When we last saw the West Coast Avengers, they found themselves in a world of trouble. Turns out the team doesn’t have a Skrull problem on their hands. No, it’s something worse: vampires. WEST COAST AVENGERS #9 features vampires, everybody. Which, like I mentioned last time, seems funny, considering the regular Avengers have recently been dealing with a similar problem…

Anyway, writer Kelly Thompson continues the adventures of the West Coast team in style. WEST COAST AVENGERS #9 juggles multiple groups doing multiple things, with a few added surprises for good measure. Those surprises save WEST COAST AVENGERS #9 from playing out like a typical filler issue.

Artist Gang Hyuk Lim’s fantastic artwork acts as another saving grace for this issue. His style fits the West Coast team’s antics to a tee. It’s an appropriately energetic and bright style, accented wonderfully by Tríona Farrell’s colors.

Vampires, Hawkeyes, and Wakandans

In case you missed WEST COAST AVENGERS #8, the team is deep in some shit involving a vampire cult called the Temple of the Shifting Sun. They effectively took down and captured both Hawkeyes, Fuse, and Noh-Varr, and are seemingly very eager to dig their fangs into America.

Meanwhile, Gwenpool and Kid Omega have a lead to save the team, but it comes in the form of Kate Bishop’s mother. She’s been obnoxiously sketchy since she showed up, so she’s got the team on edge. But before the three of them can head out, Ramone (America’s girlfriend, and Fuse’s big sister), looks ready to join the team on their mission.

WEST COAST AVENGERS #9
WEST COAST AVENGERS #9 page 5. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Ramone explains that her mother was actually Wakandan, a Dora Milaje, in fact. For whatever reason, Ramone’s mother left Wakanda and fell in love with a man from the water (or something like that (my money’s on an Atlantean)). Johnny and Ramone both eventually learned of their powers, but Ramone had a very different gift than her brother. By fusing with a ring left behind by her mother, Ramone dons a badass suit of armor, looking like a gilded Dora Milaje warrior.

Kate’s mother leads Gwen, Quentin, and Ramone to the Temple, where they rescue the rest of the team. But that’s not before Kate’s mother reveals yet another dirty secret of hers. I’ll leave that bit out for you guys to discover.

WEST COAST AVENGERS #9 Juggles Quite a Bit

WEST COAST AVENGERS #9 jumps between several plot points, and it’s easy to see which is the most important. The revelation that Ramone is actually super-powered comes as a bit of a shock. In part, it feels a little cheap; it feels like a surprise for the sake of having a surprise. But at the same time, it’s also appropriate. Her brother has powers, so why wouldn’t she?

This twist plays out smoothly, regardless of how you feel about it. It reads as a very genuine moment for Ramone. Not to mention she looks completely badass in her armor, which is apparently now a permanent part of her. It’s also nice to see Thompson developing a character who seemingly could have easily been passed off on the wayside.

WEST COAST AVENGERS #9
WEST COAST AVENGERS #9 page 18. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

The rest of WEST COAST AVENGERS #9 is fairly enjoyable. There’s some great banter between the other characters. Jeff the land shark gets some time to shine, too (he actually joins in the fight towards the end of the issue). There were hints at a chat between Fuse and Noh-Varr about their relationships with Kate, which I would have loved to read out, but I guess that didn’t make the final cut.

If there’s any surprise that definitely could have been left out, it’s the ending. This completely feels like a lousy twist that would have been better off being left out. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, as it stands. When you read the issue, you’ll know what I mean. Otherwise, WEST COAST AVENGERS #9 has enough fun for everyone to keep you from getting bored.

WEST COAST AVENGERS #9 Has Some Fun Artwork

Other than the twist involving Ramone, the other big redeeming factor for WEST COAST AVENGERS #9 is the art. Gang Hyuk Lim’s pages continue to impress me. These are the kind of pages this series deserves on a very regular basis.

Lim’s pages are cartoony and flashy, with characters who constantly express themselves and shine on every single page. His action sequences are brief, but that falls in line with the pacing of the plot. There’s not much action in WEST COAST AVENGERS #9, but what’s there looks fantastic! When the team all comes together on the final pages, they put on an impressive display.

WEST COAST AVENGERS #9
WEST COAST AVENGERS #9 page 23. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Tríona Farrell’s colors work to accentuate Lim’s pages. If Lim’s pages were black and white, you’d easily be able to tell what colors should go where and how bright they should all be. Farrell gets that. Her shading work is pitch-perfect. Characters and scenery pop off the page, and that’s thanks mostly in part to Farrell. WEST COAST AVENGERS #9 is easily another artistic slam dunk.

Goddamn Vampires!

Seriously, what’s with all the vampires lately in the Marvel Universe? Something fishy’s going on, and I don’t like it! Well, I do like it (Marvel vampires are fairly underutilized). I’m not a fan of not knowing what the hell’s going on!

Luckily, Kelly Thompson knows better than to leave us hanging for too long. WEST COAST AVENGERS #9 pushes the story closer to some concrete answers, but keeps us waiting just a bit longer. Instead, we delve deeper into the backstory of Ramone, which feels well-deserved for her character. Plus, we get some more humorous interactions from the rest of the characters, so overall, this is a fun read, even if it does feel sort of like filler.

Gang Hyuk Lim and Tríona Farrell’s pages help keep WEST COAST AVENGERS #9 a few steps above the weaker issues of the series. These pages instantly draw your attention the moment you open the book, even when the art is at its simplest. If for no other reason, you should at least check WEST COAST AVENGERS #9 out for its artwork. It’s well worth it.

Whatever comes next for the team, they’d better save America before the Temple turns her. For some reason, these vamps really want her. Why? Let’s hope we get those answers in the next issue!

WEST COAST AVENGERS #9 by Kelly Thompson, Gang Hyuk Lim, and Triona Farrell
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
WEST COAST AVENGERS #9 is kept afloat thanks to its impactful development of Ramone and its outstanding pages. Thompson keeps the story flowing in an energetic manner, and Lim's pages match that tone through and through.
88 %
Surprisingly Enjoyable

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