should be interesting, though, to see what they do compared to the regular Avengers.

WEST COAST AVENGERS #8 by Kelly Thompson and Gang Hyuk Lim
Kelly Thompson has outdone herself with WEST COAST AVENGERS #8. It's the most fun I've had with this series thus far. And Gang Hyuk Lim pretty much just took the title of best artist on this series.
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