BY MATT TUCK
IG @ matt.tuck.writer
Hawkeye is alluding to a new team joining the MCU ranks, and it’s not the one you might think.
After watching the first two episodes of Hawkeye, Hailee Steinfeld’s reluctance to answer the Young Avengers question makes a little more sense.
A couple weeks ago, the Kate Bishop actress was asked about the potential of a Young Avengers team up. Steinfeld awkwardly turned to Marvel chief Kevin Feige before avoiding the issue as much as possible.
It seemed odd at the time because it’s not as if any of us are unaware that Marvel Studios is planning for the Young Avengers. Not only has Fiege mentioned them, but several members of the original team are already in place, including Patriot, Wiccan, Speed, Cassie Lang, and now Kate Bishop.
So why all the secrecy? At this point, wouldn’t it be a foregone conclusion that Kate will be part of the Young Avengers’ core lineup? Not so fast.
In the second episode of Hawkeye, the Tracksuit Mafia torched Kate’s apartment. With that makeshift headquarters in flames, she set up camp in her dear Aunt Moira’s apartment who is supposedly wintering in Florida. What’s been making the rounds on the internet is Moira Brandon’s ties to Clint Barton. In the comics, she gave her estate to Clint’s second team, the West Coast Avengers, and her gift became the WCA headquarters.
Could it be that instead of the Young Avengers, per se, Marvel is building toward a fresh take on the West Coast Avengers? That could be the case, but there are other teams that Clint and Kate could be leading into the MCU as well.
On that note, let’s look at the top contenders and those all-important key issues.
No matter what incarnation the West Coast Avengers takes, collectors are going to want the first appearances.
When it comes to teams, finding those keys can be a bit more complicated. In this case, the WCA was first mentioned in Avengers #243, but they were not assembled as a team here. That means this issue does not count as a true first appearance, but WCA collectors will want it in their collections all the same. The good part is that you can have it for a cheap price. There haven’t been any graded copies sold since a 9.8 brought $79 in August, and the last raw copy to sell online went for less than $2 on November 21.
WEST COAST AVENGERS #1 (1984)
Following the idea being planted in Avengers #243, the West Coast Avengers made their Marvel Comics’ entrance in the first issue of their limited series in 1984. Led by Vision and the original Hawkeye, the team was created out of necessity. During Secret Wars, a number of B-list superheroes stepped in to fill the void left by the first-string Avengers when the Beyonder abducted them for Battleworld. When Secret Wars ended, there were too many Avengers and not enough roster spots. The solution? Vision created an entirely new team that operated out of California.
Again, this is a cheap buy at the moment. Raw copies tend to range anywhere from $6 to $20 depending on the quality. Graded copies are on the way up, particularly for the 9.8s, two of which sold for $250 each only a week ago.
WEST COAST AVENGERS #1 (2018)
The way Hawkeye is shaping up, this is the most likely version of the team that will be in the MCU. After Marvel rebranded the team as a comedy act, the initial lineup featured Barton, Bishop, America Chavez, Kid Omega, Gwenpool, and Fuse. It is confirmed that America Chavez is on her way to the MCU, and adding Kid Omega and Fuse to the mix wouldn’t be a massive undertaking. The only one I doubt we’ll see is Gwenpool, but there’s nothing that says she can’t be part of the team.
After the Moira Brandon Easter egg and having her named as Kate’s aunt, it would seem this is the direction things are headed. Clint will likely fill the same role as he did with the original team, serving as the field leader, though I imagine he will eventually hand the reins to Kate, who led a version of the West Coast Avengers at one point.
While we may see an amalgamation of the classic and modern West Coast Avengers, there is little doubt that Marvel will lean heavily on Kelly Thompson’s WCA run. Everything about the title was geared toward a younger, more mainstream audience down to the title having a street art flare in its design.
The Moira Easter egg has made this a suddenly hot issue. The standard cover is the bigger seller at the moment, and you can find raw copies for less than $10. The better investments are the variants. One of the more popular sellers is the 1:25 Paul Renaud ratio variant, which is inching closer to the $50 mark for raw copies. Meanwhile, the Terry Dodson cover art has fetched as much as $200 this month for a graded 9.8.
YOUNG AVENGERS #1 (2013)
There is another option for Marvel’s budding Teen Titans, but it’s not the Young Avengers you think. This is the second incarnation of the team consisting of Kate Bishop, Miss America/America Chavez, Kid Loki, Hulkling, Noh-Varr, and Wiccan. It also could be a combination of this team with the West Coast Avengers with Clint Barton serving as the commander and mentor. What makes this even more likely is that America Chavez is confirmed for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Kid Loki was introduced this summer in Loki.
In either case, this issue is worth your time and investment dollars to add to your collections. It is especially tempting considering the high prices for the first Young Avengers #1. Since last month, the graded 9.8 for the 2013 edition of Young Avengers #1 has been earning no more than $250. That may not be a discount item, but it is a fraction of the cost of 2005’s YA #1.
WEST COAST AVENGERS #46
Here is a quirky team that has Marvel Studios written all over it.
In 1989’s West Coast Avengers #46, comic legend John Byrne created what would be one of Marvel’s ongoing jokes for years: the Great Lakes Avengers. The team was a mashup of D-list superheroes, Big Bertha, Mr. Immortal, Flatman, Doorman, and Dinah Soar. Marvel Studios loves its obscure comedy troupes, and the GLA checks off all the right boxes.
The joke is that no one likes the GLA, and they are constantly sued to stop using more famous team names. They start their careers as the Great Lakes Avengers, but the Maria Stark Foundation sends them a cease-and-desist order after Clint Barton protests their Avengers name. Following in the Thunderbolts’ footsteps, they became the Lightning Rods. Later, the group discovered they were mutants, and they rebranded themselves the Great Lakes X-Men, much to the actual X-Men’s ire. Afterwards, the GLA became the Great Lakes Champions before switching to the Great Lakes Initiative. Finally, the GLA threw its hands up and went back to calling themselves the Great Lakes Avengers.
If that doesn’t sound like a string of MCU jokes ripe for Disney+, I don’t know what does. One way or another, I see the GLA being incorporated into the MCU, whether as a running gag or possibly getting their own show. In the current Marvel Studios climate, it could work.
In August, a graded 9.8 WCA #46 sold for a record $365. The next sale wasn’t until November 1 when another copy brought $309.
THE NEW TEAMS
There’s no question that Marvel is on the cusp of a full youth movement, and Hawkeye appears to be laying the groundwork for the new characters and teams. One way or another, Clint and Kate will lead the next generation of Avengers into the MCU, be it the Young or West Coast varieties. For that matter, there’s nothing saying Marvel Studios won’t combine the two. At any rate, it will be interesting to see what direction they take.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog, or on Instagram at matt.tuck.writer.