Since assembling as a new team of West Coast Avengers, Kate Bishop and her superhero friends have endured a steady stream of challenges like giant monsters, supervillain cabals, and now a vampire cult abducting residents of Los Angeles. Writer Kelly Thompson and a rotating team of artists have crafted an exhilarating story that maintains a light-hearted point of view while constantly raising the stakes, which is why it’s a shame that West Coast Avengers is ending with April’s issue #10. Our Big Issues essay West Coast Avengers #8 earlier this month delved into the engaging character dynamics, fun tone, and vibrant artwork that have made this series such a delight, and the book has really hit its stride with the addition of artist Gang Hyuk Lim, who brings a manga energy to the page that energizes the narrative.
This exclusive preview of next week’s West Coast Avengers #9 begins with Quentin Quire cuddling up with Jeff the Baby Land Shark before jumping over to the rest of the team in the vampire cult’s clutches, highlighting just how well Lim’s art matches Thompson’s writing. After coloring himself in the last issue, Lim is joined by regular series colorist Tríona Farrell for this chapter, and she sticks very closely to his rendering style to make for a seamless visual transition. The scene of Noh-Varr and Johnny trapped in a hole is a great showcase of how well Lim composes action and uses layouts to create a sense of place, starting with three long, slanted panels that reinforce how deep the hole is and the challenge of climbing up. When Noh-Varr is shocked and sent flying back down, you get a real sense of that velocity and the force of him landing in Johnny’s arms. This book has had very slick visuals for the entire run, and Thompson has taken full advantage of her art team’s skills to put these characters in wildly entertaining situations.